Conservation officers

Learn about the conservation and protection of Alberta’s natural resources and Crown lands, and how to become a conservation officer.

Conservation officers are armed peace officers who have the authority to enforce provincial and federal legislation (including Criminal Code) aimed at the conservation and protection of Alberta’s natural resources and Crown lands. All officers adhere to Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police and Alberta Peace Officer Program standards.

Conservation officers often partner with other government staff, law enforcement agencies, First Nation communities and Métis settlements, and community groups to help promote responsible recreation activities.

What we do

Conservation officers are an integral part of the communities where they live and work. Officers foster the safe, sustainable, and lawful use of natural resources and Crown lands, including our provincial parks system, public lands, flora and fauna.

  • Mandate

    The conservation and protection of Alberta’s natural resources and Crown lands, through the provision of education, prevention, public safety and conservation enforcement services.

  • Mission

    Through its mandate, the Environmental Enforcement Branch of Alberta Forestry and Parks provides a professional public service for all Albertans by enhancing the quality of life through the conservation and protection of Alberta’s natural resources, supporting communities through the provision of educational and outdoor recreational opportunities, while providing public safety services on Crown lands.

  • Services

    Conservation officers support land management, ensuring appropriate and safe public land use through the following duties:

    Compliance and enforcement

    Conservation officers specialize in conservation compliance and enforcement duties, including:

    • conducting patrols across Alberta’s Crown land by trucks, off-highway vehicles, aircraft, boats, horseback and on foot
    • responding to complaints and conducting investigations
    • addressing unlawful activities that impact the well-being of natural resources
    • emphasizing a proactive approach in applying the compliance model: education, prevention and enforcement

    Resource protection

    Officers work to conserve Alberta’s environmental resources by:

    • promoting responsible use, stewardship and protection of natural resources
    • enforcing compliance with Alberta’s environmental and natural resource legislation

    Human and wildlife conflict prevention

    Conservation officers often work with partner agencies and other wildlife experts while responding to wildlife calls throughout Alberta. They help prevent human-wildlife conflict and protect the public and wildlife by:

    • proactively educating the public about human-wildlife conflict and prevention
    • investigating and responding to human-wildlife conflict and wildlife encounters in the provincial parks system
    • implementing area closures, warnings and other mitigation strategies
    • hazing, trapping and chemical immobilization of wildlife as necessary
    • relocating or euthanizing wildlife as necessary

    Public safety and protection

    Conservation officers promote the protection of life and safety across all public lands through:

    • active officer presence
    • supporting search-and-rescue activities
    • effective human-wildlife conflict prevention
  • Where we operate

    Conservation officers operate on Crown land, including:

    • provincial parks 
    • protected areas
    • public land use zones
    • vacant public land

    Conservation officers are located across Alberta and are organized in 3 regions – North, Kananaskis-Clearwater and South – which are subdivided into a total of 18 districts.

    Officers within each district report to a sergeant and each of the regions is led by an inspector.

Conservation officers at work

Watch these videos about the work of a conservation officer:

Exploring a winter patrol with a conservation officer.

Connecting with anglers while on patrol at Long Lake.

Ensuring backcountry recreational opportunities are enjoyed safely and responsibly.

Patrolling Wabamun Lake to keep boaters safe on the water.

Recruitment and eligibility

The Environmental Enforcement Branch typically recruits annually. However, this may change based on operational needs.

The recruitment process to become a conservation officer is typically a 3- to 4-month process. Those interested in applying should familiarize themselves with the requirements and the process:

  • Eligibility requirements

    The Environmental Enforcement Branch hires conservation officers from different educational and experience backgrounds. Education and experience requirements may be one of the following:

    • Option 1 – A degree or applied degree in conservation or natural resource law enforcement, criminal justice or police science, biology or ecology, or related field plus 12 months of related experience is required.
    • Option 2 – A 2-year diploma in conservation or natural resource law enforcement, criminal justice or police science, biology or ecology, or related field plus 36 months of related experience is required.
    • Option 3 – Equivalency: Directly related experience or education considered on the basis of 1 year of experience for 1 year of education or 1 year of education for 1 year of experience.

