Game Warden Salary Information

Have you searched for fish and game warden salary information? What about federal game warden salary? We have compiled some important information for you. In the United States, fish and game wardens earned a median, yearly salary of $52,780, with the top percent (10%) taking home roughly $76,510 each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fish and Game Warden Salary Based on Government Level

Salaries for game wardens vary based on the state and wildlife department areas where they work.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employs game wardens at the GS-7, GS-9 or GS-11 federal game warden salary, contingent on their level of education and work experience:

  • GS-7: $34,319 – $44,615
  • GS-9: $41,979 – $54,570
  • GS-11: $50,790 – $66,027

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the annual mean salary for game wardens at the state level at $55,460, while wardens at the local level take home a mean annual salary of $50,410.

In order of highest number of employees, game wardens in the United States are hired through:

  • State Wildlife Departments
  • Local Wildlife Departments
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Salaries for Game Wardens Based on Region

According to stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states with the highest pay for game warden in 2015 were:

  • Illinois: $88,270
  • New Jersey: $82,800
  • Maryland: $74,620
  • California: $72,630
  • Tennessee: $68,070

The “highest salary” Metropolitan areas include the following:

  • Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD: $72,800
  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: $66,970
  • Austin-Round Rock, TX: $62,920
  • Barnstable Town, MA: $53,140
  • Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division: $52,260
  • Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN: $49,710
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: $49,180
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC: $44,250
  • Richmond, VA: $43,250
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA: $41,080

Some nonmetropolitan areas for fish and game wardens (that were the highest paying), as of May 2015, were:

  • Capital/Northern New York nonmetropolitan area: $68,840
  • North Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area: $67,000
  • Hill Country Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area: $65,150
  • West Texas Region of Texas nonmetropolitan area: $62,010

The Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates that the rates of employment for Game Wardens do not always mesh with higher salaries. The highest ranked states for conservation officer employment were:

  • Texas: $64,920
  • New York: $67,730
  • Georgia: $37,480
  • California: $72,630
  • North Carolina: $39,210

Metropolitan areas with vital economies for the employment of game wardens, as of May 2015, were the following:

  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC: $44,250
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA: $41,080
  • Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD: $72,800
  • Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division: $52,260
  • Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN: $49,710
  • Austin-Round Rock, TX: $62,920
  • Richmond, VA: $43,250
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division: $36,410
  • Barnstable Town, MA: $53,140
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: $49,180

Expectations for Game Warden Salaries Based on Rank

When it comes to salaries for game wardens, most states pay officers based on their rank. For example, conservation officers who are working at the federal level can be employed with a salary of between $34,319 and $44,615 at the minimum federal pay level of GS-7. Game wardens who have more education in their backgrounds can be hired at a higher rank (GS-9, GS-11); and therefore, might receive a starting salary between $41,979 and $66,027.

In most states, there are clear salary levels based on the rank you hold in the department. Keep in mind that some regions and counties in the state can receive between a $220 and $350 difference if their park is in a “higher cost county.”

Texas is a great example for clearly defined salary levels according to the conservation officer’s rank:

  • Game Warden Cadet $3,131/month
  • Game Warden I (Probationary) $3,421/month
  • Game Warden I (1 year) $4,131/month
  • Game Warden II (4 years) $4,749/month
  • Game Warden III (8 years) $5,098/month
  • Game Warden IV (12 years) $5,333/month
  • Game Warden V (16 years) $5,586/month
  • Game Warden VI (20 years) $5,724/month

Additionally, many wildlife departments will offer their officers longevity pay that can add up to an increase of 1 to 7 percent in pay. Game wardens may receive educational incentive pay, with those that hold higher degrees able to earn more than non-degreed coworkers. Fish and game wardens are also often able to receive plenty of opportunities for overtime work.

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.