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Community Service Officer (CSO) Summer Paid Internships

The DNR's Division of Public Safety and Resource Protection offers a summer position ideal for those exploring career opportunities in natural resources/public safety fields. This limited-term employment (LTE) summer job opportunity can also be a paid internship. CSO positions are available throughout the state, and applicants will have the opportunity to indicate where they are willing to work in Wisconsin. The DNR typically hires 10-15 CSOs each summer, with the application period open in the preceding December/January.

2022 CSO Training Day
2023 CSO Training

Internship Details

CSOs are primarily responsible for facilitating customer service and public safety through education and outreach efforts within their designated team's administrative area or on state-owned properties such as parks, forests, and trails. This position assists with recreation management, resource protection, managing public safety through collaboration with law enforcement entities, providing law and rule explanations to the public and preventative enforcement services through education, security, and administrative activities. CSOs will work cooperatively with DNR conservation wardens and independently on projects, outreach, patrols and other assigned tasks. Paid training is provided to all CSOs at the beginning of their summer employment, so applicants need not already be experts in all the above topics.


Competitive CSO applicants are self-motivated and interested in natural resources, public safety and/or public service. They share a passion for helping others and are capable and enthusiastic communicators willing to serve Wisconsin's diverse people.

CSO at the Milwaukee DNR Service Center.
CSO at the Milwaukee DNR Service Center.

In addition, all CSO applicants will meet the following requirements.

  • Must be at least 18 at the time of employment/paid internship.
  • Must be a Wisconsin resident during the period of employment.
  • Must pass a background investigation, as CSOs may have access to confidential information and forms.
    • No dishonest or untrustworthy behavior.
    • No unpardoned felony conviction.
    • No misdemeanor convictions if it substantially relates to CSO duties.
  • Must have the ability to operate a state vehicle.
    • Must have at least two years of driving history, with no more than three moving violations or at-fault accidents during the past two years.
    • Must not have an OWI (drunk driving arrest) on record in the past year.

Hiring Process and Employment Timeframe

The CSO hiring process takes several months and begins well before the summer of employment. We encourage potential applicants to explore the summer job opportunity ahead of time, ask questions and prepare so that they can be as competitive in the process as possible. Below are critical considerations regarding the CSO hiring process and work expectations.

CSO patrolling the water in cooperation with a conservation warden during the early goose/teal season in Chippewa County.
CSO patrolling the water in cooperation
with a conservation warden during the early
goose/teal season in Chippewa County.
  • CSO applicants should prepare to submit their initial applications in December/January preceding the summer they hope to work.
  • Applications will be accepted electronically through the website.
  • Applicants seeking a paid internship should apply through the Student Diversity Internship Program option, while candidates seeking summer employment without internship credit can apply through the LTE community service officer option. Candidates only need to apply through one of the two options – not both.
  • The CSO hiring process consists of a pre-interview screen, an interview and a background investigation.
  • CSOs will be expected to report to work beginning the Monday before Memorial Day, with a position sunset timeframe in late August.
  • CSOs will be expected to work approximately 40 hours per week during the summer and will be required to work several weekends a month.

Have questions about the hiring process or information on this page? Contact a recruiter.