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cribbageboy

College for a "future" Conservation Officer

22 posts in this topic

I am a senior in high school, and am having a hard time deciding which college to go to. I would love nothing more to become a Conservation Officer, or at the very least do something in the wildlife management field. I have recieved several letters from Bemidji State University, and Itasca Community College, but are there any other choices. ICC offers a three year program, with the law enforcment being done in Hibbing. I like both ideas, but i just cant decide. If there are any CO's on here, your info would be greatly appreciated.

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CB,

Fon Du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, Mn. has an excellent Law Enforcement program.

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Thanks, I'll check that one out. Never heard of it.

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check out northland (thief river falls) too

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Well if your interested I wanted to be a CO also. I went to University of Minnesota Crookston. They have a Natural Resources with Law Enforcement program. Law Enforcement classes are ITV (tv) classes through Bemidji State University. Bemidji has a heck of a Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice program. When you are done with UMC you still need to go to Alex Tech for Skills. I have had friends go BSU way and UMC way. The guys going through BSU like it because if they want to get more in the law side they are qualified. UMC was a fun campus but some of the teachers were Richard Craniums but you'll get that in every campus. But you will need to be POST certified if you wana work in MN which is the only state to mandate that which means your a sheriff driving a pickup pretty much.

The conservation officer around the Perham/Ottertail area was formerly a Nebraska State Patrolmen. He told me he thought it would be cool and they were wanting a Cop that they could teach Natural Resources. So you could get just your 2 yr degree at a tech school and hope to try to get in or go your 4 yr degree and do the speedy skills the summer after you graduate. Alex tech has a special class that once you have a bachelor's degree they cut a lot of stuff out. If you have any questions feel free to email me codyfishinghill @ hotmail I didn't want to be a cop and I guess that is why I went into the agronomy side instead of the Natural Resources. But UMC I am a little biased since I went there but depending on what you wana do with your life you may wana try to get a 4 yr degree in criminal justice and try to get in that way. Hope I could help ya out some.

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And while you're in school, learn how to mix a good martini (that means, make connections). You can have all the education in the world and it won't help with being a Peace Officer - there are tons ahead of you with the same education.

Get to know people - intern, volunteer, hang out. Network.

Good luck...

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Lately the C.O.'s the DNR has been hiring have had a background in law enforcement, meaning they were city police, county sheriff, ect. There is a lot of competition for the C.O. jobs and the nod usually goes to those with experience. My advice is if you really are intent on being a C.O. get your degree and get that experience as a county sheriff or city cop then apply to the C.O. academy after a few years.

Check out this page of the DNR website. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/jobs/careerinfo/co.html

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As some of the others have stated there are alot of people seeking dnr positions, and only a limited amount of positions to be filled. I have had two people in my family want to become a c.o. my sister, went through all the schooling and now is a prison gaurd in Moose lake. My wife also went through all the law enforcement hoping to become a warden or a ranger. She did her intern so to speak as a city cop. She now isnt even in law enforcment, since she didnt want to be a cop, she wanted dnr. She got tired of trying to get in and found a different career.

I didnt tell you this to discourage you in any way. Just to let you know that you may get done with it all and have to settle with something else, do to the very few available positions, and the high number of people wanting to fill the few spots. Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

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If you're still interested in a DNR position, contact your local CO and schedule a ride along. My son also wants to become a CO after he graduates and planned a ride along with our CO.

The colleges that we looked at are:

1) UW Stevens Point (#1 in the nation for Natural Resources and recommended by many CO's that I have worked with)

2) Vermillion Community College (Be true to yourself if you definitely are 4 year degree material. If not, Vermillion would be a great place to get your 2 year degree)

3) UM Crookston. My son prefers Crookston over the others. Mainly because our tour of the campus was conducted by the actual professor himself. Not another student wearing skimpy shorts and not an admissions counselor.

Either of the above schools I think would be a good place to start, but decide what it is you truly want to do. As mentioned, there is a long waiting list and you could have just as much fun in your job working in Fisheries or as a Wildlife Biologist and make just as much as a CO.

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Minnesota West community and Technical college in Worthington has a 2 year law enforcement program.

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I wanted to go that route as well but when all the hoops were exposed I decided I would rather do something else. If you love to hunt and fish you must remember you will be working EVERY opener. I agree with going the 4 year route to keep your options open. There are also Criminal Justice majors in the Cities as well. You might want to check them out and go that way.

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I would also suggest UW-Stevens Point. Someone said it before on this forum, but it is THE BEST natural resources school in the country. I went there and although I didn't major in natural resources, I took fisheries and wildlife classes as electives. Lots of hands-on learning. A friend of mine at school took the warden/police program. His intent was to be a warden, but he became a cop instead. My brother is currently at UW-SP trying to become a warden. As someone mentioned, get involved in EVERYTHING to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Good luck.

Shedhunter

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Also keep in mind of the other great states that would take you in as a CO. Some don't have the stringent requirements as MN, but the 4 year degree from UW Steven's Point is recognized nation wide.

I fogot to mention that one of the CO's that I have worked with started his degree at Bemidji and said in his opinion that it isn't even close to the courses offered by UWSP. Just a little food for thought.

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Cribbage - I am currently getting into the law enforcement field. I have a 4 year degree and attended Alex Tech for skills this summer. If you are thinking of doing a 2 year degree go to Alex, they have unbelievable instructors there that all have backgrounds in law enforcement. They can help you network and get you contacts with people in the DNR. Also their program is one of the top 2 year programs in the state. I would recommend a 4 year degree, because it will set you above anybody with a 2 year. I am currently finishing my master's, I will have it completed this fall, and I know it is already helping me get interviews and move up on hiring lists. I am currently in the top 4 for one department that is hiring at least 3 officers and have had my background completed by another department. They aren't giving offers right now but I was told by the chief my chances for that dept are very good for getting hired. I have a friend who is also getting his masters with the intention of becoming a CO and he said the degree will help him some.

