Fish and Game Warden: Job Duties, Career Outlook, and Education Requirements

Research what it takes to become a fish and game warden. Learn about the education needed, job outlook and average salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Fish and game wardens work for federal or state agencies enforcing laws that protect and conserve fish and wildlife. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Required Associate degree for state jobs; bachelor's degree for federal jobs
Training Required Police academy training for state jobs; firearms use
Key Responsibilities Enforce fish and game regulations, issue citations, testify in court
Job Growth (2012-2022) 1%*
Average Annual Salary (2013) $50,470*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Will I Have as a Fish and Game Warden?

Your primary duty as a fish and game garden will be protecting fish and wildlife by enforcing hunting, pollution, trapping and fishing regulations. The job will require that you regularly patrol areas on foot, by plane or boat, or on horseback and watch for evidence of law violations. You may give citations to individuals who have broken laws, or, as the situation warrants, arrest them.

Sometimes, you might confiscate equipment that has been used in connection with violations or investigate claims of property damage associated with law violations. Part of your job may entail writing reports, testifying in court and organizing hunter education programs. You may also perform inspections of commercial fisheries or recreational operations.

What Is the Career Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of fish and game wardens was expected to increase by just one percent between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). Job openings were expected to arise due to retiring workers vacating their positions. The average annual salary for these professionals was approximately $50,470 in May 2013, according to the BLS.

What Educational Requirements Must I Attain?

You will need at least a 2-year degree if you'd like to become a fish and game warden. You can enroll in a community college or university and major in a field such as criminal justice. Your program may include courses such as forensic science, criminal law, criminal investigation, mathematics and the justice system. When you complete your educational training and are hired as a fish and game warden, you'll enroll in a training academy for up to a year.

Training for state fish and game wardens is usually completed at a police academy. As a recruit, you'll be given training in areas such as firearms use, and investigative techniques, as well as lessons in constitutional and state laws. If you'd like to work for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, you'll have to acquire a 4-year bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field. A bachelor's curriculum might offer classes such as social psychology, corrections and crime analysis.

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