Employees in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife work in many different fields and have different backgrounds and training. If you are interested in a career in fish and wildlife, here are a few general guidelines:
In high school, focus on:
- Science courses, such as biology, chemistry, and physiology
- Math courses
- Other important courses include writing composition, public speaking, ecology, natural resources, and conservation biology.
In college, major in:
- Wildlife management
- Fisheries management
- Natural resources management
- Other classes would include ecology, physiology, zoology, ichthyology, and conservation biology
- A strong background in math, statistics, and public speaking is recommended
- More information about DNR careers
- Search for current job opportunities in Indiana
About Fish & Wildlife positions
Fisheries Management and Research Biologists
The Division of Fish & Wildlife’s fisheries section employs about 20 full-time fisheries management and research biologists.
What fisheries biologists do
- Lake, river, and stream surveys using both nets and electrofishing gear.
- Collect data such as length and weight, and take scales, otoliths, or spines for aging.
- Maintain field equipment, give presentations, and manage aquatic habitats.
- Conduct research projects on fish and their habitat.
- Analyze data using statistics.
What degree do I need to become a fisheries biologist?
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement to become a fisheries biologist. Coursework should focus on fish management and aquatic science. Many fisheries biologists also have master’s degrees. Master’s degree projects typically focus on fisheries research. Recommended universities include those that have Cooperative Fishery Research Units or established fishery programs.
Job opportunities in Indiana
Fisheries management and research in Indiana is a combined effort between six Fisheries Districts, two Fisheries Research Units, the Big Rivers Unit, and the Lake Michigan Unit. Each unit typically has at least one lead fisheries biologist, at least one assistant fisheries biologist, and intermittent help.
Fish Hatchery Managers
Fish hatchery managers and biologists operate and maintain Indiana’s eight fish hatcheries. The fish hatcheries provide fish to be stocked in public waters across the state, resulting in more fishing opportunities for Indiana anglers. Fish hatchery managers have a background in fish culture and some universities or colleges have fish culture majors or courses.
Wildlife Management and Research Biologists
What wildlife biologists do
- Manage public lands (DFW's Fish & Wildlife Areas) to provide hunting opportunities.
- Consult with private landowners to enhance or protect wildlife on private land.
- Conduct research projects on various species and habitats on both game and nongame species.
What degree do I need to be a wildlife biologist?
- Most of our wildlife biologists have B.S. degrees in wildlife biology or a related field.
- Many of our research biologists have M.S. degrees with a strong background in statistics.
Wildlife Information & Education
What information and education staff do:
- Teach the public about DFW programs.
- Communicate with radio, television, and newspaper media.
- Update websites and social media.
- Work with teachers and other educators to spread natural resources information and messages.
- Public relations and speaking.
- Coordinate volunteer programs.
What degree do I need?
- B.S. degree in wildlife/fisheries biology or natural resources, education or related field.
- Many of our information and education staff have experience in fieldwork, public speaking, communications, and often hold an M.S. or Ph.D. level degree.
Conservation officers enforce the rules and regulations associated with fish and wildlife. The Indiana DNR’s Law Enforcement Division’s mission is to protect, and encourage the wise use of all our natural resources, and to serve the citizenry of the State of Indiana through an aggressive educational campaign and a visible law enforcement presence. A person wanting to apply to the Conservation Officers Recruit Training School must have an associate’s degree or have completed at least two years of a four-year program.