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bucketmouth64

Conservation officer/dnr profession

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bucketmouth64

My son who will be graduating from high school in Indiana is considering going to school for CO/dnr. Wondering if anyone on FM is in this profession that could give some insight on the schooling. He was told there are two schools that are recommended one in Indiana and the other in MN. Wondering what college in MN that might be. I've also been told these are some of the hardest jobs to get employed and there are usually a lot of applicants or a waiting list. Any truth to that? I don't want to discourage him if this is what he wants. But I am also trying to be realist about the job market potentials. Maybe he could pursue this career at a later time. He also could fallback on his second interest in the CAD/CAM industry which we've been told that there is a good demand.

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DTro

For some reason I want to say that Ely has has a CO program.

Not sure if it's an urban myth or not, but what I've heard is that unless you are a minority or female......good luck smirk.gif

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prov1900

Minnesota has a P.O.S.T program, meaning that your son, if he chooses, can go to college in the State of Minnesota and become a certified peace officer when he graduates. After that, it is up to him to apply for different positions, as they come up, in the state. Not an easy task. Every college grad with that degree, trust me there is a lot, is applying for every and any police type position that comes up, from one officer towns, to state level investigatory jobs. Not to discourage him. It is a very rewarding career, regardless of what law enforcement area you work in. I can only imagine that being a CO would only be that much more rewarding. I can tell you from experience, that MNDNR is looking for outstanding/experienced individuals. Get your kid through school, regardless of what state, and after that, get a job, regardless of the size of department/office. Get his experience and start the process. MNDNR is a great organization and the pay and benefits are top notch. If this sounds discouraging, it shouldnt, because in all fields, the competition is pretty stiff. My only advise to your son is to go all in if that is what he wants. And along with that...STAY OUT OF TROUBLE, NO MATTER HOW PETTY SOME TROUBLE SEEMS. Little things that people do in college for fun can come back to haunt you later. (I just never got caught grin.gif)

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deerhuntr8

Quote:

For some reason I want to say that Ely has has a CO program.

Not sure if it's an urban myth or not, but what I've heard is that unless you are a minority or female......good luck
smirk.gif


Why am I not shocked? I am so sick of this minority crap. mad.gif

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dustin85

Vermillion Community College in Ely is probably the school with natural resources/ law enforcement that you are thinking of. I almost attended there for that, then at the last minute changed my mind and went to school for electronics because, at the time, it sounded nearly impossible to get a job with MN DNR.-Later!

Dustin

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DTro

Quote:

Quote:

For some reason I want to say that Ely has has a CO program.

Not sure if it's an urban myth or not, but what I've heard is that unless you are a minority or female......good luck
smirk.gif


Why am I not shocked? I am so sick of this minority crap. mad.gif


I tend to agree, but let's not turn this into a negative post. I was just stating what I've heard.

I'll always argue however that a job should be earned by the person best qualified. I guess the problem with that is if the person hiring uses questionable criteria. Then you can throw the whole arguement out the window.

Anyways, back to the main subject. There are times I wish I would have pursued my love of the outdoors for a career. I sit at work and constantly daydream about sitting in a boat or walking in the woods. I'm sure I drive my co-workers nuts with my never ending fishing stories/babble.

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PierBridge

Quote:

He also could fallback on his second interest in the CAD/CAM industry which we've been told that there is a good demand.


BINGO, yes there is enormous demand and potential in this field.......I would definitely go this "cad/cam" route and then he can spend his free time and increased money's on fishing, hunting.

grin.gif

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Shawnny B

Dustin, did you copy me???? LOL

I am a VCC (Vermilion Community College) Drop out, I just couldnt go to school and sit in class with all the wilderness around and not go out and play. Hovermn Is also an attendee of that school. Another school up that way is Bemidji State, I believe. I have a friend who curretnly works for the DNR and he patrols the ST. Croix river and, with what I heard from other DNR guys and talking to several people, it is very politicaly influenced. I talked to several CO's and they stated that they no longer look at a tree and go, Oh what a beatiful Red Pine, but instead look and say Pinus Rosenosa (sp? Im sure Hovermn will correct me! grin.gif) and this is where it grows, this is what is infecting it and this is what could be done to help it.

Also IT is very hard to get into this field and I havent heard of very good pay scales for them. If you have read many of the Fishingfm Posts you will see many people commenting on how there are not alot of CO's out there, I forgot the number but its some odd hundred thousand people per CO basicaly, thats alot of people to try and watch. Also you have X amount of land and lakes to cover.

