How to Become a Game Warden in Florida

Jobs for qualified game warden officers in Florida remain highly competitive at both the state and federal levels, indicating that only the most able applicants will be successful.  Ultimately, to be successful in the field, game wardens should enjoy the outdoors and have a passion for environmental advocacy and the protection of natural resources.

Their diverse job duties include more than just enforcing conservation laws. They are responsible for everything from helping with the rescue and rehabilitation of injured animals, to remediation of nuisance animals that threaten hikers and campers, and they are sometimes even called on for search and rescue missions as needed.  Game wardens are employed to manage a county or in some instances a larger portion of the state, and as such, the job is both physically and mentally challenging so only the best and brightest need apply.

With stiff competition for warden jobs in Florida, many applicants wait for several months at each stage of the selection process and apply across multiple agencies to increase their odds of being hired.  It's important to understand the requirements and selection process for each agency, as well as how to showcase your qualifications in order to stand out among the pool of capable candidates.  Read more to discover how to maximize your chances of becoming a warden with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Florida Game Warden Eligibility Requirements

Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission employs Law Enforcement Officers to manage wildlife and marine conservation and enforcement efforts along Florida's saltwater coastline, as well as its 37 million acres of land and freshwater. These dedicated individuals balance their love of the outdoors with a passion for enforcing conservation laws.

As Law Enforcement Officers, Florida’s game wardens are responsible for basic duties that include checking licenses and enforcing hunting regulations, speaking to advocacy groups and schools, as well as offering hunting and boating safety courses. The role of a Law Enforcement Officer in Florida is a challenging one, which means that all applicants must demonstrate they have what it takes to effectively serve the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Outlined below are the minimum qualifications for Law Enforcement Officer jobs with the Commission. All officer candidates in the state will have to successfully complete extensive cadet training. As outlined on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website, eligibility criteria include:

Basic Qualifications for a Job with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Age: 19 years of age or older is required at the time of the start of cadet training

Citizenship: Proof of U.S. citizenship, or naturalization documents are required, as well as proof of Florida residency

License: A valid Florida-issued driver’s license is required.

Military Service: If applicant is a veteran of any of the United States armed forces, 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 a background check in order to continue the application process to ensure that candidates have no legal issues that would prevent them from serving. The process is intensive and designed to ensure that candidates have:

  • Never handled an illegal controlled substance
  • Are not on court-ordered probation
  • Never been convicted of a felony offense
  • Never been convicted of domestic violence, misdemeanor or otherwise
  • Never been convicted of perjury or false statement or crime of immorality
  • Never been discharged or resigned under threat of discharge from any law enforcement position
  • Full disclosure of driving or boating under the influence record if any

Academic Credentials: Completion of high school or GED is required. To become a FWC Law Enforcement Officer, cadets in Florida have a background in law enforcement, work with the public, or military experience as work experience, OR 30 semester hours at an accredited college or university

Additional Requirements:

  • State of Florida employment application
  • Supplemental Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission application
  • TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) for non-sworn applicants with a minimum score of 12
  • BAT (Basic Abilities Test) for non-sworn applicants with a minimum score of 79

Being Prepared for Police Academy and Conservation Commission Training

Police Basic Training: Recruit training begins with 568-hours of basic training at the Florida’s police academy. This segment of training includes:

  • Florida criminal law
  • Accident investigation
  • Driving techniques for patrol vehicles, ATVs and marine craft
  • Firearms training
  • First responder procedure
  • Emergency medical procedure
  • Homeland security
  • Information systems
  • Officer survival
  • Laws and practices of arrest, evidence, and search and seizures

Game Warden Training: Following successful Police Basic Training, game warden specific training takes place over the following year and will cover:

  • Florida Division of Fish and Wildlife-specific training and orientation
  • Hunting, fishing, and boating regulations and statutes
  • Boating and hunting accident investigations and reconstruction
  • Emergency search and rescue practice and organizational procedures
  • Performing vessel safety checks
  • Reporting on and ceasing environmental crimes
  • Small boat operations
  • Extensive field training
  • Prosecution procedures for environmental criminals

Training for non-sworn applicants: Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Training Center

Non-sworn applicants will be offered employment and be enrolled for a 19-week basic law enforcement training course. Sworn applicants undergo an 8-week training session that includes:

  • Fish and wildlife conservation laws
  • Land navigation and GPS
  • Water safety survival
  • Man tracking
  • Vessel Operation
  • Species ID

Field Training: After other training components have been successfully completed, 16 weeks of training in partnership with a more senior officer is required prior to start of regular duties

Interview: Candidates will have an oral interview with three or more members of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers during the later stages of the application process

Medical Condition: All candidates shall be in ‘good’ physical health as per Florida state requirements

Hearing: The applicant must be able to hear adequately in long distance, directional and voice conversation situations, as well as with high ambient noise factors

Vision: The applicant must have better than 20/200 vision with both eyes, and corrected to 20/20 with or without corrective lenses or contact lenses. Full, binocular field of vision must be present. Candidates cannot be red/green color blind nor suffer from conditions that result in double vision, lack of depth perception or other disorders that might impact safety or job performance.

Physical Readiness: The applicant must successfully complete a physical readiness test showing that he or she is in excellent physical condition.

  • Swim test – applicants must be able to swim 300 yards in less than 10 minutes in a pool environment
  • Physical Abilities Test – In 6:04 or less, candidates must:
  • Exit a truck/opening a tailgate
  • Run 220 yards
  • Complete an obstacle course
  • Drag a 150 pound human-weight
  • Complete an obstacle course
  • Run 220 yards
  • Dry-fire a weapon six times with each hand
  • Place items in a truck
  • Enter a police-issue vehicle

Psychological Condition: The applicant must be in suitable psychological and emotional health as evaluated and stated on an affidavit to begin the employment process and various phases of training

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications

  • Demonstrate effective use of English including grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and composition; reading and comprehension for oral and verbal communication
  • Demonstrate effective use of math including advanced arithmetic, basic accounting, estimating, and data collection and other business principles
  • Demonstrate knowledge of any additional languages from casual to professional speaking level
  • Knowledge of current principles and practices of habitat resources, law enforcement and wildlife management
  • Proper use of equipment used in hunting, trapping, and fishing
  • Good observation and recall
  • Use, care, and maintenance of firearms, vehicles, (boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, etc.), and other outdoor equipment
  • Public speaking
  • Remain committed to professional development
  • Effectively operate and negotiate a 4-wheel drive vehicle as well as marine craft for patrol and pursuit
  • Effectively use firearms in safety and emergency situations

Game Warden Salaries and Incentives Through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The average starting salary for a game warden with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was $36,223 as of 2017. However, wardens in counties with a higher cost of living earn a higher starting salary:

  • Broward County - $41,222
  • Collier County - $39,223
  • Dade County - $41,222
  • Lee County - $39,223
  • Monroe County - $46,222
  • Palm Beach County - $41,222

Florida offers a significant benefits package for these conservation law enforcement officers that includes:

  • Salary incentives of up to $130 per month for certain academic achievement and/or career development courses
  • Four hours of annual leave accrued biweekly for game wardens employed for the first five years up to 6 hours accrued for officers who have worked more than 10 years
  • State funded retirement of 97%
  • Group health and life insurance subsidized by the state which pays two-thirds of the cost
  • Tax advantaged retirement options
  • College classes tuition free
  • GI Bill for qualified veterans

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

620 S. Meridian St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
Phone: (850) 488-4676

School Programs

ProgramPrograms Offered

Ave Maria University

5050 Ave Maria Blvd, Ave Maria, FL 34142-9505
Phone: (239) 280-2500
  • Biology

Barry University

11300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33161-6695
Phone: (800) 756-6000
  • Biology

