What is a Conservation Officer?

Have you ever wondered, What is a Conservation Officer? These job requirements are similar to a fish and game warden and wildlife including training and licensing in law enforcement to uphold laws regarding activities such as fishing, hunting, and camping.

When looking into how to become a conservation officer, consider that employers include environmental and environmental organizations, research firms, and state and federal governments which control state parks, wetlands, bodies of water such as lakes, beaches, rivers, and other natural areas. Conservation officers may generalize in natural areas management or specialize in specific responsibilities such as environmental crime or wildlife protection.

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What Does a Conservation Officer Do?

  • Administrative work such as researching, reporting, and documentation of land use, changes, and volume of visitors and violations
  • Search and rescue, emergency services, and instructional training for safety in such areas as hunting and recreational vehicle use and legal requirements of licensing for hunting, fishing, and boating.
  • Surveillance and investigation of complaints and violations including illegal hunting, pollution, or illegal use of public lands.
  • Law enforcement and search and seize under all laws and regulations in their jurisdiction, including collecting, handling, recording, and preserving evidence.

This is someone who wants to know how to become a wildlife conservation officer and then plans to get the education and training to become one to have a career serving and protecting the great outdoors.

What Kind of Work Environment Does a Conservation Officer have?

The BLS reports that conservation workers work in national, state, and private forests and parks,  outside in all types of weather, although probably report to main administrative offices and outposts. They regularly use safety and specialty gear and equipment including hardhats, protective eyewear, rescue equipment, and protective clothing to perform physically demanding work sometimes in remote areas, including responding to emergencies. This is a career path for those who want to work in the forestry and agricultural industries out of doors rather than in a typical office environment.

How to Become a Conservation Officer

If you want to know how to become a conservation officer or how to become a wildlife worker, you should be aware that you’ll more than likely need a four-year degree. If you are wondering what degree do you need to be a conservation officer, you can talk to your local high school counseling office and colleges and universities you are interested in attending to find out what programs they offer for this field.

Training and education in agricultural and natural sciences is the foundation for a conservation officer career. A conservation officer degree, generally a bachelor’s degree in biology, agricultural science, or natural resources, will be necessary, with training in law enforcement a plus.

The job requirements, educational requirements, and more specific information about how to become a conservation officer can be obtained from a state’s Department of Agriculture. Inquiring or researching there will help you answer your questions about what is a conservation officer.

How Much do Conservation Workers Earn and What’s the Job Outlook?

The BLS reports that as of 2018, conservation workers earned between $27,460 and $48, 220. Becoming a conservation officer may be easier in states with the highest employment levels for workers:  California, South Dakota, Washington, Tennessee, and Missouri, with the top paying states being Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Wisconsin.

Employment of conservation workers is expected to slightly decline (3%) between 2018 and 2028 because of automation due to new technologies such as remote sensing. However, an increase in wildfires due to increasingly unpredictable weather and climate conditions will mean an increased need for workers trained in wildfire management.

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