How to Become a Game Warden in Mississippi

Mississippi’s game wardens work for the state’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and are known as conservation officers. They focus on law enforcement, environmental advocacy, helping landowners manage natural resources on their properties, and protecting wildlife – especially endangered species.

Conservation officers in Mississippi have helped to restore the population of the once endangered American alligator, and now monitor a population of between 32,000 and 38,000 alligators that live in the state. The state’s alligators are considerably larger than those in other states with 20% of the reptiles exceeding 10 feet in length.

Successes such as this highlight the critical role that conservation officers play in Mississippi.

The limited number of conservation officer positions means these jobs are in high demand, and competition for them is fierce. Applicants who understand what the job involves and who are familiar with the selection process are more likely to succeed.

Mississippi Game Warden Eligibility Requirements

Mississippi’s conservation officers have played a lead role in helping to preserve the state’s stunning natural wonders and animal habitats. More than half of the state remains a forested habitat for birds and game, and the Mississippi River is the single largest freshwater habitat for fish in the U.S.

Individuals with a passion for protecting the state’s wilderness riches and working with the public as a government official are ideally suited to become a conservation officer.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Basic Job Qualifications

The minimum qualifications to apply to become a conservation officer are shown below. The website for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks provide a full listing of the requirements.

Age: 21 years of age or older is required at the time of appointment

Citizenship: Proof of U.S. Citizenship or naturalization documents are required. Proof of Mississippi residency may be required.

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

Military Service: Veterans and military personnel require ‘Honorable Discharge’ documents.

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 extensive fingerprint background check with polygraph in order to continue the application process. This is to ensure that candidates have:

  • A clear indication of being drug free
  • Good moral character
  • Not presently been placed on probation by court order
  • Not been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude
  • Never been convicted of a felony offense
  • No record of domestic violence, misdemeanor or otherwise
  • Not been convicted of perjury or false statement
  • Never been discharged or resigned under threat of discharge from any law enforcement position
  • No misdemeanor convictions for moral turpitude or wildlife violations
  • Candidates will be subject to mandatory drug screening.

Academic Credentials: Completion of high school or GED is required. Additionally, 64 semester hours from an accredited four-year college/university OR Associate’s degree from an accredited two-year college OR Graduation from Mississippi Law Officer Enforcement Training Academy as well as five years law enforcement experience.

Additional Requirements:

  • Certification as a law enforcement officer by the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Commission while an employee is on ‘conditional’ status
  • Online employment application to the state’s Human Resources department website
  • Written skills test, focusing on professional English, report writing and mathematics

Basic Law Enforcement and Conservation Officer Training

Basic Law Enforcement Training

At the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy, 10 week course focusing on:

  • Mississippi law
  • Search and seizure procedures
  • Basic firearms safety and practice

Conservation Officer Training

11-week module focuses on:

  • Firearms
  • GPS/Land Navigation
  • Water Survival
  • Wilderness First Aid and Tactical Medicine
  • Hunting Incident and Boating Accident Investigation
  • Search and Rescue Tactics
  • Boating and Field Sobriety
  • Wildlife Forensics
  • Officer Safety and Control Tactics
  • Commercial Fishing Enforcement

Interview: Candidates will have a formal panel interview with senior officers and human resources personnel to evaluate experience, knowledge, and demeanor.

Medical evaluation: Medical personnel must evaluate a candidate to ensure they are in ‘good’ health.

Hearing: The applicant must be able to demonstrate good hearing with or without hearing aids

Vision: The applicant must have good corrected or uncorrected binocular vision, and have color vision consistent with the demands of the job.

Physical Readiness: The applicant must successfully complete a physical readiness test showing that he or she is able to complete performance to minimum state standards.

Psychological Condition: Candidates must have sound psychological and emotional health suitable for their potential job.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications

  • Demonstrate effective use of English- the various aspects of English communication (oral and verbal communication)
  • Demonstrate effective use of mathematics including advanced arithmetic, basic accounting, estimating, and data collection
  • Demonstrate skills in additional languages.
  • Knowledge of current principles and practices of habitat resources, law enforcement and wildlife management
  • Computer spreadsheet, word processing, email, GIS, and database knowledge in a networked environment is required; the state uses proprietary programs for training and information delivery
  • Establish and maintain effective interpersonal relationships within and outside of the department
  • Remain committed to professional development
  • Effectively operate and negotiate a 4-wheel drive vehicle on rugged terrain
  • Effectively utilize boats, snowmobiles, and ATVs for patrol and pursuit
  • Demonstrate effective use of firearms.
  • Professional development or college courses in psychology, law enforcement, sociology, or natural resources management

Salaries for Conservation Officers with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

Conservation officers with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks can advance through four levels after initially being hired and eventually achieve senior officer status. There is a wide range of salaries within each of these levels, which reflects how everything from additional education to working for the department in a specialized role can influence an officer’s earning potential.

