In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. In particular, the ACS data is reported for the larger career group recreation and fitness workers, which combines the data for 2 careers, including recreation workers. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.
The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?
Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.
With 55% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 71% of careers.
As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for recreation and fitness workers, with the median salary for men 19% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.
Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Recreation and fitness workers have one of the middle percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase for the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job higher than that for 56% of other jobs.
The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. The percentage of minority recreation and fitness workers falls in about the middle of all careers' percentages. There is a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.
For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), recreation workers typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as recreation and fitness workers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for recreation and fitness workers.
The NRPA offers four certifications for recreation workers:
Applicants may qualify for certification with different combinations of education and work experience. They also must take continuing education classes to maintain their certification.
The American Camp Association offers certificates for various levels of camp staff, including Entry-Level Program Staff Certificate and Camp Director Certificate. Individuals who complete online courses may show their advanced level of knowledge of core competencies.
Some recreation jobs require other kinds of certification. For example, first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certifications may be required for leading camp or sports activities. These certifications are available from organizations such as the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.
Jobs for recreation workers may also require a valid driver’s license and the ability to pass a background check.
Specific requirements vary by job and employer.
What level of education is truly needed for recreation and fitness workers? Below we see the distribution of recreation and fitness workers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as recreation and fitness workers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.
This table shows the college majors held by people working as recreation and fitness workers. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.
If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!
With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as recreation and fitness workers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by recreation and fitness workers given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.
What jobs will most recreation and fitness workers hold next year?
The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.
Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of recreation and fitness workers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?
A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as recreation and fitness workers as well as 1% of respondents after working as recreation and fitness workers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.
What do people typically do before and after they work as recreation and fitness workers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of recreation and fitness workers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.
Recreation workers typically do the following:
The specific responsibilities of recreation workers vary greatly with their job title, their level of training, and the state they work in.
The following are examples of types of recreation workers:
Activity specialists provide instruction and coaching primarily in one activity, such as dance, swimming, or tennis. These workers may work in camps, aquatic centers, or anywhere else where there is interest in a single activity.
Recreation leaders are responsible for a recreation program’s daily operation. They primarily organize and direct participants, schedule the use of facilities, set up and keep records of equipment use, and ensure that recreation facilities and equipment are used and maintained properly. They may lead classes and provide instruction in a recreational activity, such as kayaking or golf.
Camp counselors work directly with youths in residential (overnight) or day camps. They often lead and instruct children and teenagers in a variety of outdoor activities, such as swimming, hiking, horseback riding, or nature study. Counselors also provide guidance and supervise daily living and socialization. Some counselors may specialize in a specific activity, such as archery, boating, music, drama, or gymnastics.
Can you see yourself in the ranks of recreation workers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
In 2018, the median (middle) for 94% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for recreation workers. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.
Currently, jobs for recreation workers are anticipated to grow by 9% over the next decade, which is faster growth than is predicted for 57% of other jobs.
The projected employment for recreation workers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Which states hire the most recreation workers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as recreation workers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.
One important factor in the differences between ACS and BLS data is that the ACS numbers are for all recreation and fitness workers, comprised of all specialities listed in the menu bar, and you can choose to view the BLS at the specialty or full career level.
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information. The ACS salaries are for all recreation and fitness workers, which combines the specialities from which you can choose at the top of the page.
If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Recreation and fitness workers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)
There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide: