Copyright

Recreation Degree Programs with Career Information

Learn about associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in recreation. Find out about career options for each degree, as well as salary and employment outlook info for the field.

View 6 Popular Schools »

Essential Information

Students who wish to pursue careers in recreation can enroll in programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. These recreation degree programs focus on the use of recreational activities in a variety of environments. Associate's degree programs usually have a therapeutic focus and prepare graduates for work as fitness instructors or consultants. Bachelor's degree programs prepare graduates for leadership positions in recreation, such as park rangers or camp directors. Those who pursue master's degrees in recreation can seek leadership positions in a specialized area of recreation, such as recreational therapy.


Associate of Science in Fitness and Recreation

An associate's degree program in fitness and recreation introduces student to the field of physical education. Students enrolled in an associate's degree program will take a number of general education and physical activity classes. The physical activity classes cover topics such as rock climbing, strengthening of muscles, aerobics and cardiovascular exercises. Some associate's degree programs may include instruction on how these physical exercises can help assist people who are trying to rebuild their strength after losing muscle function due to an accident. These programs may include supervised clinical experiences.

Educational Prerequisites

A high school diploma is required for admission into an associate's degree program. In the event an applicant does not have a high school diploma, a GED certificate will be accepted. Some community colleges may request scores for the ACT standardized exam.

Program Coursework

Classes provide a general introduction to the different types of physical activities. Other courses focus on how these activities should be taught. Some possible courses include:

  • Rock climbing
  • CPR and first aid
  • Personal training
  • Weight training
  • Stretching
  • Fitness walking
  • Adventure education
  • Water aerobics

Possible Career Options

Graduates of an associate's degree program in physical fitness and recreation can find work with many different companies and organizations. Some of these include fitness and wellness clubs, spas and community centers. Possible careers include:

  • Fitness instructor
  • Wellness consultant
  • Recreational therapist

Bachelor of Science in Recreation

A Bachelor of Science in Recreation degree program typically allows students to choose an area of specialization. Some common areas of emphasis include recreation therapy, recreation and tourism management and outdoor recreation. However, before beginning coursework in a major area of study, core recreation courses must first be completed. Some of these classes may cover topics such as leadership of activities, legal liability, applications of research and technology, recreation administration and planning activity programs. The goal of these core courses is to major areas of recreation management since many graduates pursue leadership positions. An internship typically concludes a bachelor's degree program.

Educational Prerequisites

A high school diploma is required for admission into a bachelor's degree program in recreation. A university may also request scores for the ACT or the SAT standardized exams. In cases where a student does not have a high school diploma, a GED certificate will be accepted.

Program Coursework

Core classes introduce students to the broad field of recreation. Classes taken in the final years of enrollment will focus on a particular specialty of recreation. Some potential classes include:

  • Recreation therapy assessment
  • Human function and structure
  • Recreational therapy program design
  • Developmental psychology
  • Commercial tourism and recreation
  • Travel resources
  • Recreation resources and maintenance
  • Outdoor recreation

Popular Career Options

A bachelor's degree program opens up leadership opportunities in recreation that are not available to graduates of an associate's degree program. Health care institutions, national parks and fitness companies provide the best opportunity for employment. Some possible career outcomes include:

  • Recreational therapist
  • Park ranger
  • Camp director
  • Health club manager
  • Adventure travel coordinator

Master of Science in Recreation

Much like a bachelor's degree program in recreation, a master's degree allows students to choose an area of specialization. Some areas of concentration include commercial recreation, recreational therapy, leisure marketing, tourism and community services. The goal of a master's degree level program is to develop leadership and management qualities that can be transferred to a specific aspect of the recreation industry. Core courses also provide instruction on research design, the benefits of recreational activities and theories of recreation. Students begin work on a master's degree thesis while taking elective courses in their major area of study. A comprehensive examination may also be required to complete the degree.

Educational Prerequisites

Many schools prefer that applicants hold a bachelor's degree in recreation. However, some universities will accept applicants who have a degree in a closely related area such as physical education, park planning or public administration. Additionally, applicants must submit scores for the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) and submit letters of recommendation. A personal interview and a statement of purpose may also be required.

Program Coursework

The core classes for a master's degree program in recreation will cover areas of research, administration, leadership, theoretical foundations and the quality of life. Some coursework provide students with an opportunity to gain practical experience. Possible courses include:

  • Recreation and research methods
  • Professional development
  • Leisure services management
  • Principles of leisure
  • Private recreation administration
  • Eco-tourism
  • Event planning
  • Aerobic exercises

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the employment of recreation specialists and workers is anticipated to increase by 19% for the 2010-2020 period. The median annual salary for recreation workers, also reported by the BLS, was $22,240 in 2012. Recreation therapists earned a median wage of $42,280 in 2012, and job opportunities were expected to rise by 17% from 2010-2020.

Show me popular schools

Related to Recreation Degrees

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular

University of Southern Mississippi Video Review

Adaptive Recreation Makes Sports Accessible

You're probably familiar with inspiring athletes who have competed in the Paralympic Games, the ultimate athletic competition...

Recreation Therapist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Recreation therapists assist patients in leisure activities to engage and improve their minds, bodies and spirits. Their goal...

Salary and Career Info for a Recreation Instructor

A recreation instructor teaches classes from a wide variety of different areas, including sports, art, dance or crafts, to...

How to Choose a School with a Recreation Therapy Program

Recreation therapists help individuals reduce anxiety, build social skills and improve motor functions through recreational...

Recreation Therapy: Job & Career Information

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • MBA in Sports Management and Recreation

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED; Graduate program applicants must have a master's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BS in General Studies
    • Associate
        • AS in General Studies

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • California (17 campuses)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Consumer Sciences
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Public Administration
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Iowa include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Liberal Arts and Humanities
      • Cultural Studies
      • Ethnic and Gender Studies
      • Geography and Cartography
      • Human and Social Services
      • Liberal Arts, Humanities, and General Studies
      • Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies
      • Philosophy
      • Political Science
      • Religious Studies
      • Social Science and Studies
      • Social Studies and History

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics