How to Become a Wildlife Conservation Officer

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A conservation police officer is a highly desirable field and one in which you are certain to encounter stiff competition for jobs. Someone working in this field will be driven by a passion for the outdoors. Conservation police officer positions are available at the local, state or federal level. Educational requirements will vary, but most positions likely will require at least an associate's degree in a related field. Consider a degree in conservation biology or environmental science.

  • Take a broad base of conservation-related courses in your college curriculum, such as natural resource management, botany and biology. A conservation police officer protects the entire park or refuge, with all of its components. Having this educational foundation will better help you appreciate your work.

  • Participate in hunting or fishing. Part of a conservation police officer's work involves enforcement of game laws. Having personal experience with these activities can help you relate better to the people you are likely to encounter on the job.

  • Learn CPR and basic first aid. As a conservation police officer, you are a first responder to emergencies at your site. This knowledge can be especially vital if you patrol remote areas where assistance might not be readily available.

  • Learn how to swim if you do not already. Game management might include patrolling fishing areas or waterfowl hunting sites. As with first aid, you must be able to respond to any type of emergency situation that you encounter.

  • Exercise regularly to stay in shape. Some agencies might require you to take a physical agility test. Work as a conservation police officer often can be physically taxing. You might have to walk long distances to properly patrol your area. You must meet the physical challenges of different weather conditions and terrain.

  • Learn basic small engine repair. A conservation police officer often works alone or with a very limited staff. Budget restrictions might force you to take care of minor repairs yourself. Any previous knowledge might come in handy on the job.

  • Read about and follow current conservation issues and events in the area for which you are applying. To be most effective at your job, know what the issues are and how they affect the general public. Join the Wildlife Society for colleague support and possible job opportunities.

  • Research the available job opportunities. Your state government website likely will have job postings listed. For federal positions, visit USAJobs.gov for the latest openings.

  • Learn the requirements for the positions for which you are applying. Be aware that this position will likely require a background check, drug testing and a written examination.

  • Apply early. Make sure you have your college transcripts and a resume. Some agencies also might require a letter of recommendation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Volunteer at the agency for which you want to work. Agencies often will look within their ranks for likely job candidates.
  • Work as a conservation police officer will often take you to remote areas. Always stay alert on the job and understand your risks.

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