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Education and training requirements for recreation workers vary with the type of job, but workers typically need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent and receive on-the-job training.Education and Training
Recreation workers typically need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Many receive on-the-job training that typically lasts less than a month.
Entry-level educational requirements vary with the type of position. For example, an activity leader position working with the elderly will have different requirements than a position as a summer camp counselor working with children.
Some positions may require a bachelor’s degree or college coursework. In 2014, the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions, a branch of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), accredited 80 bachelor’s degree programs in recreation or leisure studies. A bachelor’s degree in other subjects, such as liberal arts or public administration, may also qualify applicants for some positions.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Recreation workers must be able to communicate well. They often work with large groups of people and need to give clear instructions, motivate participants, and maintain order and safety.
Flexibility. Recreation workers must be flexible when planning activities. They must be able to adapt plans to suit changing environmental conditions and participants’ needs.
Leadership skills. Recreation workers should be able to lead both large and small groups. They often lead activities for people of all ages and abilities.
Physical strength. Recreation workers need to be physically fit. Their job may require a considerable amount of movement because they often demonstrate activities while explaining them.
Problem-solving skills. Recreation workers need strong problem-solving skills. They must be able to create and reinvent activities and programs for all types of participants.
For recreation workers who generally work part time, such as camp counselors and activity specialists, certain qualities may be more important than education. These qualities include a worker’s experience leading activities, the ability to work well with children or the elderly, and the ability to ensure the safety of participants.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
The NRPA offers four certifications for recreation workers:
Applicants may qualify for certification with different combinations of education and work experience. They also must take continuing education classes to maintain their certification.
The American Camp Association offers four certificates for various levels of camp staff, from Entry-Level Staff Certificate to Camp Director Certificate. Individuals who complete online courses may show their advanced level of knowledge of core competencies.
Some recreation jobs require other kinds of certification. For example, a lifesaving certificate is often required for teaching or coaching water-related activities. These certifications are available from organizations such as the YMCA or the American Red Cross. Specific requirements vary by job and employer.Advancement
As workers gain experience, they may be promoted to positions with greater responsibilities. Recreation workers with experience and managerial skills may advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Eventually, they may become directors of a recreation department or may start their own recreation company.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Group Leader
Top Careers After Group Leader
Hispanic or Latino11.5%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix15.4%
Pennsylvania State University5.5%
University of Kansas5.4%
Michigan State University5.3%
Grand Canyon University4.4%
New York University4.2%
University of Massachusetts Amherst4.1%
Southern New Hampshire University4.0%
Texas A&M University4.0%
University of Central Florida3.9%
University of North Carolina at Greensboro3.9%
University of Florida3.8%
Bridgewater State University3.8%
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor3.4%
Indiana Wesleyan University3.4%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Group Strategy Lead||R/Ga Media Group, Inc.||New York, NY||Aug 18, 2016||$225,000 -
|Group Leader||Weisscomm Group Limited||Austin, TX||Sep 19, 2015||$210,000|
|Vice President/Group Leader||Goldman, Sachs & Co.||Salt Lake City, UT||Sep 10, 2015||$186,700|
|Applications Group Lead||EMC Corporation||Southborough, MA||Dec 16, 2015||$174,574|
|Group Leader Spectroscopy Group||Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)||Oak Ridge, TN||Aug 06, 2016||$152,131|
|Group Leader||Howard Hughes Medical Institute||Ashburn, VA||Jan 10, 2016||$150,000|
|Group Leader||Howard Hughes Medical Institute||Ashburn, VA||Oct 01, 2016||$150,000|
|Clinical Assistant Professor, Generalist Group Leader||East Carolina University||Greenville, NC||Jan 07, 2016||$145,000|
|Group Leader, Formulation Development||Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC||Piscataway, NJ||May 02, 2016||$144,310|
|Group Head II-Stress Analysis Lead||Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation||Savannah, GA||Jan 19, 2016||$138,445|
|Group Head II-Stress Analysis Lead||Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation||Savannah, GA||Jul 20, 2015||$138,445|
|Group Leader Advanced Data and Workflow||Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)||Oak Ridge, TN||Nov 30, 2015||$135,000|
|Application Group Lead||EMC Corporation||Southborough, MA||Jun 02, 2015||$131,082 -
|Group Leader, Analytical Development||Cambrex Charles City, Inc.||Charles City, IA||Mar 05, 2016||$122,824|
|Group Leader R&D (Amino Resins Group-Core Growth)||Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC||Decatur, GA||Sep 16, 2015||$109,866|
|Group Leader, Surface Conditioning||Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics, Inc.||Northborough, MA||May 27, 2015||$109,400 -
|Development Group Leader||Amdocs Inc.||Seattle, WA||Jul 21, 2015||$106,700 -
|Infra Group Leader||Amdocs Inc.||Seattle, WA||Jan 26, 2015||$104,500|
|Group Leader||Novel Laboratories, Inc.||Somerset, NJ||Sep 14, 2015||$102,939 -
|Development Group Leader||Amdocs Inc.||Richardson, TX||Jan 14, 2015||$101,000|
|Group Leader||Midwest, Inc.||Fairport, NY||Jun 07, 2016||$100,568|
|Group Leader||Howard Hughes Medical Institute||Ashburn, VA||Jan 09, 2016||$100,000|
|Senior Group Leader||General Motors Company||Detroit, MI||Dec 19, 2016||$91,694|
|Development Group Leader||Amdocs Inc.||Richardson, TX||Aug 05, 2015||$91,580|
|Testing Group Leader||Amdocs Inc.||Richardson, TX||Aug 06, 2015||$90,365|
|Group Leader/Chemist||Xenobiotic Laboratories Inc. A Div of WUXI||Plainsboro, NJ||Apr 15, 2015||$90,000|
|Silicones Research Group Leader||Gelest, Inc.||Morrisville, PA||Oct 01, 2015||$89,800|
|Infra Group Leader||Amdocs Inc.||Mount Laurel, NJ||Aug 28, 2015||$89,773|
|Infra Group Leader||Amdocs Inc.||Mount Laurel, NJ||Feb 23, 2015||$89,773|
|Software Group Lead||Pelco||Clovis, CA||Aug 12, 2015||$89,586 -
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