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Fish and Game Wardens

California Occupational Guide Number 448
Interest Area 4


FISH AND GAME WARDENS are the law enforcement agents of the State and
federal fish and wildlife agencies.  They enforce laws and regulations
designed to protect and conserve fish and wildlife.  While patrolling
assigned areas, wardens warn, cite, and arrest individuals suspected of
violations and may seize the fish, game, and equipment connected with the
violation.  They collect information and report on the condition of fish and
wildlife in a specific area.  They may supervise the activities of seasonal
workers.  Wardens with the federal government are known as special agents

Wardens may have other responsibilities. They may investigate wildlife crop
damage and advise owners of preventative measures. They may inspect
commercial fishing operations, canneries, processors, and fish markets.
They may issue deer hunting licenses, conduct hunter safety training, and
assist in controlled hunt planning.  They may participate in rescue
operations.  They may investigate coastal water pollution.  Occasionally,
they speak at civic, sporting, and conservation events.


Wardens work out-of-doors in all seasons and weather conditions.  The area
they patrol may include urban areas, lakes, rivers, mountains, deserts, or
marine off-shore areas.  Wardens frequently work in thick brush or dense
woods.  Occasionally, they may have to handle wild animals and run the risk
of bites and scratches. They may use patrol boats, off-road vehicles, and
scuba-diving equipment.  Because they are peace officers, they wear a
uniform and carry a weapon.

Although wardens work primarily in the field, they may do some of their work
in offices.


The following information is from the California Projections of Employment
published by the Labor Market Information Division.

Estimated number of workers in 1993             350
Estimated number of workers in 2005             400
Projected Growth 1993-2005                      14%
Estimated openings due to separations by 2005   100

(These figures do not include self-employment or openings due to turnover.)

Only modest growth will occur in this occupation, because of  limited
budgetary resources.  Interest in the occupation is keen, and traditionally
there are many more job seekers than available jobs.


Fish and Game Wardens work for governmental agencies.  Monthly salary ranges
for State Fish and Game Wardens cadets are $2,244 to $2,670.  Warden
salaries range from $2,404 to $3,467 per month.  Special agents (wildlife)
employed by the federal government begin at GS level 5 (starting at $1,664
per month) and can reach GS level 12 (starting at $3,656 per month).  The
hours may be irregular, and wardens frequently work weekends and holidays
when hunters and fishers are most likely to crowd State and federal parks
and forests.  Wardens get compensating time off for all time worked over 40
hours per week.  They receive a comprehensive fringe benefit package
including paid vacations, holiday, sick leave, a retirement plan and
partially-paid medical and dental insurance.


Most Fish and Game Wardens work for the State Department of Fish and Game.
The Department accepts applications from qualified job seekers on a
continuous basis, but qualifying tests are usually given only every two
years.  The U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service employs a few
special agents.  Prospective Fish and Game Wardens must have at least two
years of college - 60 semester or equivalent quarter units.  Eighteen of
those units must be in police or biological science.  

The State Department of Fish and Game gives a written test that covers the
principals of law enforcement, conservation, the habits, ecology, and
distribution of California fish and wildlife, and the ability to reason
logically.  Job competitors must also take a physical exam, which includes
vision and hearing screening, and pass a physical endurance test that
includes swimming for 100 yards.

Cadets take a fish and game law enforcement training program after they are
hired.  This program is given at various police academy locations and is
accredited by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards.  Special Agents
(Wildlife) need a bachelor's degree in biology or criminal justice to work
for the federal government.

Helpful school courses are biology and math; physical education, especially
physically active team sports, are also important.  A strong interest in law
enforcement activities is also important.  Outdoor hobbies such as hunting,
fishing, camping, and hiking, help students prepare for this career.


Fish and Game Warden Cadet is the first of five occupational steps in the
State Fish and Game Warden series.  The others are warden A and B, patrol
lieutenant, patrol captain, and patrol inspector.  Each promotion is based
on a competitive examination, experience, and performance requirements.
Eligibility of patrol lieutenant occurs after one year's service as a

Some fish and game wildlife assistants-already working for the Department of
Fish and Game-take the required college level course work to qualify as a

Special agents (wildlife) advance through regular pay levels and may be
promoted to supervisor or refuge manager.


The California Department of Fish and Game accepts applications for Fish and
Game Warden cadets at any time.  Job seekers should contact the U.S.
Department of Wildlife Services for dates that applications are accepted.
They should also request job leads from their college instructors and
graduate placement centers.


Visit the California Department of Fish and Game website at  For job applications or a career 
opportunities pamphlet, contact theCalifornia Department of Fish and Game 
at one of the following locations:

Southern California-Eastern Sierra Region 
330 Golden Shore, Suite 50
Long Beach, CA 90802
(310) 590-5144

San Joaquin Valley-Southern Sierra Region
1234 East Shaw Avenue
Fresno, CA 93710
(209) 222-3761

Central Coast Region
P.O. Box 47	1416
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 944-5500

Headquarters Office
1416 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-8120

Sacramento Valley-Central Sierra Region
1701 Nimbus Road
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
(916)  355-0978

Northern California-North Coast Region
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001
(916) 225-2300

For Special Agent (Wildlife) employment information, contact:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Eastside Federal Complex
911 N.E. 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232-4181
(503) 231-6136


Foresters                      No. 202
Park Rangers                   No. 232


DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th Ed., 1991) 
Fish and Game Warden       379.167-010

OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System
Fish and Game Wardens           630410

Source: State of California, Employment Development Department,
        Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group,
        (916) 262-2162.

Note:  This is NOT a job opening.  The purpose of This California Occupational Guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions.   If you are searching for a job, go to:

California Occupational Guides

California Employment Development Department   >>   Labor Market Information   >>   More Occupational Guides