What is a Conservation Officer?

What is a Conservation Officer? What does a Conservation Officer do?

The job title Conservation Officer is, at times, synonymous with fish and game warden, and refers to the individual who enforces local and national laws that protect natural resources that include plants and animals. Typically, conservation officers will be licensed to impose additional laws within their jurisdictions, like traffic and controlled substance violations.

What Does a Conservation Officer Do?

Conservation officers help to monitor hunters and fishermen to ensure full compliance comply with all applicable local and national laws. Types of activities a Conservation Officer may be involved in will include the following:

  • Enforcing local and national laws for parks and camping grounds
  • Checking for how game was collected
  • Checking vehicles and watercraft legal compliance
  • Preparing and presenting in court during trials
  • Working with other law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions on similar cases
  • Establishing, and protecting, the evidence collected during investigations

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Requirements and Qualifications to work as a Conservation Officer

For most states, candidates will be required to complete two year degree with classes in criminal justice, and psychology. Other states will require the completion of an undergraduate education in criminal justice, biology, or environmental sciences.

Before working as a Conservation Officer, one must:

  • Know local and national laws
  • Physically and mentally be able to perform the duties required of game wardens
  • Possess the ability to speak publicly to large groups

In order to perform the duties of a fish and game warden, candidates must be physically and mentally healthy which will be evaluated by a doctor. Officers must be considered able enough to carry a firearm and be able to pass a government background check.

Conservation officers monitor hunters, fishermen, and trappers to ensure that they fully comply with state and federal regulations. Types of activities on the job:
• Enforcing state and federal statutes in campgrounds and parks
• Checking vehicles and watercraft for compliance with state and federal laws
• Conducting educational programs on wildlife preservations
• Establishing and protecting the chain of custody of evidence collected during investigations of violations of fish and wildlife statutes
An Associate’s degree is usually the minimum educational requirement to become a conservation officer. Many agencies require a Bachelor’s degree.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fish and game wardens throughout the United States earned an average annual wage of $54,970 in 2015. Get started now!

Job Training for Conservation Officers

When it comes to training, the standards are going to be different at the local and national level. Those employed at the federal level will usually complete a training course that lasts two weeks with the initial 12 weeks consisting of instruction conducted at the FLEA in Glynco, Georgia, this will be followed by further instruction in the state of West Virginia. Officers will training on subjects relating to conservation and criminal justice, such as how to properly use firearms and identify plants and animals. Once completed officers will complete a supervised field training period before they can assume their normal position.

Those who are employed at the state level will be required to complete more state specific instructional programs.

Additional Skills for Conservation Officers

Those looking to become fish and game wardens should look to pick up unpaid or employment opportunities prior to apply as it may help you receive credentials and employment in the future. It is important that game wardens are able to work on their own without oversight.

Conservation Officer Jobs

  • Wildlife officer
  • Conservation warden
  • Wildlife enforcement officer
  • Environmental police officer
  • Fish and game warden
  • Game warden
  • Natural resources officer

Facts About The Job

  • Full time fish and game wardens work 40 or more hours a week with some of those times being nights, weekends, and holidays.
  • Fish and game wardens are outside in nature a lot and for this reason they should be able to withstand all different types of environments an weather.
  • Fish and game wardens need to be current in their knowledge of local and national laws. Some states require officers to continue their education on a yearly basis.
  • Be aware that game wardens can come in to contact with dangers such as armed individuals or dangerous wildlife. Officers should be prepared for all dangers.

Career Possibilities for Conservation Officers

Officers working at the state and federal level will be able to advance in their departments with the more experience and knowledge their accumulate.

Conservation Officer Salary Expectations

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, conservation officers in the United States take home an annual salary of $55,000 per year.

Learn How to Become a Game Warden in Your State

Online Game Warden Programs and Education

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Choose an area of study & concentration and receive free information about programs you are interested in. Federal and state game wardens are law enforcement officers and wildlife conservation specialists, so having a degree in an area like environmental science or wildlife management is just as important as experience in law enforcement.