Instead of patrolling in flashing police cars, game wardens survey their domains in rafts, canoes, boats and on foot--keeping an eye on wildlife, rivers, beachfronts and lakes. A typical day for a game warden may include surveying damaged property, tracking endangered species, educating residents about the local area and cleaning debris. Game wardens in Tennessee earned below-average salaries for the profession.
National average salaries for game wardens were determined to be $54,950 per year in 2009 in a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Game wardens in Tennessee received average salaries slightly under their colleagues across the country, with a state annual median wage of $50,010, lower by $4,940 per year.
Some of Tennessee’s 370 game wardens (as of May 2009) did earn higher-than-average salaries. In the state’s 90th percentile of earners, salaries averaged $69,190 per year. On the opposite end of the range, salaries in Tennessee’s 10th percentile bracket averaged $32,770 per year.
The game warden profession is regulated by each individual state. In Tennessee, game wardens fall under the advisement of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, where the position is actually called “wildlife officer” instead of “game warden.” To start on the path toward earning a salary as a Tennessee wildlife officer, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in wildlife or a related field, including biology, zoology, animal sciences, ecology or fisheries management.
Tennesseans interested in salaries guarding their state’s natural resources will find the BLS estimating an overall addition of 700 jobs throughout the country and 8 percent employment growth through 2018.