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

Fish and game wardens work for federal or state agencies enforcing laws that protect and conserve fish and wildlife. Learn about job duties, career outlook and educational requirements for fish and game wardens. Schools offering Environmental Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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 eight percent between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). Population growth was cited as one of the causes. Job openings were also expected to arise due to retiring workers vacating their positions. The average annual salary for these professionals was approximately $55,650 in May 2010, 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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