How to Become a Recreation Director

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Recreation is a very important concept that focuses on a variety of leisure and athletic activities to promote the overall physical and mental well being of individuals. Recreation directors are highly trained and experienced professionals that manage a variety of recreation programs for parks, community centers, schools, playgrounds, and many other settings.


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What does a recreation director do?

Recreation directors plan, coordinate, and manage many different recreation programs for a variety of facilities and organizations. They are responsible for ensuring the overall function of recreational facilities. They are involved in program development, managing recreation staff, and overseeing sports operations such as spending activities and development of budgets. They are also responsible for facility maintenance, payroll, and program and employee evaluation. Recreation directors often act as technical advisors to local and state recreation departments to assist with policies, procedures, programs, and budgets.

What kind of training does a recreation director need?

Recreation directors typically need at least a bachelor degree in parks and recreation, sport management, or other related field. Many recreation directors have a master degree in recreation. Many employers prefer applicants with sufficient experience in the recreation field. Prospective recreation directors often begin their careers as recreation workers and advance to higher-level positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Aspiring recreation directions typically complete courses in public administration, sports management, recreation activities, and business administration. Many recreation directors gain certification from the National Recreation and Park Association. Certification requirements include minimum education and experience and passing a written examination. Certified recreation directors must complete regular continuing education to maintain their certifications and keep their skills up to date.

What are the prospects for a career as a recreation director?

Employment of recreation directors is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 15% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased demand for recreation services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for recreation directors with extensive experience and advanced education. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace recreation directors that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do recreation directors make?

As of January 2010, recreation directors with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $33,606 and $50,719. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $38,809 and $58,421 (2).

A career as a recreation director is an excellent choice for people with a strong interest in recreation and overseeing the overall function of a variety of recreation programs. Recreation directors must have a solid understanding of the policies and procedures of recreation programs and the ability to ensure effective function. Determination, detail orientation, and good leadership abilities are necessary characteristics. Recreation directors must have excellent communication and the ability to successfully manage others. They must use their time wisely and be able to make quick and effective decisions.

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