    Experienced officers are hired through open competitions similar to new applicants. Processes and training requirements are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are determined based on the experienced officer’s qualifications, level of experience, and training.

  • Recruitment process requirements

    During the recruitment process, you will be asked to provide or complete:

    • PARE test - The Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) test is the current physical assessment standard used by many law enforcement agencies including the Environmental Enforcement Branch. This test simulates the physical requirements of chasing, controlling, and apprehending a suspect. Applicants require a good level of muscular and cardiovascular fitness to pass the PARE test in 4 minutes or less.
    • Criminal Records Check with Vulnerable Sector Check
    • vision and hearing assessments – may be used from other agency competitions as long as they are completed within 1 year and are to an equivalent or higher standard
    • 3 employment references
    • pre-employment psychological assessment – scheduled in final stages of competition

    Note: Costs for individual certificates, tests, or courses are the responsibility of the individual applicant and cannot be reimbursed. The only exception is the psychological assessment that occurs at the final stage of the recruitment. This assessment is covered by the Environmental Enforcement Branch.

    Checklist – Use the Conservation Officer Application checklist to ensure you are aware of all the application requirements.

How to apply

Conservation officer opportunities will be posted on the Government of Alberta job board. 

The Environmental Enforcement Branch employs civilian staff within the Innovation and Logistics and the Crown Land Enforcement Sections. Opportunities for these positions are posted on the Government of Alberta job board when available.

Application requirements

When applying for a conservation officer opportunity, applicants must provide:

•    resume and cover letter
•    copy of driver’s licence (minimum class 5)
•    valid first aid with CPR (child, adult, infant)
•    defensive driving training certificate (within last 3 years) 
•    driver’s abstract – minimum 3 years (within last 6 months)

Note: We do not have a deferral program where unsuccessful applicants are restricted on reapplying for future opportunities. 

On-the-job training

The first 12 months of a new conservation officer’s employment includes the following training stages:

  • Academy training

    Conservation officers perform a wide variety of roles including enforcement or compliance, public safety, and human wildlife conflict prevention. When you join the branch, recruits are not expected to know how to do it all. New recruits will be given the training to perform the required duties through the Environmental Enforcement Branch’s conservation officer academy training.

    The conservation officer academy training is a 4-month program that equips conservation officer recruits with the knowledge, skills, and attributes to effectively perform the wide variety of their duties within their mandate both safely and successfully.

    During academy training you are paid your salary and provided with accommodations.

  • Field training program

    Following completion of academy training, recruits will return to their district and transition to the field training program. This program develops job competency and confidence.

    Here new officers will be partnered with an experienced conservation officer and mentor, called a field training officer. Under their guidance and mentorship, new officers will begin applying the knowledge and skills that they learned at academy training to the dynamic environment of law enforcement. The field training is based on the latest and most positive coaching and mentorship models for law enforcement.

Salary and benefits

Environmental Enforcement Branch offers competitive salaries and comprehensive benefit packages. Conservation officer salaries are currently under review.

  • Salary

    Conservation officer classifications

    • Conservation Officer 1 – Natural Resources 6
    • Conservation Officer 2 – Natural Resources 7
    • Sergeant – Natural Resources 8
  • Benefits

    Monetary compensation

    • weekend premiums
    • nightshift premiums
    • overtime when required and preapproved
    • travel expenses when applicable
    • modifier for specialized functions

    Employee benefits package

    • dental
    • health
    • health spending account
    • life insurance
    • long-term disability
    • pension plans

    Additional benefits

    • vacation entitlements
    • leave provisions such as illness leave, special leave, maternity, and parental leave
    • programs for our employees working and residing in Fort McMurray and our northern-most communities

    Read more about Alberta Public Service benefits programs


Connect with the Environmental Enforcement Branch for more information on how to become a conservation officer:

Email: [email protected]

Connect with us for general information about Crown land and to report public safety incidents, illegal activity and enforcement concerns:

Contact 310-LAND