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What Degree is Necessary to be Successful in the Parks and Recreation Field?

A person who wants to work in a community recreation center or park system may wonder what degree is necessary to be successful in the park and recreation field. Although each municipality has slightly different job requirements for a candidate’s education, a candidate who holds a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field may have an advantage over candidates who do not have a degree. Knowing which type of degree would be the most helpful for working in the parks and recreation field could help a person pick their major or concentration of study.

Education for Entry Level Jobs in Parks and Recreation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that some people enter the parks and recreation field with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree in leisure activities or park management. This could be an option for a person who is starting a new career, going back to work after some time off to raise a family or for someone who wants to earn their degree on a part-time basis while they work. The entry-level jobs include park facilities scheduling, maintenance, recreation activity leaders and summer camp counselors.

Degrees for Advancement in Parks and Recreation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, if a person wants to advance in the parks and recreation field they should have at least a bachelor’s degree in leisure studies, parks management, public administration or a related field. Some other degrees could also be relevant to working in parks and recreation. For example, a degree in social work could prepare a person for coordinating children’s recreation activities or recreation and leisure activities for the elderly. A degree in liberal arts could prepare a person for coordinating a range of activities in a community center. An arts degree could set one up for teaching drawing, painting or ceramics classes in a recreation center.

Choosing a Major for Working in Parks and Recreation

A person who wants to be successful in the parks and recreation field may want to choose a major such as parks management, athletics, revenue management, leisure activities, resource management or administration, nonprofit leadership or wildlife management. Some other options include therapeutic recreation, environmental studies, geriatrics, childhood development, sustainable tourism or community sports.

Some Classes to Include in the Coursework for a Degree

The bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that can help a person have a successful career in the parks and recreation field encompass a wide variety of courses. A person who wants to teach arts or leisure classes at a recreation center might consider classes such as drawing, painting, education, childhood development, geriatrics or ceramics. Someone who wants to coordinate sports activities in parks and recreation centers might take classes in ergonomics, exercise science, physiology, sociology and sports psychology. A person who wants to maintain outdoor facilities should choose courses on sustainability, wildlife, botany and building maintenance.

Related Resource: 10 Best Online Master’s in Parks and Recreation Management

Many people enter the parks and recreation field without a degree and start earning their bachelor’s degree while working. Upon completion of a bachelor’s degree, a person with some work experience may be eligible for promotion to a leadership or management position within a city’s recreation and parks department. Knowing what degree is necessary to be successful in the park and recreation field could help a person plan their courses and pick the right degree program for their future.