Associate's Degree in Park and Recreation Administration
Earning a degree in parks and recreation administration can prepare you to oversee facilities like parks, community centers, YMCAs and resorts. Check the availability of parks and recreation administration degree programs, find out what courses you'd study, and learn more about your job options.
Why Should I Pursue an Associate's Degree in Park and Recreation Administration?
The academic requirements for park and recreation jobs vary, though you could improve your chances for administration and management jobs with some formal education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), earning a degree and obtaining some experience in a recreation field or management is usually recommended or required for administration jobs. In fact, an associate's degree in a discipline related to park and recreation is usually a minimum requirement for these positions (www.bls.gov).
Many community colleges and technical schools offer 2-year park and recreation management Associate of Science programs. You can usually transfer your credit from these programs to a 4-year bachelor's degree program. Additionally, Associate of Applied Science or even Associate of Applied Business programs are available if you would like to start working immediately after graduation.
|Degree Options||Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Applied Business|
|Common Courses||Accounting, facilities management, recreational leadership, marketing, organizational behavior|
|Online Options||Bachelor's degree|
|Career Options||Grounds supervisor, recreation specialist, recreation supervisor|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||9% for Recreation Workers*|
|Median annual Salary (May 2018)||$25,060 for Recreation Workers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Can I Expect From a Program?
In a park and recreation administration associate's degree program, you can learn to plan activities for a recreational facility or preserve a park's natural resources. Some courses you might encounter include accounting and marketing, facilities management, organizational behavior, leisure activities, and recreational leadership. Additional courses can teach you how to budget a facility's resources or train other recreation workers. Programs also include internships or practicums that must be completed at a school-approved facility.
Will I Be Able to Complete Any Coursework Online?
While you probably won't be able to find any online associate's degree programs in park and recreation administration, there are bachelor's degree programs that can be completed through distance education. These are usually offered as regular 4-year programs or degree completion programs if you've already earned some college credit or an associate's degree.
What Can I Do With This Degree Once I Graduate?
Once you earn an associate's degree in park and recreation administration, you might be able to qualify for supervisory positions at health and recreation centers, YMCAs, resorts, hotels, cruise ships, community centers, and senior centers. You could also work as a grounds supervisor or recreation specialist at these facilities. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for recreation workers, which included recreation leaders and supervisors, were expected to increase 9% from 2016-2026. This was due to the increased leisure time and disposable income among retirees as well as an increasing concern for physical fitness for all age groups. As of May 2018, these professionals earned a median salary of $25,060.
If you'd like to increase your advancement potential, you might consider earning a professional certification from the National Recreation and Park Association. If you hold an associate's degree and have completed at least five years of related full-time work experience, you can sit for the Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) examination (www.nrpa.org).