The Mississippi State Personnel Board provides ranges showing the minimum and maximum salaries for all five levels as of 2017:

  • Conservation Officer I: $36,223 - $63,389
  • Conservation Officer II: $38,888 - $68,053
  • Conservation Officer III: $41,308 - $72,290
  • Conservation Officer IV: $43,855 - $76,746
  • Conservation Officer Senior: $47,933 - $83,882


Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

210 East Capital Street, Suite 800
Jackson MS 39201
Phone: (601)359-1406

School Programs

ProgramPrograms Offered

Alcorn State University

1000 ASU Dr Ste 359, Alcorn State, MS 39096-7500
Phone: (601) 877-6100
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Belhaven University

1500 Peachtree St, Jackson, MS 39202
Phone: (601) 968-5940
  • Biology
  • Ecology

Blue Mountain College

201 W Main St, Blue Mountain, MS 38610-9509
Phone: (662) 685-4771
  • Biology

Coahoma Community College

3240 Friars Point Rd, Clarksdale, MS 38614
Phone: (662) 627-2571
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Copiah-Lincoln Community College

1001 Co-Lin Lane, Wesson, MS 39191
Phone: (601) 643-5101
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Delta State University

Hwy 8 West, Cleveland, MS 38733
Phone: (662) 846-3000
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

East Mississippi Community College

1512 Kemper Street, Scooba, MS 39358-0158
Phone: (662) 476-5000
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology

Hinds Community College

505 East Main Street, Raymond, MS 39154
Phone: (601) 857-5261
  • Forestry
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Holmes Community College

#1 Hill St, Goodman, MS 39079
Phone: (662) 472-2312
  • Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Protective Services
  • Forestry
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology

Itawamba Community College

602 W Hill Street, Fulton, MS 38843-1099
Phone: (601) 862-8000
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Jackson State University

1440 J R Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39217
Phone: (601) 979-2121
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Meridian Community College

910 Hwy 19 N, Meridian, MS 39307-5801
Phone: (601) 483-8241 x799
  • Security and Protective Services

Millsaps College

1701 N State St, Jackson, MS 39210-0001
Phone: (601) 974-1000
  • Biology

Mississippi College

200 South Capitol Street, Clinton, MS 39058
Phone: (601) 925-3000
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Mississippi Delta Community College

Hwy 3 and Cherry St, Moorhead, MS 38761
Phone: (662) 246-6322
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

51 Main Street, Perkinston, MS 39573
Phone: (866) 735-1122
  • Biology

Mississippi State University

Lee Boulevard, Mississippi State, MS 39762
Phone: (662) 325-2323
  • Natural Resources, Conservation
  • Forestry
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology

Mississippi University for Women

1100 College Street, Columbus, MS 39701
Phone: (662) 329-4750
  • Biology

Mississippi Valley State University

14000 Highway 82 West, Itta Bena, MS 38941-1400
Phone: (662) 254-9041
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Criminal Justice

Northeast Mississippi Community College

101 Cunningham Blvd, Booneville, MS 38829
Phone: (662) 728-7751
  • Forestry
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Northwest Mississippi Community College

4975 Hwy 51 N, Senatobia, MS 38668-1714
Phone: (662) 562-3200
  • Forestry
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Rust College

150 Rust Ave, Holly Springs, MS 38635
Phone: (601) 252-8000
  • Biology

Tougaloo College

500 W County Line Rd, Tougaloo, MS 39174
Phone: (601) 977-7700
  • Biology

University of Mississippi

Oxford, Mississippi, University, MS 38677-1848
Phone: (662) 915-7211
  • Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

University of Southern Mississippi

118 College Drive # 0001, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
Phone: (601) 266-1000
  • Biology
  • Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
  • Criminal Justice

William Carey University

498 Tuscan Ave, Hattiesburg, MS 39401-5499
Phone: (601) 318-6051
  • Biology