Another thing with getting into law enforcement that I never thought about when I was your age is to keep your nose clean. With going to college you will probably drink some, don't get a minor, don't get into fights (tends to happen when young men and alcohol mix at college for some reason grin.gif) watch your driving habits, and DO NOT get a DWI!! That is the one thing that is a huge turn off for departments. Also when you apply be COMPLETELY honest with the department. If you try and hide something in your past, they WILL find it. If you screwed up, admit it and learn from your mistakes! I have heard of people going from #1 on a hiring list to not even on it because they tried to hide something in their background. That goes with you to every dept you apply to after that as well, they will go to the dept you got bounced from and find out why and that will go into their decision on hiring you.

When this department did my background they were out talking to people I work with, my high school teachers, college teachers, Skills instructors and the police departments in every town I have lived in.

Sorry I got a little off the path but figured I would try and give you a leg up!

I would also suggest doing a ride along with a CO. You will see what their everyday job is like and can find out what they like and don't like about the job. Also you could try contacting a recruiter for the DNR and see if they can suggest a good college for becoming a CO.

Good Luck!!

If you have any questions let me know I would be glad to help you out. Either post on here or my email is j _ orbeck @ yahoo

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I just wanted to thank everyone for the feedback. It is opening up so many choices. I love to hunt and fish, and to preserve that right for future hunters would be a tremendious honor. After talking on the phone with a former CO, he highly recommended a 4 year degree regardless fo where it came from. Thanks again for all of the information.

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Cribbageboy,

In my opinion,

4year = UW Stevens Point

2year = VCC in Ely, MN

I have worked in student services at four different colleges for the past 15 years and if DNR/CO is what you want then I think these two programs would be what your looking for. Many of the other schools mentioned are also good. You need to visit the schools and get a feel for the campus and atmosphere. Don't go somewhere you don't feel comfortable!

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Crib, I think its great that you want to be a CO. One of the biggest things about being a CO is that you are a cop first. Thats the one thing people lose when they dream about being a CO. You are a cop first, that just happens to work outdoors and operates in the fields that so many people call hobbies.

I guess I say that cause not everyone who wants to be a CO really wants to be a cop. Its a very important distinction.

I am in my late 20's and just started school this fall for my Law Enforcement degree. I plan on being a CO someday too. I've done many ride-alongs with cops and with CO's and I volunteered at the CO training academy.

I also spoke with the DNR recruitment person and the most important thing he told me is that it doesn't matter that much about where you went to school. He said that the majority of their candidates are weeded out at the written test. After that you have several face-to-face interviews. He told me its totally about how you act as a person and how you perform. Just because you attended the best schools and were in every club on campus doesn't mean you will make a good cop.

I've spoken with 3 CO's who were hired in the last 5 yrs who had no experience in Law Enf. and only had a 2yr Community COllege degree in LE. 2 were under 25yrs old and 1 was almost 40 and decided to follow his dream.

If you really want to be a COP then go for it. Thats the most important thing. Get that under your belt first and foremost. Meet local cops and do ride-alongs there. If you know its for you then being a CO won't be a problem.

Good luck and I'll see you at the academy.

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I went through the 2 year law enforcement program in Hibbing and I have to say it is an excellent program. Vermilion Community College is also a good program but centers more on the park ranger aspect I think. Actually, I recently took the test for conservation officer and just received notification that I passed it and will be moving on to the interview process. I know CO's that have gotten a job with no more than a 2 year law enforcement degree. Granted the additional schooling will pad your resume, I dont think it is absolutely necessary. Its like any job, you get some experience in law enforcement and start doing some ride alongs with CO's, eventually you will get a job. One guy I know tested and interviewed mulitiple times with them before finally getting hired. Good Luck with whatever route you choose and let me know if theres any other questions I might be able to answer for you. And just a footnote, when I first started the program all I wanted to be was a CO but when I got into more, I could really see myself in alot of different areas of law enforcement. As mentioned in an earlier post, You have to want to be a Cop first.....just being able to do it in the woods and on a lake is just a bonus of being a CO.

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Im at Vermilion CC in ely right now majoring in their NRT PROGRAM. Natural Resources Technology- Foresty/wildlife. I couldnt have picked a better school to go. The instructors are excellent and feauture many well known names in the area and the profession. If you love to hunt and fish and associate with people like you ITS top notch! But dont come here for the women haha!!!! Theres 8 guys to every girl!!! grin.gifgrin.gif Im probably gonna transfer to Stevens point after my 2 yrs here. If your scared of transition or dont want the whole college experience at once Vcc is awesome to get in the college mode and isnt too hard compared to a four yr. Plus I really like the small setting comign from a small high school. The instructors get to know you well and vice versa. hope I could help

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SDSU- Brookings SD

Not only do you get a great education, but you get to enjoy some of the finest hunting and fishing in the midwest while attending.

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Minnesota State U- Mankato, or Mankato State U as I remember it.

I have my 4-year B.S. in L.E. from there. Program was great when I was there 11 years ago. I'm sure it has only gotten better over time. They also have the skills portion there through Hibbing Tech.

I would go for the 4 year degree. Most departments are now looking for that versus a 2 year.

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I too thought about a DNR job when i was in high school 15 years ago. the two words of advice I got were get your pilots licence ( from a C.O.). Get a math degree in statistics, probably won't help with a C.O. job but will help to get a job in the department.

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