Career Detail

Parks & Recreation Workers
“Get Your Teams Ready to Play”
Plan, organize, and direct activities in local recreation areas, parks, community centers, religious organizations, camps, theme parks, and tourist attractions.
The Job
Recreation workers hold a variety of positions at different levels of responsibility. Recreation leaders, who are responsible for a recreation program's daily operation, primarily organize and direct participants. They may lead and give instruction in dance, drama, crafts, games, and sports; schedule the use of facilities; keep records of equipment use; and ensure that recreation facilities and equipment are used properly. Recreation supervisors manage the activities of the recreation leaders. Directors of recreation and parks develop and manage comprehensive recreation programs in parks, playgrounds, and other settings. Directors usually serve as technical advisors to State and local recreation and park commissions and may be responsible for recreation and park budgets. Some recreation workers work about 40 hours a week. However, many people entering this field, such as camp counselors, may have some night and weekend work, irregular hours, and seasonal employment.
Work Environment
Recreation workers may work in a variety of settings-for example, a camp, field house, or large urban community center. Directors and supervisors may have office settings.
College Majors
parks and recreation,leisure studies, business or public administration
Minimum Qualifications
Varies widely depending on the type of job. Full-time career positions usually require a college degree. Many jobs, however, can be learned with only a short period of on-the-job training.
Personality traits helpful for this career
outgoing, good at motivating people, and sensitive to the needs of others
Quick Facts
  • Educational requirements range from a high school diploma to a graduate degree.
  • The recreation field offers an unusually large number of part-time and seasonal job opportunities, but full time jobs will be very competitive.
  • Recreation workers with experience and managerial skills may advance to supervisory or managerial positions.
  • More Info: National Recreation and Park Association, Internet:
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of conservation scientists in May 2008 were $58,720. The middle 50 percent earned between $45,320 and $73,280. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,910. Median annual wages of foresters in 2008 were $53,750. The middle 50 percent earned between $42,980 and $65,000. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,350.
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