How to Become a Park Ranger in West Virginia

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How to Become a Park Ranger in West Virginia

When you love working outdoors and enjoying all that nature has to offer in West Virginia, becoming a park ranger can be the ideal career path.

You’ll be able to work in an array of forests and state parks.

Plus, every day is filled with new adventures.

Find out more about what it takes to become a park ranger in WV now.

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Requirements to Become a Park Ranger in West Virginia

There are a few basic requirements that you will need to meet if you decide you want to become a park ranger in West Virginia.

First, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a subject that is beneficial to parks and recreation.

This can include any of the life sciences, forestry, conservation, natural history, as well as public administration or criminology.

Next, you’ll need to have a valid driver’s license.

Finally, you’ll need to submit a background check to show that you don’t have any felony convictions.

Once there is an opening within the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources State Parks and Forests, you’ll submit an application.

During the hiring process, you will also need to complete such things as:

  • Panel interview
  • Background investigation
  • Psychological assessment
  • Medical examination

In some instances, you won’t need a bachelor’s degree.

In some instances, they’ll look for any kind of education and work experience that is relevant to the position.

Every park and every job description is slightly different.

Take the time to review their hiring website so that you know exactly what you’ll need based on where you want to work as a park ranger.

Park Ranger Duties in West Virginia

The duties of a park ranger in West Virginia will depend on the park where you are at.

You may be required to patrol by foot, ATV, or even boat so that you can review the activities that are happening.

You will be responsible for conducting patrols and rescues as part of promoting public safety and ensuring that park rules are being followed.

There will also be times when you lead groups of hikers or even junior rangers through the park to show them the natural history and talk to them about the unique aspects of the park.

In the winter, you may even work on programs such as “Christmas in the Park” where you will invite visitors to the park and wow them with decorative lights, animations, and talks.

State Parks in West Virginia

There are a number of state parks in West Virginia.

Each offers something unique, whether it is ancient rock formations, hiking trails, or scenic views.

Some of the more popular state parks include:

  • Beartown State Park: Located in Marlington, it is a 110-acre park that is on the eastern summit of Droop Mountain. Geocaching and camping are particularly popular here.
  • Twin Falls Resort State Park: Located in Mullens, there are two waterfalls within the park as well as a camping lodge. There’s also an 18-hole golf course and a wide array of nature programs.
  • Babcock State Park: Located in Clifftop, there are 4127 acres in this park, and it is close to the New River Gorge Bridge. It is known for its scenery and many wildlife photographers visit every year.
  • Holly River State Park: Located in Hacker Valley, the park is one of the largest in West Virginia with over 8200 acres to explore. There are a lot of amenities tucked within the lush forests, including a restaurant and horseback riding.
  • Chief Logan State Park: Located in Logan, the park is named after a Native American Indian who was part of the American Revolutionary War. You’ll find that there is geocaching, fishing, hiking, and even wildlife viewing here.


Park rangers can earn a decent salary in West Virginia, though it depends on education, time on the job, and even added skills. estimates that the average park ranger in Charleston, WV earns $37,407 per year.

The range is usually between $30,921 and $45,262, so it’s important to focus on any certifications and skills that can increase your compensation.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Charleston $37,407
Huntington $36,680
Parkersburg $36,467
Wheeling $40,204
Morgantown $40,204
Weirton $40,066
Fairmont $40,204
Beckley $37,078
Clarksburg $36,138
Martinsburg $45,509

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there any training involved?

Once hired as a park ranger, you will go through state training that will teach you about the nuances of the park where you will be working.

How many hours does a park ranger typically work?

Most park rangers will work 40 hours a week, though there may be weekends and holidays involved depending upon special events that are taking place.

Is it possible to move up to park ranger?

There are many jobs that you can find within the park system.

You may start at a lower position and as you go to school, you can work your way up.

Positions throughout West Virginia parks include lifeguard, park security, and campground attendant.

Are there any special licenses that need to be obtained?


You won’t have to be licensed in any particular area – you simply need to have the necessary education.

Does volunteering count as work experience?


Often, the parks department will look at any volunteer work you have done with parks, animal rescue organizations, and more to determine any special skills you might have.

USA Park Ranger by State

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