How to Become a Game Warden in Arizona

Game warden applicants in the state of Arizona face a very competitive hiring process for both state jobs, and federal positions with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  With demand so high, many applicants wait in multiple agencies' hiring pools for months in order to accept a job opening as a warden.  Applicants are well-advised to be able to demonstrate exemplary skills and interests such as enjoyment of the outdoors, accomplished fish and wildlife experience and advocacy, and strong communication skills.

Typically a game warden's responsibilities would include patrolling a given area for violators or problems, monitoring the health and populations of plant life, fish and wildlife, and carrying out search and rescue operations when required. Game wardens typically manage a county or region of their state and are responsible for protecting all wildlife and natural features within that area.

Read on to discover how to best prepare yourself for the application process in Arizona.

Arizona Game Warden Eligibility Requirements

People who enjoy Arizona’s wildlife and natural habitats, and who have a strong sense of justice and a desire to work in law enforcement, may consider working as a Wildlife Manager for the state. Sometimes referred to as a game warden or conservation officer, Wildlife Managers are responsible for carrying out policy as it pertains to the management, preservation and harvest of wildlife within the state.

Wildlife Managers facilitate projects and programs related to Arizona’s wildlife and habitats, manage fisheries, and conduct research and education programs. Wildlife Managers are responsible for a challenging set of duties, meaning that applicants must be prepared with the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary to meet employer expectations. Available below are the minimum qualifications needed to apply for the role of Wildlife Manager in the state of Arizona. Please note that more information is available on the Arizona Gaming and Fishing portal:

Basic Job Qualifications to Become an Arizona Wildlife Manager

Age: 21 years of age or older is required in Arizona at the time of academy entrance

Citizenship: Proof of U.S. Citizenship, resident alien status or naturalization documents are required as part of the wildlife trooper application package

License: A valid Arizona-issued driver’s license is required. Individuals must maintain a good driving record.

Military Service: If formerly a member of the military, a discharge "Under Honorable Conditions" is required

Work Eligibility: New employees must present original documents that establish identity and eligibility for U.S. employment opportunities as per federal law – applicants must be eligible to accept employment before the process continues

Background and Legal History: Applicants must pass an intensive background check in order to continue the application process. Qualifying elements include:

  • Not used, transported, or purchased an illegal controlled substance
  • Not illegally manufactured, transported, purchased, distributed, or sold a controlled substance
  • Not on court-ordered probation
  • Not ever convicted of a felony offense
  • Not convicted of a crime of dishonesty or moral turpitude
  • Not convicted of more than two misdemeanors

Never discharged or resigned under threat of discharge from any law enforcement position

Academic Credentials: Completion of high school or GED is required; two years of field experience or a Bachelor's degree in a wildlife science or a closely related field from an accredited college or university.

Additional Requirements: Wildlife Manager Background Information

Arizona Game and Fish Department Selection Questionnaire
Statement of Personal History and Application for POST Certification

Being Prepared for POST Training

POST Training: A course certifying candidates as Peace Officers in the state of Arizona and which readies them to continue the Wildlife Manager application process. Training includes:

  • Criminal, civil, and court proceedings
  • Environment-specific training for desert, high-heat and rugged terrain
  • Fire and emergency practices for state and personal emergencies
  • Traffic and patrol practices
  • Ethics and integrity
  • Reporting
  • Firearms training
  • Trafficking enforcement
  • Additional specific training

Interview: Candidates will have a face-to-face panel interview during the application process

Medical Condition: The applicant must be examined by a licensed physician who shall attest that the candidate is in good physical health to continue the application process

Hearing: The applicant must meet Arizona’s minimal standard hearing test

Vision: The applicant must have binocular vision with or without corrective lenses or contact lenses, as well as uninterrupted peripheral vision, night vision, and no color blindness

Physical Readiness: The applicant must successfully complete a physical readiness test as part of the training. This includes a swim component as per hiring directives and also includes:

  • One minute sit-ups
  • One minute push-ups
  • 1.5-mile run

Applicants must successfully complete each component of the physical readiness testing.

Psychological Condition: The applicant must be in suitable psychological and emotional health as certified by a psychologist’s affidavit in order to proceed to employment

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications

  • Knowledge of current methods and practices of natural resource and wildlife management, prescribed fire management and fire effects; effect of military training on natural resources are recommended.
  • Knowledge of federal, state and local agency regulations, policies and procedures relating to forestry and natural resources are recommended.
  • Computer spreadsheet, Microsoft Office, ArcGIS, and database program knowledge is required; proprietary programs will be used.
  • Demonstrated skill in conducting field work pertaining to the natural resources and forestry program.
  • Effective oral communication; forestry and natural measurement skills
  • Effectively plan, organize, and direct a variety of activities and projects related to natural resource management
  • Establish and maintain effective interpersonal relationships and communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  • Completion of the NWCG wild land firefighter pack test
  • Effectively operate and negotiate a 4-wheel drive vehicle on rugged terrain

Salary and Benefits for Wildlife Managers in Arizona

Game wardens who work for Arizona’s Game & Fish Department can earn up to $71,564 depending on their grade and level of experience. The Department’s Employment page presents the salaries for game wardens as of 2017:

  • Wildlife Manager I $33,435 - $55,812
  • Wildlife Manger II $36,814 - $65,828
  • Wildlife Manger III $39,983 - $71,564

In addition to base salaries, Arizona’s game wardens receive substantial benefits. These include full medical coverage, life insurance, and both short and long term disability insurance, and the option to retire under the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.