I wish I could of stuck it out in class and got that degree, but instead I went back to school down in the cities at Brown Institute and got my degree in Digital Electronics and Computer Tech, and now I am your Friendly Cable Guy!

Ill send a link of this to Hovermn, if he hasnt already found it so that he can give you his feed back on it, also, I still have some of the books from up there somewhere around here if they are still using them.....

Also If needed I could get the guys number that works on the St. Croix to give ya a call and talk to you more about it if needed ...... Just post back here and Ill email ya it later .

Shawnny B grin.gif

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Jim Hudson

Yup, VCC is probably the school of choice in MN for people looking at getting into the Warden field. I attended and graduated from there where I then transferred to the U of WI Stevens Point to complete a bachelors (before VCC offered it).

And as it has been mentioned, like all jobs now days, it is very difficult to land a job in the warden realm. Competition is very steep in the very few vacancies that are usually filled each year. Going to a top notch school that specializes in training students for these positions is what I would suggest. And the two that I attended are the best in the midwest. VCC being for ones that want to get into the MN DNR and UWSP for those wanting to seek WI DNR status.

The hiring process is extreme in these jobs and background investigations are intense. Keeping your nose clean is a must and getting all the training you can is a plus. Doing ride alongs with CO's and police officers are a plus, but also getting certified to teach in hunter, atv, snowmobile, trapper, etc safety is a plus for those just coming out of college. Also, becoming involved in various organizations/outdoor groups (nationally and locally) and participating will be a huge plus. Public speaking and professionalism is something warden forces strive to get from their new hirees.

Good luck to your son and if you have any more questions feel free to e-mail me.

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MN-FishGuy

4-year schools are also a very good option. I go to St. Cloud State and started off in the direction of CO before switching to Aquatic Biology. I do know of a couple people currently going to school here who intend on being CO's. These last couple years and the next couple years i think the DNR plans on hiring quite a few new CO's. By quite a few, i mean about 14/year, which is a lot compared to some years. I guess there are a lot of people retiring right now so positions are opening up. Its hard to say what the job openings would be like in 4 or 5 years. There are a couple of ways to go about this in school, you have to be POST certified in Minnesota, not every state, so you could major in criminal justice and have a minor in some type of biology like wildlife biology. Or you could major in biology and minor in criminal justice. It seems like the DNR and other police agencies prefer people with 4-year degrees compared to the 2-year schools because they are more well rounded in different areas. The minority thing does play a big role in this job, especially if you are a women or hmung, thats just the way it is with more immigrants coming to this state. Or if you can speak a foreign language like hmung, that would really help you. Its definitely a great job once you get in.

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Black_Bay

Any school that has a law enforcement program is fine. As stated you need to get P.O.S.T. certified after graduation. Right now the state has been hiring a about 6 to 12 new C.O.s a year. A majority of the applicants have law enforcement back grounds and are coming from small towns and county sheriff departments. Remember if your son enjoys hunting and fishing he won't be going that much anymore. These are the busy times obviously, especially hunting season because it's a short time frame. It can be a very rewarding career but very demanding at times. If he can swing it and handle the work load he should try for a double major. Last I checked law enforcement is a two year degree. Check out the DNR site and call your local C.O. I'm sure they'll be more than willing to talk to you and/or your son. Good luck in whatever he chooses to do. smile.gif

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ChuckN

I am a graduate of VCC and Bemidji State and my goal was initially aimed at Conservation Officer, but through the years of education I swayed away. It seems there is more demand for CO's now compared to 10 years ago, mainly because of more funding I assume.

I would highly recommend a bachelor's degree in any law enforcement field. To become a CO if I recall there was a difficult test (DNR related) to complete to qualify before applying for jobs and going to CO training camp. Some friends of mine went thru the process, but with the lack of positions they went into other agencies (this was years ago).

Still think in the back of my head I should have pursued it further. smirk.gif

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iland99

Quote:

Quote:

He also could fallback on his second interest in the CAD/CAM industry which we've been told that there is a good demand.


I went that route, and it was a very good decision for me. There are currently 117 open CAD jobs listed on one Minnesota job website. Are there even that many COs in the entire state of Minnesota?

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Ely Lake Expert

OK, I will ask the dumb question. What is the CAD/CAM industry?

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bijou bum

If your son has an interest, tell him to go for it. Vermillion CC in Ely offers a 2 year law enforcement program and a 2 year natural resources program. You can complete both in 3 years. The U of WI, Stevens Point also has a natural resource LE program. Any of the MN schools with LE programs will get him what he needs. He can contact a local CO and maybe do a ride along.

