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Fish and Game Warden Job Description, Career as a Fish and Game Warden, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High school diploma

Salary Median: $56,030 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Fish and game wardens have the responsibility of protecting wildlife. They patrol rivers, lakes, wetlands, beaches, coastlines, and deserts, and they are sworn to support the boating, hunting, and fishing laws of the state. They perform numerous law enforcement tasks, such as providing assistance to law enforcement agencies, examining reports of damage done to property by wildlife, investigating crimes against wildlife, conducting rescue operations, managing wildlife populations, compiling biological data, and tracking poachers.

While patrolling specified areas, wardens warn and arrest hunters suspected of violations. They may also seize the equipment and game associated with the violation. Fish and game wardens may be required to participate in community sporting, civic, and conservation events.

Education and Training Requirements

Applicants must have good knowledge of high school math and biology. Success in physical education courses are also important. The majority of states require fish and game wardens to have at least an undergraduate degree. Written tests vary by state. In general, the exams test the candidate’s knowledge of local regulations and natural resources, and observational skills.

It is necessary for prospective fish and game wardens to undergo a specialized training that lasts between three and twelve months. Applicants having college training in military police science are likely to have better opportunities. Experience in wildlife management or law enforcement is also beneficial in some cases.

Prospective candidates must show an interest in activities such as hiking, hunting, camping, and fishing. Candidates who wish to apply for positions in the United Sates Department of Fish and Wildlife must have an undergraduate degree in biology or criminal justice.

Getting the Job

Fish and game warden cadets can apply to their state’s department of fish and game for employment opportunities. Job openings for this career are usually advertised in classified sections of newspapers and on Internet career sites.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Fish and game wardens can advance to the positions of patrol lieutenant, patrol captain, and patrol inspector. However, these promotions are dependent on the candidate’s performance, experience, and results in a competitive exam. For instance, it is only after at least one year of service as a warden that a person can take on the role of a patrol lieutenant. Some fish and game wardens may even go on to become refuge managers or supervisors.

Although significant growth is not projected till 2016, the possibility of jobs in this occupation remains almost stable. State governments are expected to recruit the majority of fish and game wardens.

Working Conditions

Fish and game wardens mostly work outdoors in all weather conditions. They patrol diverse places, such as rivers, lakes, deserts, mountains, and off-shore regions. Due to the nature of the job, these specialized law enforcement officials often work in dense forests and thick brush. They carry weapons, and they may use scuba equipment, off-road vehicles, and patrol boats.

Often, fish and game wardens work in highly traumatic conditions that may be dangerous to their safety and health. They also work with upset, injured, or violent people. It is also not unusual to work in treacherous territories such as steep coastlines, heavily wooded lands, or bog areas.

Where to Go for More Information

Montana Game Warden’s Association
PO Box 68
Helena, MT 59624

California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
3536 Rainier Ave.
Stockton, CA 95204-1237

California Department of Fish & Game
1416 Ninth St.
Sacramento, CA 95814

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
444 North Capitol St. NW, Suite 725
Washington, DC 20001

North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association
PO Box 22
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648

International Game Warden magazine

Salary, Earnings and Benefits

The average annual salary of fish and game warden cadets is about $56,030. They work mostly for governmental organizations. Monthly salary is in the range of $2,244 to $2,670. The salary of wardens varies between $2,404 and $3,467 per month. Fish and game wardens usually work holidays and weekends, when fishers and hunters are likely to crowd forests and parks. According to the data published, Maryland, New York, Washington, Nevada, and Idaho pay the highest salaries to fish and game wardens.

Fish and game warden cadets enjoy regular benefits such as sick leaves, paid vacations, retirement plans, and partly paid dental and medical insurance.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAgribusiness, Environment, and Natural Resources