Salary information from the Arizona Department of Administration’s Office of Employment and Population Statistics highlights the difference that location can make on a game warden’s earning potential. Statewide, game wardens in Arizona earned a median salary of $45,500, while those in the top 10% averaged $62,340 as of 2015. In the Phoenix area, the median salary was almost identical at $45,850, but experienced Phoenix-area game wardens earning in the top 10% made an average salary of $65,360 - nearly 5% more than their colleagues in other parts of the state.

Arizona Game and Fish Department

5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000
Phone: (602) 942-3000

School Programs

ProgramPrograms Offered

Arizona Christian University

2625 E Cactus Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85032-7097
Phone: (602) 489-5300
  • Biology

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

411 N Central Avenue - Ste 520, Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 496-4636
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Arizona State University-Polytechnic

7001 E Williams Field Road, Mesa, AZ 85212
Phone: (480) 727-1585
  • Biology

Arizona State University-Skysong

1475 N Scottsdale Road - Ste 200, Scottsdale, AZ 85257
Phone: (480) 884-1860
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Arizona State University-Tempe

University Drive and Mill Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287
Phone: (480) 965-9011
  • Biology
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Conservation Biology

Arizona State University-West

4701 W Thunderbird Road, Glendale, AZ 85306
Phone: (602) 543-5500
  • Biology

Arizona Western College

2020 S. Avenue 8E, Yuma, AZ 85365-8834
Phone: (928) 317-6000
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Central Arizona College

8470 N Overfield Rd, Coolidge, AZ 85128-9030
Phone: (520) 494-5444
  • Criminal Justice

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

2626 E Pecos Rd, Chandler, AZ 85225-2499
Phone: (480) 732-7000
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Cochise County Community College District

4190 W Highway 80, Douglas, AZ 85607-6190
Phone: (520) 515-0500
  • Biology

Coconino Community College

2800 S. Lone Tree Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86005-2701
Phone: (928) 527-1222
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Dine College

Route 12, One Circle Drive, Tsaile, AZ 86556
Phone: (928) 724-6600
  • Natural Resources, Conservation

Eastern Arizona College

615 N. Stadium Ave., Thatcher, AZ 85552-0769
Phone: (928) 428-8322
  • Forestry
  • Biology
  • Environmental Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Estrella Mountain Community College

3000 N Dysart Rd, Avondale, AZ 85323-1000
Phone: (623) 935-8000
  • Criminal Justice

GateWay Community College

108 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Phone: (602) 392-5000
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Glendale Community College

6000 W Olive Ave, Glendale, AZ 85302
Phone: (623) 845-3000
  • Criminal Justice

Mesa Community College

1833 W Southern Ave, Mesa, AZ 85202
Phone: (480) 461-7000
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Mohave Community College

1971 Jagerson Ave, Kingman, AZ 86409-1238
Phone: (928) 757-4331
  • Criminal Justice

Northern Arizona University

1900 S. Knoles Dr, Babbitt Administrative Center, Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4132
Phone: (928) 523-9011
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Forestry
  • Forest Sciences and Biology
  • Forest Resources Management
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Conservation Biology

Ottawa University-Phoenix

9414 North 25th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021
Phone: (602) 371-1188
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Paradise Valley Community College

18401 N 32nd St, Phoenix, AZ 85032
Phone: (602) 787-6500
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Phoenix College

1202 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013
Phone: (602) 264-2492
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Criminal Justice

Pima Community College

4905C East Broadway Blvd., Tucson, AZ 85709-1275
Phone: (520) 206-4500
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Prescott College

220 Grove Ave, Prescott, AZ 86301
Phone: (877) 350-2100
  • Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Conservation Biology

Scottsdale Community College

9000 E Chaparral Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
Phone: (480) 423-6000
  • Criminal Justice

South Mountain Community College

7050 S 24th St, Phoenix, AZ 85042
Phone: (602) 243-8135
  • Security and Protective Services

Tohono O'Odham Community College

Highway 86, Mile Post 125.5, Sells, AZ 85634-3129
Phone: (520) 383-8401
  • Natural Resources, Conservation
  • Biology

University of Arizona

1401 E University, Tucson, AZ 85721-0066
Phone: (520) 621-2211
  • Natural Resources, Conservation
  • Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Yavapai College

1100 E Sheldon St, Prescott, AZ 86301
Phone: (928) 445-7300
  • Law Enforcement Administration