Preparing to become a Conservation Warden
Get to know the Wisconsin DNR and learn about the conservation warden career before you apply. Subscribe to our recruitment newsletter and hiring mailing list to receive email updates with the most current information throughout the year. Our basic qualifications were updated in 2021, so please take time to review the information below.
Below are the basic requirements to qualify for the conservation warden career:
- Minimum age of 21 years old upon hire
- Possess or be able to obtain a Wisconsin driver's license (Wisconsin residency is not required to apply, but will be required if you accept a job offer)
- Already possess a minimum of 60 college credits (or approved credit waiver from WI DOJ LESB) or be able to earn 60 college credits (in any topic) within five years of being hired. Candidates who do not yet have at least 60 college credits when hired will be required to attend schooling on their own time to meet this requirement
- No felony or domestic violence convictions
- Obtain Hunter, Boating, All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and Snowmobile safety certificates
- Pass the entrance fitness test
- No previous law enforcement work experience is required
Education And Training
College or other coursework with an emphasis on natural resources, environmental topics, criminal justice and public relations may be helpful throughout your career, but there is no required field of study for candidates, and we hire candidates with diverse educational backgrounds. If a candidate does not yet possess 60+ college credits, that candidate will be required to earn 60 college credits (on their own time) within five years of being hired. Having law enforcement credentials or experience before being hired is not required.
Past employment, customer/public service experience or internship experience will help strengthen your application and demonstrate your abilities. You do not need to have prior work experience in the law enforcement or natural resources career fields, although those experiences may help you in the hiring process. We seek passionate candidates who work well in team settings, possess solid communication skills, enjoy solving problems and who have the ability to learn. Having a good work ethic, a positive attitude and positive relationships with your previous employers will make you stand out as a potential candidate.
Well-qualified candidates will have a demonstrated interest in conservation and the outdoors and a passion for helping others. If you do not already have it, consider gaining experience hiking, camping, biking, hunting, trapping, fishing, ATVing, snowmobiling and/or boating. Getting outside and enjoying the outdoors is one of the easiest ways to become a better-qualified candidate and add to your resume. Getting involved in your community and helping others is equally as important. Volunteer, join a club, mentor someone else or participate in a community service event. Show us you care about helping others.
Watch a video about the journey of one of our wardens: The Conservation Warden Career
Skills And Abilities
The following list of strengths, skills and abilities are generally found in successful candidates.
- Solid communication skills and a willingness to serve and communicate with our diverse public
- A strong passion for and interest in protecting people and natural resources
- Honesty, integrity, self-motivation, self-confidence, determination, curiosity and professionalism
- The ability to self-direct daily work activities in an efficient and accountable manner without close supervision
- Negotiation, listening and problem-solving skills
- An eagerness to learn
The DNR offers ride-alongs with wardens, which allows someone exploring the career to join a warden on-patrol for several hours. The minimum age to participate in a ride-along is 16 years old, and those wishing to participate will need to complete and submit a form. To learn more about ride-along opportunities in your area, please reach out to a recruiting officer or your local conservation warden.
Please take time to view our recorded webinar on the conservation warden hiring and training process.
For more information contact the Conservation Warden Recruiter: Recruiting Officer