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Ely Lake Expert

Quote:

OK, I will ask the dumb question. What is the CAD/CAM industry?


cmon now 8 people just in this thread now about this, i just want to know what it is so please take 30 seconds and reply to me. mad.gif

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JollyT

Computer aided design / computer aided machining.

Design it on the computer, move it to the computer controled mill/lathe, and make the part.

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Ely Lake Expert

Thank you JollyT,

My curiousity was driving me nuts.

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big musk411

As stated, certin things are hard to get into. Getting a decent job with no expirience is nearly impossible, as a recent college grad I know this first hand. The education is a requirement, but the expirence is what gets the job. Do any co-op, internship or any somewhat related work while in school. This will separate you from the rest. I never had the attention span or desire to get perfect grades [always skipping class to go fishing, my true passion crazy.gif]. My engineer budie who did a coop/intern and worked was hired over all the nerds with much higher GPA and no work experience at a top company.

One thing to consider as well, certin occupations give you more time off than others. Ie teachers, goverment, union. I am trying to get my foot in the door at a Financial Institution that gives you 20 days paid vacation first year plus holidays. That is alot of fishing time.

Not to discourage your son from doing what he truly wants to do, however other occupations may be easier to get into, pay more and offer more generous vacation to do exactly that.

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marine_man

Quote:

The education is a requirement, but the expirence is what gets the job. Do any co-op, internship or any somewhat related work while in school. This will separate you from the rest.


This is a huge deal in the engineering industry.. even if you're not doing engineering work during your internship / coop getting that field experience before you get a job will make a huge difference when it comes down to finding a job. You'll have the book smarts coming out of school and the internship / coop that you do will give you some field or real world smarts putting you ahead of the rest when it comes time to be hired.

marine_man

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Noahsark

A lot of good advice already, I just want to restate the most important info:

A 4-year degree with POST and experience is the best shot at a CO job. VCC for 2 or 3 years to obtain an Associate Degree would be an option, but then must transfer to University for 4-year degree. I would recommend going straight for the 4-year instead of Associate’s. The reason for this is: If I had a nickel for every grad from a CC that wants to be a CO and isn’t, I’d be a few bucks richer.

The 4-year degree should be in Criminal Justice with a Natural Resource minor preferably (or the other way around). The best programs are at the U of M and UW-Steven Point. POST training should be completed as soon as possible. I think it is a couple month long training at a Community College.

As for having to be a minority, that is ridiculous. Look at the makeup of the current CO force or even the recent hires in WI or MN. Overwhelmingly white and male! So please don’t let that myth discourage your son. Yes there is affirmative action, but that fact is the vast majority of CO’s are white males. Everyone regardless of ethnicity or gender must meet the minimum qualifications to even be considered, and those qualifications are set pretty high.

Most CO hires have several years experience in other law enforcement fields (Park Rangers, Sheriff Deputies, Police Officers, State Troopers, etc.). There are also opportunities with the feds (USFWS) in the CO field.

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bucketmouth64

Thank you all for your replys. I will have to have my son read this information.

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caseymcq

I would put in another plug for Bemidji State University. They have an excellent Criminal Justice program and an excellent Biology Program.

The campus is extremely nice and the location is ideal if your son is into the outdoors.

The other nice thing about being at a 4-year university is that if your son changes his mind there are a lot of other options available.

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HunterLee

I am currently a peace officer in MN. I talked to a warden from the area. Right now they are accually takeing a few individuals straight from college to become a C.O. But he told me that its best to have a 4 year degree, Criminal Justice, know a lot about natrual resorces, and get your foot in the door some how. Also he said a good swimmer/ a second language and good communication skills. Thats the way it is in this field, once you get your foot in the door you can go anywhere. Expirence is the key, as well as who you may know and how you present yourself to people.

There is a 500 and some odd test you take. then its off to 18 weeks of training, then its 6-12months with a CO and then your on your own. Thats not to mention the many interviews and background checks that you have to go through. He also said that it really cuts into his hunting/fishing time. He basically gets to muzzleload and thats it, but he takes that whole season off. He said its a great job, with great benifits, but he has got some skin cancer on his face from being in the boat all summer and a bad back from all the lifting/loading the boats and other vehicles by himself.

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sdstatekid

South Dakota State University has a very good fisheries and wildlife program, this is the program i am currently in. The college has great faculty and the classes aren't to bad, some of it is pretty interesting, but, if you want your son to do really well in school(not skip classes to hunt and fish) this might not be the best school to go to. there is just to much good hunting and fishing out here, i have been having a little trouble attending all of my classes.

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