What Are the Qualifications to Be a Federal Game Warden?


Federal game wardens have a love of the great outdoors, where they make a decent living protecting nature's fish and wildlife. Jobs for federal game wardens are expected to be few and far between until the recession ends and more funding is available, but there are still a few opportunities for qualified candidates.

Federal Game Warden Defined

  • Federal game wardens are law enforcement officers assigned the duties of protecting wildlife and fish. The primary job description for a federal game warden is to enforce and regulate hunting and fishing laws. Federal game wardens are assigned specific areas to work, where they patrol and observe hunters and fishermen who may be in violation of federal law. As a federal game warden, you have the authority to cite individuals in violation of any hunting or fishing laws, as well as confiscate any materials (guns, fishing equipment, traps and similar equipment) that may have been used in connection with the violation. Federal game wardens also investigate claims filed by property owners involving damage by wildlife.


  • Although game wardens working in state government are not required to hold a college degree, those employed with the federal government are required to have a formal education. Federal game wardens are required at hold at least a four-year bachelor's degree, majoring in either criminal justice or biology. After being hired, new game wardens must go through a training program that generally lasts between three and 12 months, depending upon the state. On-the-job training is also required before game wardens are allowed to work independently.


  • Those interested in becoming a federal game must be at least 21 years old in most states, although a few states may make an exception if applicants are qualified. Candidates must also be a U.S. citizen. Applicants need to possess a valid driver's license and have no criminal background that involves any felony charges. Federal game wardens must be familiar with resource laws and law enforcement techniques, and must be capable of carrying and knowing how to properly use a firearm.

Additional Qualifications

  • Federal game wardens spend the majority of time working outdoors and must be able to tolerate extreme temperatures, both in the winter and summer months. Candidates must have a good knowledge and understanding of outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. The job of a federal game warden can also be physically demanding, often requiring foot travel or hiking in rough terrain. Because federal game wardens most often work independently, they must be organized, motivated and have good decision-making skills.

Set Yourself Apart

  • Employment in the field is expected to be competitive. Prospective federal game wardens could help improve their chances for employment by seeking a summer internship in either law enforcement, outdoor recreation or resource management. This can be done in addition to the regular internship required for graduation. Because summer is one of the busiest times in most parks, the help would be welcome. Any additional experience in these fields could help set you apart from the competition and increase your odds of landing a job.

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  • Photo Credit "Penfishingrods.com" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Penfishingrods.com (Michael Di Pippo) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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