No, it’s not just a quirky show starring that cute SNL actress Amy Poehler. But you never know, Parks and Recreation could be your future!

Sure, some jobs will have you wearing green, khaki, and brown, spending a lot of time outdoors, and maybe even hiking through the woods. But other positions are indoors, working from a desk and organizing community programs for the town or city you work for.

Maybe you’ve got loftier career goals? Working on a cruise ship or guiding tours in an exotic destination? If any of that sounds like something you are interested in, you need to get an education in Parks and Recreation.


First you need to get the college degree. Career options are plenty as well as degree options. Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees are available in the following majors:

  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Recreation and Leisure studies
  • Recreational Leadership Management
  • Recreation

Within those majors you will find course work like:

  • Wilderness Training
  • Mountaineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Biology
  • Psychology

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

“In 2012, the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions, a branch of the National Recreation and Park Association, accredited 80 bachelor’s degree programs in recreation or leisure studies.”

Certificate and Associate programs are available from technical and community colleges. A Bachelor’s degree will typically provide you the requirements to get hired for town, state and government jobs. An Associate’s can be entry level for nursing homes, community centers and non-profits looking for Activity and Recreation positions within their organizations.

Work Environment

Recreation workers need to be physically active. They are employed at a variety of places, and most often outdoor work is required. Recreation Workers can do anything from leading a group of seniors in Tai Chi in a city park all the way to running a group of experienced paddlers down Class V rapids in the Grand Canyon!

Here is a sampling of different Parks and Recreation job titles:

  • Director of Aquatics Center
  • Recreation Programs Supervisor
  • Cultural Arts Director
  • Athletic Coordinator
  • Assistant Professor of College Recreation Department
  • City Pool Manager
  • Seasonal Camp Instructor
  • Park Development Manager
  • Senior Park Manager
  • Research Specialist
  • Park Ranger
  • Research and Planning Supervisor
  • Resort Manager
  • Head Athletic Trainer
  • Equipment Store Specialist

As we see, a lot of these positions involve skills in planning, organizing and leading. Your degree program will set you up to perform these and many other tasks required of this occupation. You will need to explain rules and activities to groups of participants. A Recreation Worker needs to enforce safety and may even have to administer basic first aid if the moment arises.


Employment of Recreation Workers is estimated to grow by 14% between the year 2012 and 2022 as stated on the BLS website. A lot of that has to do with national, state and local campaigns emphasizing movement and activity for our nation’s youth. A reaction to our climbing obesity problem here in the U.S should result in an increase in Recreation Jobs for the future.