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Working as a Parks Recreation Director

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a parks recreation director. For example, did you know that they make an average of $21.7 an hour? That's $45,144 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 8% and produce 33,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Parks Recreation Director Do

There are certain skills that many parks recreation directors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed for recreation workers who generally work part time, such as camp counselors and activity specialists, certain qualities may be more important than education, leadership skills and communication skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a parks recreation director, we found that a lot of resumes listed 15.0% of parks recreation directors included recreation department, while 9.6% of resumes included flag football, and 7.3% of resumes included special events. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the parks recreation director job title. But what industry to start with? Most parks recreation directors actually find jobs in the government and hospitality industries.

How To Become a Parks Recreation Director

If you're interested in becoming a parks recreation director, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 53.2% of parks recreation directors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 20.3% of parks recreation directors have master's degrees. Even though most parks recreation directors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a parks recreation director. When we researched the most common majors for a parks recreation director, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on parks recreation director resumes include high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a parks recreation director. In fact, many parks recreation director jobs require experience in a role such as recreation supervisor. Meanwhile, many parks recreation directors also have previous career experience in roles such as internship or director.

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Average Salary$45,144
Job Growth Rate8%

Parks Recreation Director Jobs

Parks Recreation Director Career Paths

Top Careers Before Parks Recreation Director

Top Careers After Parks Recreation Director

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Average Salary for a Parks Recreation Director

Parks Recreation Directors in America make an average salary of $45,144 per year or $22 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $68,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $29,000 per year.
Average Salary
$45,144

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Jose, CA
Salary Range95k - 208k$141k$141,402
Yuma, AZ
Salary Range66k - 150k$100k$99,847
Kearns, UT
Salary Range65k - 141k$96k$96,030
Pearland, TX
Salary Range58k - 126k$86k$85,995
Washington, DC
Salary Range43k - 91k$63k$63,249
Knoxville, TN
Salary Range41k - 82k$58k$58,425
$31k
$208k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Director, Washington State Parks (07354)
Director, Washington State Parks (07354)
Washington State
Washington State
11/10/2020
11/10/2020
$146,00011/10/2020
$146,000
Director of Parks and Recreation
Director of Parks and Recreation
City of East Grand Rapids
City of East Grand Rapids
11/09/2020
11/09/2020
$80,11311/09/2020
$80,113
Parks & Recreation Director
Parks & Recreation Director
City of Belle Glade
City of Belle Glade
09/30/2020
09/30/2020
$66,88109/30/2020
$66,881
Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Director of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
International City Management
International City Management
09/24/2020
09/24/2020
$95,58609/24/2020
$95,586
Parks and Recreation Director
Parks and Recreation Director
International City Management
International City Management
09/24/2020
09/24/2020
$167,14409/24/2020
$167,144
See More Recent Salaries

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Parks Recreation Director Demographics

Gender

male

66.0 %

female

29.8 %

unknown

4.1 %

Ethnicity

White

66.2 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.4 %

Black or African American

11.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

72.2 %

German

5.6 %

Japanese

5.6 %
See More Demographics

Parks Recreation Director Education

Majors

Business
16.3 %

Degrees

Bachelors

53.2 %

Masters

20.3 %

High School Diploma

10.4 %

Top Colleges for Parks Recreation Directors

1. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

2. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

3. SUNY College at Cortland

Cortland, NY

In-State Tuition
$8,536
Enrollment
6,325

4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

5. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

6. Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor, MI

In-State Tuition
$28,810
Enrollment
1,671

7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

In-State Tuition
$15,094
Enrollment
32,974

8. Howard University

Washington, DC

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

9. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

10. Winona State University

Winona, MN

In-State Tuition
$9,425
Enrollment
7,052
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Parks Recreation Director

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Parks Recreation Director

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.0% of parks recreation directors listed recreation department on their resume, but soft skills such as for recreation workers who generally work part time, such as camp counselors and activity specialists, certain qualities may be more important than education and leadership skills are important as well.

Best States For a Parks Recreation Director

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a parks recreation director. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and California. Parks recreation directors make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $150,449. Whereas in Oregon and Washington, they would average $144,274 and $130,427, respectively. While parks recreation directors would only make an average of $118,927 in California, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Parks Recreation Director Jobs:
675
Highest 10% Earn:
$213,000
Location Quotient:
1.32
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Parks Recreation Director Jobs:
14
Highest 10% Earn:
$186,000
Location Quotient:
1.94
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Hawaii

Total Parks Recreation Director Jobs:
10
Highest 10% Earn:
$216,000
Location Quotient:
0.94
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Parks Recreation Director Employers

1. PHOENIX magazine
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$48,724
Parks Recreation Directors Hired: 
4+
2. Kansas School For the Blind
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$31,342
Parks Recreation Directors Hired: 
4+
3. South Clinton Community Center
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$33,270
Parks Recreation Directors Hired: 
4+
4. Delano Park
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$42,580
Parks Recreation Directors Hired: 
4+
5. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$27,710
Parks Recreation Directors Hired: 
4+
6. San Diego County Credit Union
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$35,750
Parks Recreation Directors Hired: 
3+

Parks Recreation Director Videos

Recently Added Parks Recreation Director Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020