Michigan DNR hiring conservation officers for January 2025 training academy

If you or someone you know has dreamed of a career among the ranks of the state’s conservation officers, listen up: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for the training academy that starts in January 2025.

This job posting will close Thursday, May 23, at 11:59 p.m.

Conservation officers are fully licensed law enforcement officers who protect Michigan’s natural and historic resources through effective law enforcement and education. Patrolling every county of the state, they ensure people are safely and legally hunting, fishing and recreating. COs use off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, boats and other equipment to patrol rural and urban areas that include trails, forests and waterways. They also are first responders during natural disasters and other life-threatening situations.

“We are a highly trained agency with a diverse skill set that allows us to accomplish DNR Law Enforcement’s unique mission,” said acting Sgt. Kyle Bucholtz. “However, we are always looking to build on that, which begins with the next academy. We are constantly searching for proactive applicants who are willing to push themselves into unfamiliar territory and aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone. We have excellent instructors who will train recruits on the skills they need to be safe and successful.” 

Academy requirements, preparation

Applicants must meet the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement licensing standards and be at least 21 years of age by the time they graduate from the training academy July 3, 2025.

Recruits will begin the 26-week academy Sunday, Jan. 5, at the Michigan State Police Training Academy located in Lansing.

Previous law enforcement, fishing or hunting experience or a college education are not required to become a conservation officer. Recruits will learn everything they need to be successful during the academy and additional field training.

“The best thing you can do during the application process and throughout the academy is to be honest with yourself and leave your ego at the door,” said CO Griffin Korican, who graduated from Training Academy No. 11 in 2022. “Push yourself while preparing for the academy and continue with that mindset throughout the 26 weeks.”

As State of Michigan employees, recruits will receive biweekly paychecks while having the option to collect benefits. Lodging, meals, uniforms and other essential supplies are provided at no cost.

You can learn more about what COs do by watching “Wardens” (airing on the Outdoor Channel) or exploring the DNR’s CO Skills and Training YouTube playlist.

The Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division is a veteran-friendly employer and is committed to protecting Michigan’s natural resources, the environment, and the health and safety of the public through effective law enforcement and education.

Learn more about the CO academy, hiring and training at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

Conservation officer recruits learn how to conduct a necropsy – a procedure to determine how an animal was killed – during the DNR’s 2022 training academy.