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DNR extends conservation officer job posting to March 31


In an effort to stay competitive with other law enforcement agencies that are hiring throughout the state, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has extended its application deadline for the 2022 conservation officer recruit school to March 31.

"As with most industries, it's been a challenge recruiting qualified applicants in the current economy. We're hoping this extension will provide prospective applicants additional opportunities to review our hiring and job information and training videos, and to reach out to our recruiters with questions before they apply," said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division.

Michigan conservation officers are fully sworn law enforcement officers who protect Michigan's natural resources, the environment, and the health and safety of the public through effective law enforcement and education. As trained emergency first responders, conservation officers also respond to general criminal and life-threatening situations in the counties they patrol.

What sets conservation officer training apart from other law enforcement training is the range of additional knowledge and techniques that recruits will learn during the academy, including specialized identification and education related to fish, game, trapping and waterfowl, and operation of marine vessels, off-road vehicles and snowmobiles - all of which COs use in their day-to-day work patrolling outdoor areas and often challenging terrain.

"We often hear from people about how being a conservation officer is their dream job," Wicklund said. "Now is the time for those people. We're looking for go-getters with excellent communication skills who want to make a difference in their communities."

Academy details

The DNR plans to offer two recruit school academies this year - a shorter, hybrid academy for people who are already certified/certifiable through the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, and the traditional 23-week academy for those not yet MCOLES-licensed.

The 23-week recruit school academy will take place from July through December at the Michigan State Police Training Academy in Lansing, and will include off-site training locations.

To successfully apply, candidates must complete and attach their passing scores for the MCOLES physical fitness test and the National Testing Network entry-level law enforcement exam.

Upcoming MCOLES physical fitness test locations include:

  • Grand Rapids Community College.
  • Macomb Community College.
  • Oakland Community College.
  • Delta College.
  • Wayne County Regional Police Academy.
  • West Shore Community College.
  • Kellogg Community College.

Other important things to know

All applicants must be at least 21 years old by the time they graduate from the academy, have a clean criminal history, be able to legally possess a firearm in the state of Michigan, and pass a thorough background check, as well as medical and psychological testing. A college degree is not required.  

During the academy, recruits will become state of Michigan employees and receive biweekly paychecks and earn benefits that include medical, dental and vision coverage and the opportunity to participate in a 401(k) plan.

Additional benefits for military veterans

The DNR Law Enforcement Division is a proud and certified Silver Level Veteran-Friendly Employer, a program of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency .

Veterans and active service members receive additional annual leave if they turn in their DD214 discharge papers for active time up to five years. They may also use active service from their DD214 to qualify for longevity pay based on years of service. The DNR follows Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act guidelines for military deployments and offers supplemental pay during deployments. Medical benefits apply during deployments for DNR employees and family.

Veterans and veteran spouses are highly encouraged to apply for this unique job opportunity to protect Michigan's natural resources and public safety.

Want to learn more?

Explore these DNR conservation officer training videos for a look at the snowmobile, firearm, off-road vehicle, water safety, first aid, and search and rescue instruction and hands-on learning that all recruits receive.  

When you're ready to apply, take the next step and talk with a recruiter in your area! Get more details on the academy and officers' daily work life at

Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

Officers: Interested applicants are encouraged to join the ranks of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The DNR has extended its job application deadline for the 2022 conservation officer recruit school academy until March 31.

Contact: F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, 906-284-1933