Is becoming a recreation worker right for me?
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How to become a Recreation Worker
Although a degree can be helpful, for many part-time recreation workers, such as camp counsellors and activity specialists, other qualities are more important. These qualities include a worker’s maturity level, experience leading activities, ability to work well with children or the elderly, and the ability to ensure safety of participants. Most seasonal and part-time workers learn through on-the-job training. Specialized training or experience in a particular field, such as art, music, drama, or athletics, may help in obtaining a job.
Most recreation workers who work full time need at least a bachelor’s degree. Recreation workers who work full time include those working in administrative positions or for large organizations. Degrees in parks and recreation or in leisure studies may prepare a student better than a liberal arts degree. However, either type of degree may be enough for some jobs. Associate’s and bachelor's degree programs in parks and recreation, leisure studies, or related fields are available at colleges and universities. Master’s or doctoral degree programs also may be available, but are less common.
All programs include courses in management, community organization, supervision, administration, and development of programs for populations with specific needs, such as the elderly or disabled. Students may specialize in areas such as therapeutic recreation, park management, outdoor recreation, industrial or commercial recreation, and camp management.
Employers hiring recreation workers in supervisory or administrative positions often prefer applicants with work experience and at least a master’s degree in parks and recreation, business administration, or public administration. Most require at least an associate’s degree in recreation studies or a related field.