Release #158-07
Dec. 21, 2007
For Information Contact:
Jerry Feaser
[email protected]

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that the agency is beginning to recruit applicants for its 28th Class of Wildlife Conservation Officer Cadets, which is slated to begin in April 2009.

The application process is tentatively set to run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 27, 2008, or until 900 applications are received, whichever occurs first. Applications are available from the Civil Service Commission.  However, no applications will be accepted until the test announcement is issued from the state Civil Service Commission.

Once the actual date has been established, it will be posted on the Game Commission website ( under “Employment” section in the left-hand column of the homepage.  Announcements also may be viewed on the State Civil Service Commission’s website (, click on “Job Opportunities,” then select “Law Enforcement, Investigation and Safety,” and scroll down to the listing for “Wildlife Conservation Officer Trainee.”

“Every time the agency holds a class, we receive thousands of applications from Pennsylvanians interested in joining the ranks of those who stand to protect, preserve and promote the state’s wildlife resources and its hunting and trapping heritage,” Roe said.  “Because there are so many people seeking work with the Game Commission, the state Civil Service Commission instituted a cut-off point for the number of applications that will be accepted.”

Wildlife Conservation Officers are covered by the Civil Service Act of Pennsylvania. Applicants for this position must be in excellent physical condition, have knowledge of hunting and outdoor activities, and be able to maintain an effective working relationship with associates and the general public.

Employees in this classification are selected and appointed following a competitive examination conducted by the State Civil Service Commission. Officers begin their careers as Cadets assigned to the Ross Leffler School of Conservation, the Game Commission’s in-service training school located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Wildlife Conservation Officer Cadet classes are periodically recruited as necessary to maintain the complement of field personnel.

Applicants must be: a resident of Pennsylvania; have a high school diploma or G.E.D. equivalency; at least 21 years of age by April 1, 2009; possess a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license; and pass competitive written and oral examinations administered by the Civil Service Commission.  Those interested in enrolling also must have possessed a hunting or furtaking license for two license years as of Feb. 27, 2008.

Any offer of employment is conditional upon successful completion of medical, vision, hearing, physical, strength, stress, agility and swimming tests, which include swimming for 100 yards and treading water for five minutes.

A confidential pre-employment background and character investigation will be completed on all applicants considered for appointment.

After being accepted for employment, Wildlife Conservation Officer Cadets are required to complete an intensive 50-week training program conducted at the Game Commission Training School.

Currently, cadets are paid $29,126 annually and receive a standard Commonwealth employee benefits package. Lodging and meals are provided at the School at no charge.

During weekdays, cadets are required to reside at the school. Weekends are generally free of duty and cadets may return to their permanent residences. Housing accommodations for the families of cadets are not available. Absences may be granted only under emergency conditions or as the training schedule may permit.

Major subject areas of instruction include: wildlife management; law enforcement; principles and methods; wildlife laws and regulations; land management practices; public relations and conservation education; firearms training and unarmed self-defense; and agency administrative procedures.  In addition to classroom studies, the training program includes temporary field assignments with experienced officers. Field training provides cadets with practical experience in law enforcement and other duties performed by Wildlife Conservation Officers. Cadets are reimbursed for authorized expenses incurred on these assignments.

Upon successfully completing the training program, cadets are promoted to the position of Wildlife Conservation Officer and are assigned to fill vacancies throughout the Commonwealth. The current annual starting salary for this position is $37,201.  Wildlife Conservation Officers are responsible for administering a wide variety of Commission programs within an assigned district of about 350 square miles. Primary duties include law enforcement, responding to wildlife conflicts, conservation education, and administration of the Hunter-Trapper Education program. Officers also are responsible for supervising and training part-time Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officers.

The Game Commission provides all equipment necessary for the performance of duties including a desk, filing cabinet, computer, and vehicle equipped with a two-way radio. Officers work from their residences and are reimbursed for rental of office space. Uniforms and sidearm also are provided and are required to be worn in a prescribed manner consistent with grooming regulations.

Wildlife Conservation Officers work under the supervision of a Regional Director and supervisory staff. Officers generally work 40 hours per week and are eligible for overtime under certain conditions. Hours of work vary and often include nights, weekends and holidays.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is an equal opportunity employer.

Facts from the Pennsylvania Game Commission: In 1930, Ross Leffler, the then-president of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners, proposed the establishment of a training school for “Game Protectors,” as they were called at that time.  When the training school opened its doors in Brockway, Jefferson County, in 1932, it was the first such conservation officer training school in the world and served as a model for other states.  From 1932 until 1935, the Ross Leffler School of Conservation offered in-service training for Game Protectors.  The Commission voted to make the school a permanent facility and enrolled its first class of Cadets in 1936, and continued training new classes at this facility until 1986.  In 1987, the training school was moved to the Harrisburg headquarters, which had just opened the doors to its current facility in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County.

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