Parks and recreation employment gives you many opportunities to influence land use, habitat preservation, parks, and even provide education and volunteer opportunities to the community. Most city and county agencies have a parks and recreation department that oversees all the areas parks, trails, waterways, sports facilities, and other community facilities such as community centers. State parks and recreation departments manage parks owned by the state. The responsibilities are vast and involve maintaining those parks, providing enrichment programs for the community, and making plans for the future use of open space.
The job duties will depend on which department within parks and recreation you work and what position you hold. For example, if you work at the pool, then you will be performing duties related to the aquatic center. If you work in the community services department, then you may be providing education classes to kids and adults by teaching them yourself and/or bringing in experts to teach the courses. If you work at a nature center, then you will be involved with maintaining the center and educating school kids and other visitors.
Job duties can include:
- * Park maintenance and design
- *Management, design, and conservation of local wildlife areas, waterways, and trails
- *Coordination with local community members and businesses
- *Management and/or coordination of youth sports programs
- *Develop youth and adult educational programs ranging from environmental education to personal finance classes to hunting and boater safety
- * Administrative work
- *Aquatics facility and program coordination
- *Contribute to local land use master planning
- *Develop and manage volunteer programs
- *Special events planning
Just as with the job duties, the working conditions will depend on the position. Some work 40 hours a week in an office while others spend all their time outdoors no matter the season.
Parks and Recreation Employment Salary
Entry-level positions will earn about minimum wage to $15 an hour without benefits. Mid-range positions can earn about $40,000 to $75,000 a year, while a director of the entire parks and recreation department will earn over $100,000 a year.
Education and Experience Requirements
There are entry-level positions available in most parks and recreation departments. Many are temporary seasonal position perfect for high school and college students. And these positions can be in most any program from lifeguarding at the pool to leading summer camps to maintaining parks. For these positions, you would need an interest in parks and recreation programs. Previous employment history will help you compete as well, especially if it involves customer service, working with children, and/or maintenance work.
To work in the higher positions such as a program coordinator, you will need experience working for a government agency such as the parks and recreation department or other relevant experience. You will also need some college. Program managers and directors usually need a bachelor’s degree in parks and recreation management, land use, environmental science, or other related field of study.
You will need knowledge of the specific program you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to work with the sports program, you should be familiar with what sports are played, how the teams are managed, and the facilities needed to maintain the activities. Strong computer skills are needed to learn and use the computer programs. Parks and recreation database programs are specific to the needs of the agency and not generally found outside of government agencies. You will also need good people, skills as these positions serve the community.
Where to Find Parks and Recreation Employment
You can find parks and recreation employment by checking the job postings at your local government agencies. City, county, and states have parks and recreation departments.