How to Become a Game Warden in Utah

Utah’s game wardens work for the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources and are known as conservation officers. Utah’s vast and diverse wilderness areas and array of wildlife draw both people who enjoy the state’s amazing natural beauty, as well as more nefarious individuals looking to take advantage of it.

Each officer patrols about 1,500 square miles. While apprehending poachers is a key duty in Utah, they also perform a number of other functions. These officers track wildlife and educate the public about conservation and safe hunting practices. They also work with other law enforcement agencies to investigate wildlife poaching and to help out during emergency situations. This is a job that draws individuals with a passion for the outdoors and an appreciation for the law enforcement duties that help keep Utah’s wilderness pristine.

With many more applicants than positions available, candidates who become familiar with the hiring process are better prepared for success. Read on to learn more about becoming a game warden in Utah.

Utah Game Warden Eligibility Requirements

The ideal job candidate is familiar with Utah’s many natural wonders and has prior experience with law enforcement.

Given the challenges of these positions, candidates must be prepared to demonstrate their knowledge of conservation and law enforcement during a competitive.

Basic Utah Division of Wildlife Job Qualifications

Employment opportunities on the website of the Division of Wildlife. Shown below are the basic eligibility criteria:

Age: 18 years of age or older at the time of academy training

Citizenship: Proof of U.S. citizenship or of permanent resident alien status for those who are eligible and have applied for citizenship. Must be a resident of the state at the time of appointment.

License: A valid Utah-issued driver’s license is required. Individuals must maintain an acceptable driving record.

Military Service: Applicants who are former members of the United States military require ‘Under Honorable Conditions’ discharge documentation.

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. Disqualifying elements include:

  • Having evidence of poor moral choices
  • Convicted of a felony in Utah or any other state
  • Convicted of any offense in any state that would have been a felony if committed in Utah
  • Convicted of any offense which precludes you from carrying a firearm under State or federal law
  • Failed drug testing prior to employment

Academic Credentials: High school diploma or GED is required. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in wildlife or biological sciences, law enforcement or related fields. Having previous work experience in the field of natural resources is an asset.

Additional Requirements: State employment application and a written test for basic reading, writing, and problem-solving skills

Post and Field Training Officer Program

POST Training

13 weeks long and completed at the Salt Lake City Police Academy. It includes such topics as:

  • Canine tracking
  • Defensive tactics
  • Vehicle operations
  • Arrest and pursuit procedures
  • Firearms
  • Laws and regulations
  • Evidence collection and preservation

Field Training Officer Program

3 month curriculum with in-depth conservation officer training, including:

  • State and federal wildlife regulations
  • Technology for the field and office
  • Recreational regulations (primarily fishing, hunting, and boating)
  • Crime scene evidence collection
  • Court procedures and best practices for officers
  • Patrol and pursuit tactics

Interview: Candidates will have a face-to-face panel interview with a staff biologist and four conservation officers

Medical Condition: The applicant must be examined by a licensed physician to ensure that they are acceptable health and able to meet the demands of the role.

Hearing: The applicant must have hearing adequate to perform all the essential duties and functions of a Warden, including long distance, directional and voice conversation hearing.

Vision: Visual acuity correctable to 20/20 in each eye. Normal binocular color vision with a full field of periphery is required.

Physical Readiness: The applicant must be in sound physical condition and able to swim. Applicants must successfully complete each component of the physical readiness testing which includes:

  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Muscular endurance
  • Swimming
  • Strength and flexibility

Psychological Condition: Applicants will participate in a psychological assessment to determine overall indicators of mental health.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Desired Qualifications

  • Required to carry and use various firearms and weaponry
  • Capable of patrolling on foot, on horseback, by plane, boats, and in a variety of vehicles
  • Demonstrate an aptitude for collecting and preserving evidence, writing reports, and testifying in court.
  • Ability to promote and coordinate hunter education programs
  • Ability to collect and report information on the conditions of fish and wildlife and their habitat
  • Willingness to enthusiastically and professionally represent the agency at Utah schools and meetings of special interest groups
  • Effectively operate and negotiate a vehicle on rough terrain
  • Professional development or college courses in natural resource management, criminology, psychology, business management or sciences
  • Ability to use word processing, spreadsheet, database and email software in a networked environment
  • Mechanical aptitude and logical thinking.
  • Ability to use professional level English grammar, spelling, punctuation, vocabulary, and composition; reading and comprehension
  • Ability to use foundational math skills including advanced arithmetic, payroll/accounts receivable, and estimation
  • Additional languages are an asset

Salaries for Conservation Officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The Utah Department of Human Resources reported that conservation officers for the state’s DNR Division of Wildlife Resources are subject to an 18-month probationary period before being classified under the “Conservation Officer I” designation.  The Human Resources agency reports the range of salaries paid to conservation officers at both levels as of 2017, with differences within each range being accounted for by factors that include location pay, time in service, specialized skills and education:


  • Conservation Officer I: $32,115 – $50,918
  • Conservation Officer II: $33,717 – $57,782


  • Conservation Officer I: $15.44 – $24.48
  • Conservation Officer II: $16.21 – $27.78



Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Box 146301
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301
Phone: (801) 537-3112

School Programs

ProgramPrograms Offered

Brigham Young University-Provo

Main Campus, Provo, UT 84602
Phone: (801) 422-4636
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Zoology and Animal Biology
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Conservation Biology

Dixie State University

225 S 700 E, Saint George, UT 84770-3876
Phone: (435) 652-7500
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Salt Lake Community College

4600 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84123
Phone: (801) 957-4111
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Snow College

150 E College Ave, Ephraim, UT 84627
Phone: (435) 283-7000
  • Natural Resources and Conservation
  • Biology
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Southern Utah University

351 West University Blvd, Cedar City, UT 84720
Phone: (435) 586-7700
  • Biology

University of Utah

201 Presidents Circle, ROOM 201, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9008
Phone: (801) 581-7200
  • Biology

Utah State University

Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-1400
Phone: (435) 797-1000
  • Natural Resources Management and Policy
  • Fishing and Fisheries Sciences and Management
  • Forestry
  • Wildlife and Wildlands Science and Management
  • Biology
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Utah Valley University

800 W University Parkway, Orem, UT 84058-5999
Phone: (801) 863-8000
  • Biology
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Law Enforcement Administration

Weber State University

3850 Dixon Parkway Dr. Dept. 1031, Ogden, UT 84408-1031
Phone: (801) 626-6000
  • Botany, Plant Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Zoology and Animal Biology
  • Criminal Justice

Westminster College

1840 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84105
Phone: (801) 484-7651
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice