Fish and Game Wardens: Salary Overview
Fish and game wardens enforce laws and regulations pertaining to fishing and hunting and prevent fish and game law violations.
They patrol an assigned area and investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife.
Some fish and game wardens are employed by fish, parks, and wildlife departments at the state level while others work at a federal level and are employed as special agents by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Many fish and game wardens have to work overtime and they often work during weekends or holidays.
Their schedule is also dependent upon the behavior of wildlife because they spend many hours observing and tracking animal populations levels.
Some fish and game wardens patrol large areas and may work during nighttime to make observations or to respond to animal injuries and other emergencies.
They wear a uniform and may carry firearms and protective equipment.
This profession can be quite dangerous because fish and game wardens may have to respond to situations that involve people who are emotionally upset, violent, or injured.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for fish and game wardens in the United States was $57,500 as of May 2019.
However, salaries vary depending on the experience level, the state, and the level of government spending.
The report published by BLS shows that the lowest 10 percent of all workers in this profession earned less than $33,930 per year while the top 10 percent made more than $80,540.
Fish and Game Warden Salary by Industry
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, most fish and game wardens worked for state governments- a field where they were remunerated, on average with $58,320 annually.
Some fish and game wardens also work for local governments and their reported average annual wage was $50,410.
As mentioned before, salaries for this profession vary widely depending on the state of employment.
According to BLS, the top-paying state for this profession in 2019 was Rhode Island- a state where fish and game wardens held only a few jobs but were paid, on average, with $79,440-significantly more than the median across all states.
A close second is California with an average annual wage of $79,220.
Other top-paying states that offer fish and game wardens salaries that are above the $70,000 mark are Illinois, Washington, and Indiana.
The state with the highest level of employment for this occupation was Texas- where workers who enforce fishing and hunting regulations were paid on average with $66,210- also more than the average across all states.
However, fish and game wardens in Florida- the state with the second-highest level of employment for this occupation- reported salaries that average at $28,690- about half the national average.
Lower than average salaries were also reported by fish and game wardens in Arizona, South Dakota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Vancouver- states where the salaries for this occupation averaged at less than $50,000 per year.
The metropolitan area with the highest employment level for this occupation is Oklahoma City, a region where the average annual wage for this profession was $44,260 as of May 2019.
The New York-Newark-Jersey City region is the metropolitan area with the second-highest employment level for fish and game wardens.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in this area, the average annual wage for this profession was $65,490.
Salaries are also influenced by other factors, including education and experience level.
Most states require fish and game wardens to have at least two years of college work but some require a four-year college degree.
Attending the training academy for 3 to 12 months is another requirement in some states.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Fish and Game Wardens. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.