Career Information for a Degree in Recreation Studies

Recreation studies degree programs teach individuals how to provide recreational services and guidance to the public. Students learn to research and evaluate existing recreational programs. Degree coursework also prepares students for motivating clients, especially during fitness, rehabilitation and leisurely activities. Recreation studies graduates might find employment in a variety of fields, including parks and recreation, sports, recreational therapy and physical fitness.

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Recreation Studies Degree Program

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate coursework in recreation studies often includes activity planning and design, community recreational programs, leisure human services management, recreation law and program evaluation methodologies. Many programs also offer career-based recreation studies concentrations, such as children's recreation, sports business, tourism management and therapeutic recreation. The majority of undergraduate programs also include a mandatory internship component, which may include students working with recreational professionals at community outreach centers, state parks, rehabilitation centers or military bases.

Graduate Programs

Graduate level degrees in recreation and leisure studies are usually required for those who want to pursue a career in recreational management, upper administration or education. Common courses include business statistics, advanced program design, social foundations, human resources management and leisure behavior psychology. Elective courses can also help students gain knowledge in specific recreational fields, such as leisure and gender, summer camp management or recreation for diverse populations.

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted job opportunities for recreation workers to increase by 14% between 2012 and 2022 ( In 2013, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $22,390 for recreation workers. Although this group does include workers who may not have a degree, the BLS notes that candidates who have a graduate degree in the field can expect the best opportunities for managerial positions. Below are several job options in the field.

Director of Recreation and Parks

Information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that directors of recreation and parks set up activity schedules for events happening at community playgrounds, parks and other government-owned communal properties ( Some directors work at the city level, whereas others work for individual counties or for states. Apart from scheduling and coordinating activities, directors often have to hire new staff, train personnel, write-up budgets and determine ways of raising revenue.

Special Events Management

Workers involved in special events management work with clients to plan out events, including weddings, sporting events, ethnic festivals and music concerts. Individual workers within the special events management field are usually called event coordinators or event planners, according to the BLS. These individuals find an appropriate venue and any necessary additional services such as caterers, decorators or photographers. Event planners often coordinate with clients to decide on event marketing and advertising, security protocols and guest transportation.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics