Fish and Game Warden Careers

You'll protect wildlife as well as people when you choose a fish and game warden career.

freeway sign saying fish and game against sunset sky

Law enforcement goes beyond protecting just people.

The role of fish and game warden will have you preserving the environment and protecting wildlife. If you'd like to marry your passion for nature and interest in law enforcement, a fish and game warden career can do just that.

Fish and Game Warden Duties

Fish and game wardens are most often commissioned peace officers in the state they work in. They patrol lakes, rivers, beaches, wetlands, coastlines and deserts.

While their primary duty is to enforce their state's Fish and Wildlife code and all state and federal boating, hunting and fishing laws, they’re also responsible for the seizure of the fish, game or equipment associated with violations of the Fish and Wildlife Code.

Fish and game wardens also have the following responsibilities:

  • Presenting educational programs to the public
  • Providing assistance to other law enforcement agencies
  • Ensuring public safety when there are concerns regarding mountain lions, bears, coyotes, cougars and other types of wildlife in populated areas

Fish and Game Warden Requirements

The requirements to become a game warden vary slightly from state to state, but getting a law enforcement education can help propel you to the next stage of your career.

Special agents with state fish and wildlife departments often need a 4-year college degree. A 2-year associate's degree with full-time fish and/or wildlife experience or law enforcement experience may substitute for the 4-year college degree requirement in some states.

In addition to earning a degree, other steps that will help you develop the skills you need to become a game warden are the following:

  • Staying in good physical shape
  • Gaining a knowledge of the outdoors and outdoor activities
  • Studying natural-resource laws and law enforcement techniques
  • Finding a summer internship in resource management, outdoor recreation or law enforcement
  • Becoming a state law enforcement agent

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for fish and game wardens is $48,070.

Job growth is projected to be very modest through 2022 and there are more individuals seeking game warden careers than there are jobs. By earning a 4-year degree, you may set yourself apart from many other job applicants.

Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.

The BLS also reports that the states with the highest concentration of fish and game wardens are Florida, California, Georgia, Texas and Tennessee.