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Recreation and Leisure Major Careers

Recreation and Leisure Career Information

Area

Employer

Commercial Recreation
Resort and Private Recreation

  • Administration
  • Guest Relations:
    • Trip Planning and Reservations
  • Sales/Marketing
  • Event/Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Facilities Management
  • Convention services
  • Event planning companies
  • Corporate employee services
  • Hotels
  • Resorts
  • Theme/amusement parks
  • Casinos
  • Country clubs
  • Motor home parks
  • Campgrounds
  • Boating/marina facilities
  • Second home communities
  • Travel/tourism companies
  • Guide services
  • Ecotourism agencies
  • Cruise, air, bus and rail lines
 
  • Develop strong communication and customer service skills and the ability to work well with people from various backgrounds.
  • Acquire foreign language experience and study abroad to increase multicultural perspective.
  • Seek employment with resorts, hotels, recreation departments or special events companies.
  • Pursue positions in reservations or telephone sales to build sales and customer service skills.
  • Volunteer at university and community-wide conferences.
  • Join student organizations related to travel or recreation and seek leadership and planning opportunities.
  • Increase knowledge of business theory by pursuing a minor or by taking additional classes in management, advertising and public relations.
 

Commercial Recreation
Local Recreation

  • Administration
  • Facilities Management
  • Sales/Marketing
  • Event/Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Multipurpose sports clubs
  • Racquet clubs
  • Dance studios
  • Health and fitness clubs
  • Pools
  • Golf courses
  • Sport-related franchises, eg. Little Gym, My Gym
  • Bowling alleys
  • Skating rinks
  • Movie theaters
  • Party services
  • Entertainment providers
  • Event planning companies
  • Festivals and fairs
  • Vendors
  • Seek experience through related internships, part-time or summer jobs at campus and community recreational facilities.
  • Join student organizations such as campus entertainment board, cultural attractions committee or student union.
  • Participate in planning/executing community events and activities, i.e. fairs, festivals, sporting events, conventions.
  • Develop membership sales techniques for some customer-service positions.
 

Government Recreation

  • Administration
  • Program Management
  • Recreation Management
  • Recreation Planning
  • Park Development/Management
  • Natural Resource Management
  • City, county or regional government agencies:
    • Parks
    • Public recreation/education programs
  • State and federal government agencies:
    • Parks, forests, wildlife areas and water resources
  • Conservation organizations
  • Department of Defense:
    • Military bases in U.S. and foreign countries
  • Correctional facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
 
  • Learn federal, state and local job application procedures.
  • Obtain experience with government agencies.
  • Participate in campus and local recreation programs and activities.
  • Volunteer to lead teams or organize committees in local recreation leagues.
  • Take additional coursework in wildlife, turf or natural resource management, exercise science or other related field to increase marketability.
 

Community Recreation

  • Administration
  • Camp Management
  • Program Management
  • Community Center Management
  • Programming
  • Coaching
  • Community centers
  • Community programs
  • Senior centers
  • Adult daycare centers
  • Special Olympics
  • Youth programs, i.e. YMCA or YWCA
  • Sports leagues
  • Camps and outdoor recreational programs
  • Nonprofit, social service and religiously-affiliated organizations
  • Obtain experience with community-based programs, camps, youth groups, etc. through paid, intern or volunteer positions.
  • Get involved in campus activities and seek leadership roles.
  • Learn to work well with people from varying backgrounds with varying abilities.
 

Faith-Based Recreation

  • Administration
  • Program Management
  • Facility Management
  • Churches
  • Synagogues
  • Mosques
  • Para-church organizations, i.e. Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade for Christ
  • Understand the relationship between religion, sport and recreation.
  • Participate in faith-based recreational programs, and seek leadership experience.
  • Develop skills for working in multi-cultural environments.
  • Research major programs such as AWANA and CYO (Catholic Youth Organization).
  • Attend training seminars that target sport and recreation in religious organizations such as RecLab.
 

Recreation Retailing

  • Management
  • Buying/Purchasing
  • Small Business Ownership
  • Department stores
  • Specialty shops
  • Pro shops/Club stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Outdoor outfitters
 
  • Obtain a part-time job or internship in sales to gain experience, as these positions are often stepping stones to higher-level opportunities.
  • Develop excellent interpersonal, communication and customer service skills.
  • Hone management and persuasion techniques.
  • Seek experience in all retail areas including purchasing, stock control and merchandise display and promotions.
  • Pursue expertise in a recreational area such as hiking, fishing, boating, skiing or hunting.
  • Take additional coursework in business or pursue a business minor.
  • Plan to work long and/or irregular hours, including holidays.
 

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Administration
  • Student Affairs including:
    • Student Activities
    • Campus Programming
    • Campus Recreation, i.e. outdoor recreation programs, facilities management, fitness programming, intramural/club sports
  • Colleges and universities
  • Public and private schools (K-12)
  • Public and private preschool programs (e.g., Head Start)
  • Programs servicing children and adults with special needs
 
  • Earn a graduate degree for teaching at the college and university level.
  • Research the process for teacher certification in the K-12 system, which varies by state.
  • Seek part-time or summer jobs working with youth.
  • Serve as a tutor, peer mentor, resident assistant or student advisor.
  • Utilize campus recreational programs and facilities, including intramural sports, as a first step in pursuing student affairs positions.
 

Therapeutic Recreation

  • Administration/Management:
    • Programs and Staff
    • Evaluation and Documentation
  • Specialties:
    • Intervention
    • Aquatic
    • Outdoor
  • Rehabilitation hospitals/centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Senior centers
  • Adult daycare centers
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Residential facilities
  • Psychiatric facilities
  • Community mental health centers
  • Substance abuse centers
  • Recovery centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Educational facilities
  • Camps and outdoor recreational programs
 
  • Pursue a major in therapeutic recreation or a program with a therapeutic recreation focus.
  • Volunteer and intern in therapeutic recreation settings such as camps, senior centers and rehabilitation facilities.
  • Demonstrate ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team with physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists.
  • Earn relevant licensure or certification; regulation varies by state. Consider specialization in areas such as aquatics, intervention, outdoor recreation and art therapy.
  • Exhibit patience, creativity, motivational skills and a high comfort level working with people of all ages including those who are sick or disabled.
 

General Information and Strategies

  • An undergraduate degree is sufficient for entry-level recreation positions. A graduate degree may be required for administrative positions and teaching/research positions at universities and colleges.
  • Obtain summer, part-time, internship or volunteer experience in camps, recreation/fitness centers, social service organizations, tourist attractions, etc.
  • Develop solid background of recreational and leisure theories and therapeutic practices.
  • Develop broad knowledge base of recreational activities such as athletics, music, arts and crafts, nature, dance, drama, etc.
  • Hone leadership and supervisory skills for coordinating and directing others in various activities.
  • Obtain Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential offered through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification for some positions. Certification in first aid and safety, CPR or life-guarding may be helpful.
  • Demonstrate strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills and the ability to work on a team.
  • Learn to interact effectively with people of various ages, backgrounds and ability levels.
  • Exhibit physical agility, stamina and a motivational spirit. An interest in working outdoors is essential for some positions.
  • Join related professional associations. Attend state/national professional association conferences.
  • Seek knowledge of U.S. and world geography, history, social customs and languages for some opportunities.
  • Consider participating in the Walt Disney College Program.

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