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Aviation Career Highlight: Warden Pilot

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

For those with hopes of one day making aviation a career, the number of prospective career options can seem endless. With so many possibilities, all with very different lifestyles and perks, the world is at students’ fingertips. In this CHI aviation career highlight, we delve into a direction most aspiring pilots overlook: a career as a pilot for the Game Warden Service.

Being televised on Animal Planet in North Woods Law, the Maine Game Warden Service is a highly respected and admired field of law enforcement in Maine. These officers take to protecting Maine's wildlife and all those who enjoy it. From conducting search and rescue missions to running informational children’s summer camps, these officers do it all.

A very important asset to the field are their pilots. “Having an aircraft for surveillance is imperative. It allows us to see so much and act quickly,” one Warden was quoted as saying in an article by New England Today (1).

As well as being a highly respected career, the position of Maine Game Warden comes with a variety of perks:

  • “A 25-year retirement system — Wardens retire at 50% of their maximum salary while employees working over 25 years receive an additional 2% of retirement pay for each additional year worked.

  • Overtime opportunities

  • Pay incentive for a job-related college degree

  • State paid health and dental benefits

  • Paid vacation and sick leave

  • All necessary outdoor law enforcement gear — Assigned 4X4 vehicle, watercraft, snowmobile, ATV, computer, telephone, GPS, digital camera, and a variety of other state-of-the-art equipment and apparel

  • Upward and lateral mobility — Opportunities for promotions based on ability, education and seniority, plus a wide array of specialized career paths with lateral mobility. Some of these include:

    • Airboat Operator

    • Canine Handler

    • Dive Team

    • Division Investigator

    • Evidence Response Team

    • Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) Instructor

    • Forensic Mapping Specialist

    • Field Training Officer

    • Firearms Instructor

    • Honor Guard Member

    • Hover Craft Operator

    • Incident Management Team Member

    • Pilot (Air Wing)

    • Police Academy Cadre Member

    • Police Academy Instructor

    • Warden Academy Instructor

    • Whitewater Specialist” (2)

You read that last part correctly; the position of Pilot (Air Wing) is an opportunity for Upward and lateral mobility within the field. Game Wardens are hired with one mission: to protect and uphold the law as it relates to the Maine Wilderness. This duty takes priority over hours in the sky. A great deal of the Wardens’ work takes place on the ground, interacting directly with people and animals in need. Becoming a Maine Game Warden is a long term career option and is not a stepping stone for other aviation career goals such as flying for an airline or a shipment company. These pilots aren’t doing this for the hours, they're doing it for the lifestyle and their love of nature. The same can be said about the career's salary. The annual mean wage for Maine Game Wardens in 2019 was $59,870, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (3).

To become a Maine Game Warden, an applicant must have the following requirements:

  • “Have a high school diploma or equivalent;

  • Be at least 21 years old -OR- can be only 20 years old and have completed an associate degree or 60 credit hours of post-secondary education by the date the application is submitted;

  • Have successfully passed the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s Pre-Employment Physical Fitness Test within a year of submitting application; (Maine Game Warden - 2020 at State of Maine

  • Schedule a fitness exam by calling (207)287-5305"(3)

For those with a love of nature and strong moral compass, this may be just the aviation path. For more information about becoming a Maine Game Warden visit




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