Many states provide training for their fish and game wardens in the form of an academy, and each state has slightly different requirements for admission. Some states, like Montana, require a bachelor's degree in a closely related field in order to be accepted into the academy, such as fish and wildlife, criminal justice or park management; other states require just two years of college education, and some don't specify a field.
Schools With Fish and Game Warden Programs
These institutions offer fish and game warden programs, such as fisheries or wildlife management, or related degrees.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Oregon State University||Bend, OR||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate||In-state $10,107; Out-of-state $28,767|
|SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology||Cobleskill, NY||4-year, Public||Associate's, Bachelor's||In-state $7,719; Out-of-state $17,569|
|Montana State University||Bozeman, MT||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $6,849; Out-of-state $22,081|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $13,560; Out-of-state $36,360|
|Texas A&M University||College Station, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $10,176; Out-of-state $28,768|
|Humboldt State University||Arcata, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||In-state $7,195; Out-of-state $13,364|
|South Dakota State University||Brookings, SD||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $8,172; Out-of-state $11,053|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $6,381; Out-of-state $28,659|
|University of Georgia||Athens, GA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $11,622; Out-of-state $29,832|
|University of Idaho||Moscow, ID||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||In-state $7,020; Out-of-state $21,024|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Fisheries Sciences and Management
- Forest Resources Management
- Forest Sciences
- Forest Technologies
- Urban Forestry
- Wildlands Science and Management General
- Wood Science and Paper Technologies
College Selection Criteria
There are several factors for aspiring fish and game wardens to consider when choosing an undergraduate program.
- Students should find out the requirements of their state and find programs that offer education in the appropriate area; some states do prefer applicants with some college education in conservation biology, police science, ecology or a related field.
- Since most training programs admit students from various educational backgrounds, students can choose, to some extent, which area they'd like to study in their undergraduate program.
- Since degree programs can be found in onsite, online, or hybrid formats, aspiring fish and game wardens can select the type of program that best suits their life.
- Fish and game wardens can study topics as diverse as environmental science, criminal, justice, agriculture and forestry; however, the most accessible and relevant programs often focus on biology or conservation law enforcement.
Associate's Degree in Biology
Although an associate's degree program in biology won't offer courses in law enforcement, it will provide graduates with fieldwork and a strong foundation in the sciences. Most programs are transferable to a 4-year college or university.
Associate's Degree in Conservation Law
Many 2-year programs focus on both natural resource conservation and criminal justice. Students generally take courses the first year, with fieldwork and internships completed during the second year.
Bachelor's Degree in Biology, Ecology or Natural Resource Conservation
A bachelor's program in a biological science often has courses or concentrations in fisheries and wildlife, conservation ecology or natural resource policies. Students investigate multiple areas of animal and plant biology, including mammalogy, invertebrate biology, aquatic life and forest ecology.
Bachelor's Degree in Conservation Law Enforcement
This degree program is specifically designed for those who want to become natural resource conservation officials. Courses often combine natural science and law enforcement topics. Students investigate environmental communication and conflict management or federal and state environmental policy. Classes in criminological theory, courtroom procedures and philosophy of law are usually required or offered as electives.
There are many program options for those interested in pursuing a career as a fish and game warden, including wildlife and fish management, environmental science, conservation and biology. It's possible to pursue studies towards an undergraduate degree, or complete a master's or doctoral degree in relevant fields to prepare to pursue a career as a fish and game warden.