Bethune-Cookman University

640 Dr Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3099
Phone: (386) 481-2000
  • Biology

Broward College

111 East Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Phone: (954) 201-7400
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Chipola College

3094 Indian Circle, Marianna, FL 32446-2053
Phone: (850) 526-2761
  • Law Enforcement Administration

City College-Gainesville

7001 N.W. 4th Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32607
Phone: (352) 335-4000
  • Law Enforcement Administration

City College-Miami

9300 S Dadeland Blvd. 2nd Floor, Miami, FL 33156
Phone: (305) 666-9242 x121
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Clearwater Christian College

3400 Gulf to Bay Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33759-4595
Phone: (727) 726-1153 x253
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

College of Central Florida

3001 SW College Rd, Ocala, FL 34474
Phone: (352) 873-5800
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Daytona State College

1200 W. International Speedway Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Phone: (386) 506-3000
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Eastern Florida State College

1519 Clearlake Rd, Cocoa, FL 32922
Phone: (321) 632-1111
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Eckerd College

4200 54th Ave S, Saint Petersburg, FL 33711-4700
Phone: (727) 867-1166
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Environmental Biology

Edward Waters College

1658 Kings Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32209
Phone: (904) 470-8000
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Everglades University

5002 T-Rex Avenue, Suite 100, Boca Raton, FL 33431
Phone: (561) 912-1211 x109
  • Natural Resources, Conservation

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

1500 S Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32307
Phone: (850) 599-3000
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Florida Atlantic University

777 Glades Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991
Phone: (561) 297-3000
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Florida Gateway College

Highway 90 East, Lake City, FL 32025-2007
Phone: (386) 752-1822
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Florida Gulf Coast University

10501 Fgcu Blvd S, Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
Phone: (239) 590-1000
  • Water, Wetlands and Marine Resources Management
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Florida Institute of Technology

150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901-6975
Phone: (321) 674-8000
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Conservation Biology

Florida International University

11200 S. W. 8 Street, Miami, FL 33199
Phone: (305) 348-2000
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Criminal Justice

Florida Keys Community College

5901 College Rd, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-9081
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Florida Memorial University

15800 NW 42 Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054-6199
Phone: (305) 626-3600
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Florida Panhandle Technical College

757 Hoyt Street, Chipley, FL 32428-1618
Phone: (850) 638-1180
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Florida Southern College

111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr, Lakeland, FL 33801-5698
Phone: (863) 680-4111
  • Biology

Florida SouthWestern State College

8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers, FL 33919
Phone: (239) 489-9300
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Security and Protective Services

Florida State College at Jacksonville

501 W State St, Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: (904) 359-5433
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Security and Protective Services

Florida State University

222 S. Copeland Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1037
Phone: (850) 644-2525
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Gulf Coast State College

5230 West U.S. Highway 98, Panama City, FL 32401
Phone: (850) 769-1551
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Hillsborough Community College

39 Columbia Drive, Tampa, FL 33606-3584
Phone: (813) 253-7000
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Hodges University

2655 Northbrooke Drive, Naples, FL 34119-7932
Phone: (239) 513-1122
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Indian River State College

3209 Virginia Ave, Fort Pierce, FL 34981-5596
Phone: (772) 462-4772
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Jacksonville University

2800 University Blvd N, Jacksonville, FL 32211-3394
Phone: (904) 256-8000
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography

Johnson & Wales University-North Miami

1701 NE 127th St, North Miami, FL 33181
Phone: (305) 892-7000
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

1500 NW 49th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
Phone: (954) 776-4476
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Lake-Sumter State College

9501 US Hwy 441, Leesburg, FL 34788-8751
Phone: (352) 787-3747
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Lynn University

3601 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL 33431-5598
Phone: (800) 888-5966
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Miami Dade College

300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132-2204
Phone: (305) 237-8888
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Security and Protective Services

