Careers - Thinking About Becoming a Conservation Officer?

A conservation officer’s job is diverse and demanding. As the front-line men and women responsible for environmental enforcement in British Columbia, a tremendous amount of responsibility and trust is invested in each member of the Conservation Officer Service (COS).

There are over 69,000 law enforcement officers in Canada, only 150 of them can be B.C. Conservation Officers.


Before you review our recruiting information, please consider the following informal self-assessment. While not exhaustive, it may help you to evaluate your suitability and identify any possible barriers to applying since you know your strengths, skills and abilities better than anyone else does.

Answer yes or no to each statement:

  • I can satisfy the position’s basic requirements listed below
  • I am interested in serving my community and I am the type of person who seeks out challenge
  • I possess considerable initiative and work well under minimal supervision
  • I am able to work with all kinds of people in a variety of situations
  • I am just as comfortable working alone as in a team environment.
  • In the face of uncertainty, I can make necessary decisions that are both timely and reasonable
  • I am open and honest in my communications and conduct
  • I take responsibility for my actions, including my mistakes. I give credit where credit is due
  • I respect the law in both behaviour and attitude. I have a firm belief in the rights and freedoms of all citizens
  • I can keep my emotions under control and restrain negative actions when faced with opposition or provocation
  • I am able to defuse tension in stressful situations
  • I have the self-confidence to be assertive when the situation demands it
  • I am emotionally stable and mature
  • I am in good physical health with no medical conditions that would limit my ability to do the work of a conservation officer
  • I have demonstrated leadership qualities
  • My moral, philosophical or religious beliefs would not prevent me from using an appropriate level of force in order to control a situation

Working for the Conservation Officer Service means a career filled with challenge and opportunity. Every day you put on the uniform, you have the chance to make a real difference in your community.

How To Apply

Generally, the Conservation Officer Service considers applications once a year, establishing an eligibility list to fill known and anticipated vacancies for a 12-month period. The annual intake for entry-level positions occurs early in the new year, in preparation for the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy, in the fall of each year.

Job opportunities are posted on the BC Public Service Recruitment System. Only applications submitted using this system will be accepted.


The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) conducts periodic hiring of future Conservation Officers based on operational needs. Listed below are the qualifications to be considered:

New Recruit Base Qualifications (CO 18 - under implementation)

  • Applied degree or technical diploma in a recognized and related post-secondary program of natural resource law enforcement or
  • University degree or technical diploma in a recognized and related discipline (law or criminal justice programs or environmental management), and
    • Two years of experience in compliance and enforcement or regulatory environment that require the completion of investigations and resulted in the imposition of penalties or sanctions, or
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered.

Experienced Officer Qualifications (CO24 - full working level)

  • Base Qualifications and
  • Completed the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy (WCLEA) or equivalent academy training in natural resource law enforcement work.

Special Requirements

Proof of the following special requirements will be requested during the competition process:

  • Applicants must be at least 19 years of age
  • Possess a valid driver’s license (Class 5 or higher)
  • Completion of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course
  • Completion of CORE Hunter Safety or provincial equivalent
  • Completed Occupational First Aid Level 1 or equivalent training.
  • Obtain Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Certification         
  • Successful completion of the PARE physical abilities test to the recruit standard of 4:45 minutes

Physical Fitness Testing

A conservation officer’s job demands many skills, both mental and physical. To ensure that officers possess the minimum physical abilities needed, candidates must present proof of successful completion of the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (P.A.R.E.) prior to a conditional offer of employment. The COS requires all applicants to pass at the Recruit Level which is a PARE time of 4:45 min or less.

Security Screening

The law enforcement profession is distinguished by the character and values of the individuals within it. Accordingly, the responsibilities and privileges of a conservation officer should only be entrusted to persons who can demonstrate high standards of honesty and integrity.

Security screening assists the Conservation Officer Service in screening out individuals whose past behaviour suggests a significant risk of officer misconduct (e.g. dishonesty, substance abuse, violent behaviour, disregard for authority, etc.).

Administered by the Police Services and Security Programs Branch, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, a thorough background investigation will be completed on applicants who accept a conditional offer of employment. This will include the following:

  • Police information systems check (e.g. level 4 criminal record check)
  • Driving record check (i.e. driver’s abstract)
  • Verification of educational and employment history
  • Financial background check
  • Check of the Conservation Officer Online Reporting System (to be conducted by the COS)
  • Check of the Departmental Violations System, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Lifestyle and Integrity Questionnaire
  • Security interview, incorporating results from the Lifestyle and Integrity Questionnaire and employing digital voice stress analysis
  • Certified criminal record check (i.e. fingerprinting)
  • Follow-up interview and/or field investigation, as required

While the process may cause a certain degree of anxiety, we are not looking for individuals with a perfect record. Successful candidates are those who embody our key values, including integrity, service, accountability, impartiality and respect. If you are interested in learning more about the security screening process, contact the Officer in Charge of Staff Development, Training and Recruiting.

Medical Exam

Applicants who accept a conditional offer of employment must submit to a pre-placement medical exam before their appointment can be confirmed.

The Conservation Officer Service medical guidelines set a minimum, medical standard with respect to an officer’s job duties. Consideration is given to the safety of the individual, fellow workers, the public and, where applicable, the integrity and security of the organization.

An applicant’s health is tested in the following areas (this list is not exhaustive):

  • vision
  • hearing
  • cardiovascular
  • respiratory
  • endocrine
  • psychiatric
  • cerebrovascular, and
  • musculo-skeletal

Occupational Health Programs (OHP), B.C. Public Service Agency, will advise the Conservation Officer Service in writing as to whether an individual is deemed medically fit or unfit for hire according to the above medical guidelines. No other details of the examination are divulged to the agency. However, the employer must be informed of any condition(s) that might pose a safety risk in the workplace should the applicant be hired.

Psychological Evaluation

Applicants who accept a conditional offer of employment must submit to a pre-placement psychological evaluation before their appointment can be confirmed. A registered and experienced psychologist will assess the applicant’s suitability, giving specific consideration to the stresses imposed by a law enforcement job (e.g.  hostile, armed encounters and the carrying and use of firearms).

The psychologist will recommend acceptance or rejection of the candidate or a period of careful supervision and will specify reasons for the recommendations. The evaluation’s results remain the property of the Conservation Officer Service and will not necessarily be disclosed to the applicant.


  • Conservation Officer – CNSV O R18
    $ 50,857.18 – 57,781.28 salary range at WCLEA
  • Conservation Officer - CNSV O R21
    $ 55,422.02 – 63,164.54 salary range upon successful graduation of WCLEA and until field training is fully completed.
  • Conservation Officer - CNSV O R24
    $ 60,531.87 – 69,104.56 salary range at fully implemented