How to Become a Fish and Game Warden in 5 Steps
As a fish and game warden, you'll be responsible for upholding both state and federal laws that protect wildlife. Continue reading to discover the things you must do to become a fish and game warden. Find out the typical salary for this career. Schools offering Wildlife & Forestry Conservation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a Fish and Game Warden?
As a fish and game warden, you'll act as a police officer who makes sure that state and federal regulations are enacted to protect fish, wildlife and their environment. This may involve patrolling wildlife areas to make certain that nobody is breaking the law, issuing citations and making arrests. You'll also issue hunting and fishing licenses and help landowners enact preventative measures.
You may study the health and migration of wildlife and report any changes or issues to the government. Essentially, your job duties involve any tasks, which help to protect wildlife and ensure the humane trapping and hunting of animals and fish.
Step 1: Research the Career Outlook
If you want to become a fish and game warden, you'll want to understand the job prospects for this career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fish and game warden employment opportunities were expected to increase by eight percent between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). You're looking at an additional 700 positions added to the national employment of fish and game wardens. Also, the BLS stated that as of May 2010, fish and game wardens made an average annual salary of $55,650. The top five paying states for fish and game wardens were Maryland, Nevada, Washington, Wisconsin and Texas.
Step 2: Finish High School
During high school you can research and prepare for this career through taking natural science courses, such as biology, chemistry and environmental science. Electives in computer science, math, physical education and criminal justice may also be beneficial. You may also gain insight into the career through shadowing a fish and game warden.
Step 3: Earn a Degree
The BLS stated that most states require fish and game wardens to have at least an associate degree. You may consider an associate degree program in biology, criminal justice, wildlife management, ecology, conservation biology or fisheries conservation. Some college programs also offer a law enforcement track in conservation programs, which would be acceptable training for a position as a fish and game warden.
Step 4: Find Entry-Level Employment
In order to become a Fish and Game Warden, you would usually need to start in an entry-level position within the state's fish and game, natural resources or wildlife department. To qualify for a position, you may undergo written and physical testing. After being accepted into a position, you may complete a training program focusing on the law enforcement principles and procedures of the job.
Step 5: Become a Fish and Game Warden
Upon successful completion of any required training and working within the department for a minimum number of years, you may qualify to advance to the position of fish and game warden. Promotions are competitive and based upon experience, performance and written and verbal examinations. You will also likely undergo drug testing. Additional education may be required in some states, such as completion of a bachelor's degree program.
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