From: Aaron Kahre
Assistant training coordinator
DNR Enforcement Division
Q: I’m interested in becoming a conservation officer. What steps should I take to pursue this career?
A: Being a conservation officer is a challenging and rewarding career, offering tremendous opportunities to advance professionally. You get to work outside in a variety of conditions, patrol from specialized vehicles, and help protect the state’s natural resources. Conservation officers are licensed peace officers.
Licensing generally requires a two- or four-year law enforcement or criminal justice degree, although there are certificate courses for those who have a degree in another field. Once the education requirements are met, you’re eligible to take the licensing exam.
We average over 700 applicants each time we open the hiring process. You’ll be a more competitive candidate if you’re involved in local conservation clubs or are a volunteer firearms safety, ATV or snowmobile instructor. The DNR also offers a number of seasonal internships, which help to boost your resume as well.
Candidates who are hired by the DNR must then complete the 14-week Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley, followed by 16 weeks of field training.
We also have a CO Prep program where candidates with a four-year degree and no law enforcement experience or training are hired and put through an intensive law enforcement academy to become licensed as peace officers.
Becoming a conservation officer takes dedication and commitment, both valued traits for the job. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get hired the first time around. This career is definitely worth the wait!
You can find more information on employment and internships at:www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/index.html.