Careers - Selection Process

Here is an overview of the conservation officer selection process. While the number and order of these steps may vary, applicants should expect the process to take upwards of 3-4 months.

Submit Your Application

Once you have determined you can satisfy the position’s basic requirements, submit your application for an advertised vacancy using the BC Public Service Job Opportunities website.

You may be required to complete a short questionnaire at the time your application is submitted. The questionnaire records basic information on the nature and extent of your qualifications and is used to assist with the short-listing process.

Be sure your application clearly and concisely identifies how you meet the position’s selection criteria, including:

  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Knowledge
  • Skills and abilities
  • Competencies


Once the posting closes, applications are reviewed to identify candidates whose qualifications meet the position’s selection criteria. If a large number of applicants satisfy the position’s minimum requirements, the Conservation Officer Service may create a short-list using preferred qualifications identified in the job posting.  Short listed applicants will be invited to an interview.

At this stage applicants will be directed to provide proof of the following documents in order to participate in the interview:

  • Valid driver’s license, Class 5 or higher
  • Occupational First Aid Level 1 or equivalent
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Certification
  • Completion of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course
  • Completion of CORE Hunter Safety or provincial equivalent

Applicants who are invited to an interview will be provided with 2-3 weeks’ notice in order to prepare and make any necessary travel arrangements. 

  • Applicants’ expenses are not covered unless the applicant is a current employee of the BC Public Service.

Estimated completion time for short listing is 1-2 weeks.

Panel Interview

Past Work Performance (Reference) Checks

Past work performance is one of the best predictors of future performance and will be assessed for all top-ranked applicants (i.e. those applicants who may be placed on an eligibility list). At this stage in the process, the assessment of past work performance will involve employment references, one of which must be from your current or most recent supervisor.

A reference check involves seeking factual, job-related evidence from a third party who has observed the applicant at work and then evaluating that information to assess its veracity. Such an assessment can serve several purposes, including:

  • Validation of the information provided during the panel interview
  • Gathering additional evidence of past achievements to better predict future performance
  • Confirmation of employment history, including the dates of previous jobs and the reasons for leaving
  • Testing assumptions or clarifying concerns that have arisen during the selection process

Estimated completion time for Past Work Performance checks is 1-2 weeks.

Eligibility List

Following reference checks, top ranked applicants will be placed on an eligibility list through which conditional offers of employment will be made. The number of eligible applicants placed on a specific list will depend on the number of anticipated vacancies for the coming year.

Subsequent to the above, the Conservation Officer Service will finalize the list in rank order of merit. The number of employment offers will be limited at this point in time to the number of spaces which have been allocated to the COS for the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy (WCLEA).

WCLEA is a joint recruit training initiative of conservation law enforcement agencies from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, the Yukon Territory, and British Columbia.

Recruit officers spend 16 weeks at WCLEA. Currently, the curriculum places heavy emphasis on field skills and legal studies, including classroom and practical instruction in the following areas:

  • ATV operations
  • Cross cultural wwareness
  • Emergency vehicle operations
  • Law enforcement ethics
  • Firearms (rifle, shotgun, pistol)
  • Use of force options
  • Water safety
  • Investigations
  • Legal studies
  • Small and large prop vessels
  • Swift water rescue
  • Human wildlife conflicts

Conditional Offers

Once a conditional offer of employment is accepted, an applicant must qualify through the following assessments:

  • Security Screening
  • Medical Assessment
  • Psychological Assessment

If found suitable following security screening and a medical and psychological evaluation, the applicant will be able to attend WCLEA.

New Officer Field Training

New Conservation Officer recruits that meet the base qualifications are under-implemented at the CO18 level and will attend the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy (WCLEA). WCLEA is a partnership between the natural resource law enforcement agencies in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Yukon where each jurisdiction sends their recruits for basic training. Location of academy may vary between host provinces each year.

Recruits will receive training in, but not limited to:

  • Firearms
  • Defensive tactics
  • Emergency vehicle operations
  • Human/wildlife conflict and response
  • Boat/ ATV/ 4x4 operation
  • Chemical immobilization
  • Investigations

Upon successful graduation of WCLEA, recruits move to the CO21 level and will begin a 12 month new officer field training program under the mentorship of an experienced Conservation Officer or “field trainer”, applying and refining the knowledge and skills gained during WCLEA.

Upon successful completion of the new officer field training program, new Conservation Officers will be fully implemented to the CO24 level.