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Become A Recreation Director

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Working As A Recreation Director

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $23,320

    Average Salary

What Does A Recreation Director Do

Recreation workers design and lead recreational and leisure activities for groups in volunteer agencies or recreation facilities, such as playgrounds, parks, camps, aquatic centers, and senior centers. They may lead activities such as arts and crafts, dance, sports, adventure programs, music, and camping.

Duties

Recreation workers typically do the following:

  • Plan, organize, and lead activities for groups or recreation centers
  • Explain the rules of activities and instruct participants at a variety of skill levels
  • Enforce safety rules to prevent injury
  • Modify activities to suit the needs of specific groups, such as seniors
  • Administer basic first aid if needed
  • Organize and set up the equipment that is used in recreational activities

The specific responsibilities of recreation workers vary greatly with their job title, their level of training, and the state they work in. The following are examples of types of recreation workers:

Activity specialists provide instruction and coaching primarily in one activity, such as dance, swimming, or tennis. These workers may work in camps, aquatic centers, or anywhere else where there is interest in a single activity.

Recreation leaders are responsible for a recreation program’s daily operation. They primarily organize and direct participants, schedule the use of facilities, set up and keep records of equipment use, and ensure that recreation facilities and equipment are used and maintained properly. They may lead classes and provide instruction in a recreational activity, such as kayaking or golf.

Camp counselors work directly with youths in residential (overnight) or day camps. They often lead and instruct children and teenagers in a variety of outdoor activities, such as swimming, hiking, horseback riding, or nature study. Counselors also provide guidance and supervise daily living and socialization. Some counselors may specialize in a specific activity, such as archery, boating, music, drama, or gymnastics.

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How To Become A Recreation Director

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:

  • Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP)
  • Certified Parks and Recreation Executive (CPRE)
  • Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO)
  • Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI)

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.

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Recreation Director jobs

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Recreation Director Demographics

Gender

Female

54.0%

Male

44.2%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

84.4%

Hispanic or Latino

8.4%

Asian

5.6%

Unknown

1.1%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.2%

French

13.5%

German

7.7%

Arabic

5.8%

Portuguese

3.8%

Hebrew

3.8%

Swedish

1.9%

Hawaiian

1.9%

Chinese

1.9%

Vietnamese

1.9%

Dakota

1.9%

Russian

1.9%

Carrier

1.9%

Cantonese

1.9%

Mandarin

1.9%

Polish

1.9%

Korean

1.9%
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Recreation Director Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.9%

Southern Connecticut State University

8.9%

Liberty University

8.4%

Eastern Kentucky University

5.9%

Temple University

5.0%

University of Southern Mississippi

5.0%

Grand Canyon University

5.0%

Central Michigan University

4.5%

University of New Hampshire

4.0%

California University of Pennsylvania

4.0%

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

4.0%

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

4.0%

State University of New York College at Cortland

4.0%

Springfield College

4.0%

University of Connecticut

4.0%

Georgia Southern University

4.0%

Indiana University Bloomington

4.0%

Kean University

4.0%

Minnesota State University - Mankato

3.5%

Florida State University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

13.1%

Recreation Management

12.7%

Kinesiology

11.6%

Rehabilitation Science

11.6%

Education

6.6%

Health Education

6.3%

Psychology

5.4%

Management

3.9%

Elementary Education

3.8%

Communication

3.4%

Human Services

3.0%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Social Work

2.5%

Sociology

2.2%

Nursing

2.1%

Educational Leadership

2.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.7%

Liberal Arts

1.6%

Health Care Administration

1.6%

Hospitality Management

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.6%

Masters

23.8%

Other

16.7%

Associate

5.9%

Certificate

3.6%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.5%

Diploma

0.3%
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Real Recreation Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director-Recreational Sports Oregon State University Corvallis, OR Feb 01, 2015 $123,000
Director-Recreational Sports Oregon State University Corvallis, OR Jan 02, 2015 $123,000
Director of Recreation Services Desert Recreation District Indio, CA Sep 30, 2010 $106,433
Director of Recreation Playcore, Inc. Chattanooga, TN Sep 13, 2014 $60,000
Recreation Director Lewis Resource Management, LLC San Antonio, TX Aug 19, 2013 $60,000 -
$70,000
Director of Recreation Downtown United Soccer Club Inc. New York, NY Feb 14, 2013 $54,000
Director of Recreation Downtown United Soccer Club Inc. New York, NY Feb 14, 2010 $36,500
Director of Sports and Recreation The Mar-A-Lago Club Palm Beach, FL Mar 01, 2011 $33,392
Director of Sports and Recreation The Mar-A-Lago Club Palm Beach, FL Mar 01, 2011 $33,280

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Top Skills for A Recreation Director

RecreationFacilitiesRecreationProgramsRecreationalActivitiesCarePlanMeetingsSpecialEventsSuperviseRecreationDepartmentSafeEnvironmentMDSCustomerServiceDailyActivitiesDementiaStaffMembersSoccerRecreationStaffActivityProgramAnnualBudgetAlzheimerNewProgramsDepartmentBudget

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Top Recreation Director Skills

  1. Recreation Facilities
  2. Recreation Programs
  3. Recreational Activities
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Manage or oversee fitness or recreation facilities, ensuring safe and clean facilities and equipment.
  • Develop and initiate recreation programs aimed at improving participant health, knowledge and feelings of self worth.
  • Planned all recreational activities for geriatric population and charted progress.
  • Attended care plan meetings, completed necessary assessments and maintained a monthly budget.
  • Managed a 9-member recreation team in program management and organization of youth activities and special events.

Top Recreation Director Employers

Recreation Director Videos

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Recreation Director - Career Conversation

New Vancouver Parks and Recreation Director

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