Entry-level applicants

WDFW police firearms training

If you’re looking to get your start in law enforcement and want to protect Washington’s unique fish and wildlife, patrol the state’s deepest woods and waters, and proactively engage with the public, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Police may be the place for you.

Before you apply, take a look at our minimum qualifications and disqualifiers. Some past actions could immediately disqualify you from a role with the WDFW Police. Be honest when applying – it’s better to disclose something up front than have it discovered halfway through the hiring process.

WDFW Police employ a rigorous, three-phase hiring process to select the best possible candidates. After taking a written and physical exam through the third-party Public Safety Testing system, your name, score and applicant profile will be forwarded to us. Then, if you advance in the hiring process, you’ll undergo an oral panel exam, usually held twice a year (see Preparing for the oral panel).

Testing phases

Phase 1

  • Apply online and schedule a test date with Public Safety Testing
  • Complete the Law Enforcement Exam and Physical Fitness Ability Test
  • Complete your Personal History Statement, available through Public Safety Testing

Phase 2

  • Oral panel (Usually held twice annually)
  • Suitability assessment screening
  • Background investigation
  • Chief's interview

Phase 3

  • Conditional offer of employment
  • Polygraph and psychological assessment
  • Pre-employment medical exam with drug screening
  • Pre-academy Physical Aptitude Test

On-the-job training

Upon hire, all new recruits will be paid as a Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Officer 1 as they attend the 720-hour (19-week) Basic Law Enforcement Academy in Burien, WA. WDFW also covers the cost of tuition, meals and lodging during the academy.

After graduation from BLEA, our new Officers complete the In-House Training Academy at WDFW headquarters in Olympia. This training spans four weeks and covers such topics as commercial fishing, hunting, species identification, boating safety, dangerous wildlife control, firearms, and more. 

Following In-House Training, new Officers begin a 14- to 20-week Field Training Program, getting on-the-ground experience with seasoned training officers until they’re ready to work independently, at their assigned duty station. 

Few applicants meet all of these requirements. But those who do join a team of officers committed to making Washington a better place to live, many of whom spend their entire career with WDFW.

Competitive benefits, unique opportunities

The WDFW Police offer a robust pay and benefits package, along with opportunities for advancement into supervisory or specialty roles, including work as a detective, firearms instructor, or Karelian bear dog handler.

Have other questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact our Recruitment and Hiring Division at officerrecruitment@dfw.wa.gov.