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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 Program Lead
Top Careers After Program Lead
Hispanic or Latino15.6%
Black or African American0.7%
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University of Phoenix13.1%
California State University - Dominguez Hills6.6%
College of the Sequoias5.9%
California State University - Fullerton5.7%
San Francisco State University5.2%
Long Beach City College5.2%
California State University - San Bernardino5.0%
San Diego State University4.7%
Kansas State University4.6%
San Jose State University4.6%
Arizona State University4.5%
University of California - Irvine4.2%
Michigan State University4.0%
California State University - Long Beach3.9%
University of California - Riverside3.7%
California State University - Los Angeles3.7%
New York University3.7%
Pennsylvania State University3.7%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Program Lead||Accenture LLP||San Francisco, CA||Feb 18, 2014||$187,365|
|Program Lead, Marketing Partnerships Program||Facebook, Inc.||Menlo Park, CA||Apr 20, 2015||$165,000|
|Program Lead, Marketing Partnerships Program||Facebook, Inc.||Menlo Park, CA||Apr 25, 2016||$165,000 -
|Program Lead||Citigroup Technology, Inc.||Warren, NJ||Aug 01, 2014||$153,000|
|Emerging Partnerships Lead, US-PMP Program||KIK Us Inc.||New York, NY||Nov 24, 2014||$150,000 -
|Emerging Partnerships Lead, US-PMP Program||KIK Us Inc.||New York, NY||Dec 01, 2014||$150,000 -
|S/W Implementation Program Lead||Comverse, Inc.||Mount Laurel, NJ||Jan 27, 2016||$141,731|
|Program Lead||Citigroup Technology, Inc.||New York, NY||Oct 31, 2014||$140,000|
|Operations Engineer Program Lead||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Jun 17, 2016||$137,700 -
|Program Lead||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Mar 23, 2016||$135,000|
|Technical Program Lead (Operations)||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Jul 07, 2016||$133,968 -
|Program Lead||Iforward Solutions LLC||Houston, TX||Nov 01, 2013||$130,000|
|Program Lead||Iforward Solutions LLC||Redmond, WA||Mar 11, 2013||$130,000|
|Supply Acquisition Program Lead||Airbnb, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Mar 27, 2016||$128,520|
|Application Program Lead||United Guaranty Corporation||Greensboro, NC||Mar 10, 2016||$118,000|
|Program Leader, Innovation Efforts, Composite Solu||Owens Corning Science & Technology, LLC||Granville, OH||Aug 04, 2014||$116,133|
|Dmts-System Analysis and Programs (Lead System Consultant)||Verizon Telematics Inc.||Atlanta, GA||Nov 20, 2015||$115,589|
|Program Leader||Owens Corning Science and Technology, LLC||Granville, OH||Aug 06, 2015||$115,000|
|Intra-Oral Dental Program Lead||Teledyne Rad-Icon Imaging||Santa Clara, CA||Apr 12, 2015||$114,455|
|Program Lead||Citigroup Technology, Inc.||Warren, NJ||Jan 27, 2016||$112,500|
|Applications Program Lead||United Guaranty Corporation||Greensboro, NC||Aug 08, 2014||$112,000|
|Engineering Program Leader||General Electric Company-Infrastructure||Schenectady, NY||Oct 01, 2015||$102,000|
|Program Lead||Veryday Inc.||New York, NY||Sep 11, 2015||$102,000 -
|Program Lead||Biztech Solutions Inc.||Redmond, WA||Feb 28, 2013||$101,379|
|Program Lead||Biztech Solutions Inc.||Redmond, WA||Mar 14, 2013||$101,379|
|Program Lead, Utility Economics||Intertek USA Inc., DBA Intertek Caleb Brett||Sunnyvale, CA||Jan 04, 2013||$100,984|
|NPI Program Lead||Philips Medical Systems (Cleveland), Inc.||Cleveland, OH||Apr 10, 2016||$100,040|
|AM Warranty Program Leader||General Electric Company||Waukesha, WI||Aug 15, 2016||$100,000 -
|Application Program Lead||United Guaranty Corporation||Greensboro, NC||Mar 16, 2016||$100,000|
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