North Florida Community College

325 NW Turner Davis Dr, Madison, FL 32340
Phone: (850) 973-2288
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Northwest Florida State College

100 College Blvd, Niceville, FL 32578-1295
Phone: (850) 678-5111
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Nova Southeastern University

3301 College Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314-7796
Phone: (954) 262-7300
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Water, Wetlands and Marine Resources Management
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Criminal Justice

Palm Beach Atlantic University

901 S. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: (561) 803-2000
  • Biology

Palm Beach State College

4200 Congress Ave, Lake Worth, FL 33461-4796
Phone: (561) 967-7222
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Pasco-Hernando State College

10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey, FL 34654-5199
Phone: (727) 847-2727
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Pensacola State College

1000 College Blvd, Pensacola, FL 32504-8998
Phone: (850) 484-1000
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Polk State College

999 Avenue H NE, Winter Haven, FL 33881-4299
Phone: (863) 297-1000
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Remington College-Heathrow Campus

500 International Parkway, Heathrow, FL 32746
Phone: (877) 253-7152
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Remington College-Tampa Campus

6302 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Ste 400, Tampa, FL 33619
Phone: (813) 935-5700
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Rollins College

1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789-4499
Phone: (407) 646-2000
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography

Saint Johns River State College

5001 Saint Johns Ave, Palatka, FL 32177
Phone: (386) 312-4200
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Saint Leo University

33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665
Phone: (352) 588-8200
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

Santa Fe College

3000 Northwest 83rd Street, Gainesville, FL 32606-6210
Phone: (352) 395-5000
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Seminole State College of Florida

100 Weldon Blvd, Sanford, FL 32773-6199
Phone: (407) 708-4722
  • Law Enforcement Administration

South Florida State College

600 W College Dr, Avon Park, FL 33825-9356
Phone: (863) 453-6661
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Southeastern University

1000 Longfellow Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33801-6034
Phone: (863) 667-5000
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

St Petersburg College

6021 142nd Ave N, Clearwater, FL 33760-2822
Phone: (727) 341-4772
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Security and Protective Services

St Thomas University

16401 NW 37th Ave, Miami Gardens, FL 33054-6459
Phone: (305) 625-6000
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice
  • Security and Protective Services

State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota

5840 26th St W, Bradenton, FL 34207
Phone: (941) 752-5000
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Security and Protective Services

Stetson University

421 N Woodland Blvd, DeLand, FL 32723
Phone: (386) 822-7000
  • Biology

Tallahassee Community College

444 Appleyard Dr, Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895
Phone: (850) 201-6200
  • Law Enforcement Administration

The University of Tampa

401 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606-1490
Phone: (813) 253-3333
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography

The University of West Florida

11000 University Parkway, Pensacola, FL 32514-5750
Phone: (850) 474-2000
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Criminal Justice

University of Central Florida

4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816
Phone: (407) 823-2000
  • Biology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Criminal Justice

University of Florida

Address Unknown, Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone: (352) 392-3261
  • Fishing and Fisheries Sciences and Management
  • Forestry
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Zoology and Animal Biology
  • Ecology

University of Florida-Online

341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St, Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone: (352) 392-1202
  • Biology

University of Miami

University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33146
Phone: (305) 284-2211
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Water, Wetlands and Marine Resources Management
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography

University of North Florida

1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224-7699
Phone: (904) 620-1000
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

University of South Florida-Main Campus

4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620-9951
Phone: (813) 974-2011
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee

8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243-2049
Phone: (941) 359-4200
  • Law Enforcement Administration

University of South Florida-St Petersburg

140 Seventh Ave S., St. Petersburg, FL 33701-9807
Phone: (727) 873-4873
  • Biology

Valencia College

190 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: (407) 299-2187
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Warner University

13895 Hwy 27, Lake Wales, FL 33859-8797
Phone: (863) 638-1426
  • Biology