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Volunteer Recreational Safety Instructor

What is the process to become an instructor?

  1. Complete and submit the instructor application in Volunteer Manager at
    (Applicants are required to complete the entire application process within six months of submitting their application, unless an extension has been approved. To request an application extension, you must send an email to and provide justification for the extension. The Recreational Safety, Education and Enforcement Section (RSEES) administrator or their designee will review the extension request.)
  2. Once the completed application is submitted and received, a background investigation will be completed.
  3. If the applicant passes the background investigation, an information packet will be mailed to the applicant containing the instructor test, test study materials, and policies and procedures manual. *Hunter, bow, and trapper applicants must also complete the mentor process. See below for details.
  4. The applicant completes the instructor test and returns it in the provided self-addressed stamped envelope. RSEES will grade the instructor test. A minimum score of 90% is required to pass. Re-testing is allowed at the option of RSEES administrator.
  5. Once the applicant has passed (and the mentor process has been approved for hunter, bow or trapper only), RSEES will notify the applicant they have successfully completed the process and will be certified as an instructor. RSEES will mail the newly certified instructor their instructor packet and email them their Event Manager login information.
  6. To become an advanced hunter education instructor (bow hunter and trapper education), applicants must be a hunter education instructor first. In addition, the applicant must also have completed the student course for the discipline they would like to teach.

ORV instructor application requirements

  1. All ORV instructor applicants are required to attend the mandatory ORV instructor academy before certification. During this training you will also earn your ORV student safety certificate.
  2. The next ORV academy will be in spring/summer of 2023.
  3. All ORV applicants will be contacted when the 2023 ORV academy is scheduled with the dates, location, and registration information.
  4. We recommend applying to the ORV program in spring 2023; you will be contacted after a background check has been completed by DNR staff. 

*Mentor process

For hunter, bow and trapper applicants to complete the certification process, they must seek out a current active certified instructor in the discipline they are applying for as a mentor. The applicant must student teach with the mentor and demonstrate the skills necessary to become an instructor. Applicants needing assistance in finding a qualified mentor can email RSEES at

The hunter, bow or trapper applicant will email their chosen mentor's contact information to RSEES at prior to the start of the mentorship process. RSEES will email the mentor a link to an online form to complete.

The mentor will be required to approve each of the following criteria for the applicant and also record the date(s) of the class(es) the applicant student taught on the online form.

  • Knowledge and understanding of policy and procedure
  • Demonstrate how to set up and teach a class/field day
  • Knows the program material and has the platform skills to teach
  • Navigate Event Manager:
    • post classes
    • record instructor hours
    • order student materials
    • pass/fail students

When the applicant is proficient in the above, the mentor will complete and submit the online mentor form. RSEES will review the submitted form for approval.


RSEES shall conduct the recertification of all active instructors as needed and provide additional detail prior to the recertification process. Instructors who do not complete the recertification process will be considered as voluntarily resigning from the program and will be removed as an instructor. No further action will be taken by RSEES.

Individuals whose instructor certification has lapsed for any reason may apply to become an instructor by following the process outlined in this policy.


An individual desiring certification as a volunteer instructor must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be a high school graduate or possess a graduate equivalency diploma (GED).
  • Have no felony convictions.
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions within the past three (3) years.
  • Have no Natural Resource Law convictions that could result in the revocation of license privileges within the last five (5) years.  Other convictions of Natural Resource Law violations are subject to review and may result in the rejection of any application.
  • Have a background which is free of any negative implication or activity which would bring discredit to the recreational safety program(s) as determined by Recreational Safety, Education, and Enforcement Section (RSEES) staff.
  • Have and maintain high moral character and ethical standards as determined by RSEES staff.
  • Be a graduate of the appropriate student recreational safety course.

Why volunteers are necessary

  • There are not enough conservation officers to conduct training in every community in the state. Although conservation officers are active in the recreational safety programs, they generally do not have enough time to conduct entire training classes along with their many other duties.
  • Volunteers provide skills or expertise otherwise not available within the agency. Examples of such skills include professional teaching experience, specialty safety training and specialty outdoor recreation training.
  • Volunteers are often well-established local citizens who can help create community interest in the course. They usually have extensive local contacts, are aware of community needs and can facilitate setting up local classes.

What the program offers the instructors

  • It provides the instructor with the means of helping make a safe sport even safer.
  • It provides the instructor with an avenue of input into the statewide recreational safety programs.
  • It offers the volunteer an opportunity to help others and serve the community.
  • It provides the instructor with the means to help ensure the future of outdoor recreation in Michigan.
  • It provides the instructor an income tax deduction which may be claimed, provided proper records are maintained.

The value recreational safety programs provide to the public

  • The programs develop hunters, boaters, snowmobilers and ORV riders who act safely and responsibly.
  • The programs help to reduce outdoor recreation-related accidents and wildlife violations.
  • The programs encourage recognition of outdoor sports as viable recreational activities.
  • The program provides an understanding of the importance of outdoor recreation and conserving our natural resources.