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How to Become a DNR Officer in South Carolina

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The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) creates and implements policies to conserve, manage and utilize the state's natural resources based on scientific evidence and research. DNR officers are law enforcement officers who work to uphold both state and federal boating, hunting and fishing laws, as well as all other state laws as part of this effort. DNR officers spend most of their time alone patrolling natural areas while being exposed to a variety of elements and wildlife. Officers participate in search-and-rescue missions, provide educational seminars and public relations, and complete investigations.

Make sure you meet all of the minimum requirements to apply, including U.S. citizenship, a valid driver's license showing you are at least 21 years old and a bachelor's degree or associate’s degree (or two years of college credit equating to 60 semester credit hours) along with with either two years of certified class 1 law enforcement experience or four years of deputy law enforcement officer (DLEO) service, or two years of active military service. Visit the SCDNR website to review a full list of requirements.

Apply for the position. Complete the online application found on the agency's website and submit all of the necessary documents along with it to be considered for an interview with the Law Enforcement Interview Panel. Pass a written exam and physical agility test, which consists of negotiating an obstacle course while dragging 150 pounds. Be able to meet swimming requirements, which include swimming 75 yards and treading water for five minutes. The swimming requirement must be met by the end of basic training, which lasts approximately 17 weeks.

Be able to pass a medical examination, drug screening, color blindness test and psychological test. Be able to meet tests based on good hearing, night vision and eyesight correctable to 20/20.

Upon employment, attend a basic training course at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. The basic course lasts nine weeks. Then complete an eight-week basic training course specific to the DNR law enforcement officer.


Angela Campbell began writing professionally in 1997 for Easley Publications in Easley, SC, and later for Gannett newspaper properties. A graduate of the University of South Carolina's mass communications and journalism program, she has won numerous South Carolina State Press Association awards for spot news reporting, business reporting, feature writing, photography and page design.