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What Are The Requirements For Becoming A Wildlife Officer?
California Outdoors 12-22-21
Wildlife officer cadets are shown during a socially distant graduation ceremony at the CDFW academy. CDFW Photo

Becoming A Wildlife Officer

Q: I’m interested in becoming a wildlife officer. What are the requirements to become one and how does the timing of applications work?

A: We’re happy to hear from anyone interested in a career as a wildlife officer! The next application cutoff date is March 1, 2022, so mark your calendar and conduct a self-evaluation to see if the career is a good fit for you. The first thing you should do is ensure you meet our minimum qualifications. The most stringent minimum qualification is the education requirement. To be a wildlife officer, you must complete 60 college units with 18 of those coming from a related field (see below). However, you may apply with just 30 units of college, 18 of which must be earned in a related field. In that case, you will have to continue taking college courses during the application/background process to meet the 60-unit requirement by the time you start the academy.

The newly updated related fields are accounting, agriculture, animal science, anthropology, astronomy, biological sciences, botany, business, chemistry, computers, communication, conservation, criminal justice, ecology, economics, English, entomology, environmental management, environmental science, environmental studies, ethnic studies, fisheries or wildlife management, forestry, geography, geology, herpetology, history, law enforcement, life science, mammalogy, marine biology, marketing, statistics, military transfer credits, multidisciplinary studies, natural resources conservation, oceanography, ornithology, physics, police science, psychology, plant taxonomy, political science, public administration, social studies, sociology and all social sciences, water quality management, wilderness survival and zoology.

Other minimum qualifications include:

Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien who has applied for citizenship (you must be a citizen at time of appointment).

Possess a valid driver license.

No felony convictions or convictions of any offense which precludes you from carrying a firearm under state or federal law.

Be of sound physical condition, able to pass the Physical Abilities Test, a medical evaluation and a psychological evaluation.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently updated cut-off dates for the application/hiring process. The new cut-off dates are March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1. This means you have more opportunities to start the background/hiring process.

CDFW also made a recent change to its exam process, the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLETB). The PELLETB tests an applicant’s knowledge of basic grammar and spelling as well as the ability to read, write and understand the English language. CDFW does offer the PELLETB test. However, applicants are encouraged to take the PELLETB test and obtain their “T-Score” at an agency/department/academy where they live. The PELLETB test can be taken every 30 days which gives applicants the opportunity to improve their T-Score. Your PELLETB T-Score will be accepted if you have taken it within three years of your application date and received a score of 42 or greater. You will also need to provide proof (usually an official letter from the proctor) of your PELLETB T-Score when you submit your application.

Applicants who apply before the cut-off dates of March 1, June 1 and December 1 need to provide their own T-Score, or their application will be rejected. Applicants who submit applications without a PELLETB T-score for the September 1 cut-off date will be invited to the November PELLETB administration, put on by CDFW.

The following documents are required when applying:

A completed state examination/employment application (STD 678)

Unofficial transcripts

Criminal Record Supplemental Questionnaire

PELLETB T-Score (for the March 1, June 1 and December 1 deadlines)

You can submit the required documents through the following email address (emailed documents are preferred):

You can also mail a copy of all the required documents to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Attention: HR - Exam Unit

P.O. Box 944209

Sacramento, CA 94244

To be considered for the next hiring cycle, you must turn in your application prior to March 1, 2022. Please contact our law enforcement recruiter, Lt. Perry Schultz, at for further information.


New Crab Regulations

Q: I understand there are new crab regulations including gear marking requirements for crab traps. Do I need the double buoy setup if I’m using crab rings to catch crab in northern California?

A: We appreciate your interest in keeping up to date on recreational crabbing regulations. The new gear marking requirements only apply to crab traps as defined in regulation, and do not apply if you are using a ring/hoop net. See California Code of Regulations, Title 14, section 29.80(c). The regulations are available on CDFW’s website.

For more information, including frequently asked questions regarding the new regulations, please visit CDFW’s recreational crab fishery webpage.



Q: How many crime tips does CDFW receive each year through CalTIP?

A: CalTIP, which stands for Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters, was started in 1981 to serve as a mechanism for the public to report wildlife crime tips confidentially or anonymously. From 2000 to 2020, calls have increased nearly 70 percent to over 6,000 calls per year.

Reporting through CalTIP allows the public to be additional eyes and ears for CDFW’s wildlife officers in helping protect against those who illegally harm the state’s natural resources. There are four ways to submit a crime tip through CalTIP:

Call 1-888-334-2258.

Text “CALTIP” and a message to 847411.

Use the CALTIP smartphone app.

Use the “Report a Violation Online” link at CalTIP online.

For more information, visit CalTIP online or watch the Advanced Hunter Education CalTIP webinar (Video) on CDFW’s YouTube page.


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