Kind Readers, if you have a passion for outdoor recreation and are ready to pursue a career that combines your love for nature with your desire to make a difference, a Master’s in Recreation could be just the program for you. This degree program is ideal for those who want to excel in creating, managing and programming outdoor recreation spaces, events and facilities. With a mix of practical and theoretical knowledge, a Masters in Recreation prepares students for both the unique challenges and opportunities in the field and gives them a competitive edge in today’s job market.
What is a Master’s in Recreation?
A master’s in recreation is a graduate level program that focuses on the study of recreational activities, their social and cultural impact, and how they can be managed. It is a multidisciplinary field that covers everything from sport management, tourism, hospitality, and outdoor recreation. A master’s degree in this field equips graduates with the knowledge and leadership skills to manage various recreational organizations, events, and facilities.
Career Paths for Graduates with a Master’s in Recreation
Graduates from a master’s in recreation can work in a variety of settings, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, community-based clubs, and private sectors. Here are some common career paths for graduates:
|No||Job Title||Job Description||Average Salary|
|1||Recreation Director||Oversee recreational programs for local government agencies, community centers, and other organizations||$63,000|
|2||Event Planner||Plan and execute successful events such as festivals, conferences, and sporting events||$50,000|
|3||Operations Manager||Manage recreational facilities, such as parks, campgrounds, and sports complexes||$70,000|
|4||Sport Program Coordinator||Organize and oversee sporting events, workshops, and tournaments||$45,000|
Reasons to Pursue a Master’s in Recreation
Here are some reasons why you should consider pursuing a master’s degree in recreation:
- Gain broad knowledge of the recreational industry
- Develop comprehensive skills in management
- Network with industry professionals and make connections for future employment
- Specialize in a particular aspect of recreation through concentration options in programs
- Opportunity for hands-on experience and internships with potential employers
Career Opportunities with a Masters in Recreation
Graduates with a Masters in Recreation degree have an array of career opportunities that they can explore. Some tend to work in national parks, state parks, and recreational areas, while others prefer to work in community centers, non-profit organizations, or local government agencies. Listed below are some of the popular career options that you can opt for after getting a Masters in Recreation degree:
Park and Recreation Director
Park and recreation directors plan, manage, and coordinate recreational activities, programs, facilities, and parks. They develop and implement policies, procedures, and standards for the parks and recreational activities. In some cases, they may oversee the maintenance and management of parks and facilities. Their main goal is to develop and improve the quality of life of individuals by offering recreational activities and parks.
Recreation Program Director
Recreation Program Directors develop and manage recreation programs for a parks department, community center, or other facility. They hire instructors and trainers who can teach various recreational activities such as sports, games, and arts and crafts. They are responsible for organizing, promoting, and supervising recreational programs and managing the staff that delivers these programs.
Recreation Center Manager
A Recreation Center Manager is responsible for managing all aspects of a recreation center, including programs, facilities, equipment, and staff. They oversee daily operations, maintenance, and safety issues, and they develop new programs and activities to attract visitors to the recreation center. They are also responsible for managing budgets and developing policies and procedures for the recreation center.
Outdoor Recreation Manager
Outdoor Recreation Managers work at state and national parks, campgrounds, and other outdoor recreational facilities. They develop and implement programs and activities for visitors such as hiking, camping, and fishing. They also manage staff such as campsite attendants, wilderness rangers, and instructors who teach outdoor skills and leadership. They ensure safety standards and policies are followed by both visitors and staff.
Non-Profit Organization Director
Non-Profit Organization Directors are responsible for managing the overall operations and administration of non-profit organizations such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, or Big Brothers Big Sisters. They develop and implement strategic plans, oversee the budget, manage staff, and collaborate with other organizations and stakeholders to achieve their mission, goals, and objectives. They also identify potential funding sources such as grants or donations to support the organization.
Event Coordinators work for organizations, governmental agencies, or corporations to plan, organize, and host events. They are responsible for developing and managing budgets, creating event concepts and themes, and coordinating vendors, staff, and volunteers. They ensure that the event runs smoothly, meets the objectives of the host, and provides a positive experience for the attendees.
Sports Managers manage sports events, programs, and facilities for colleges, universities, professional teams, or civic organizations. They oversee and manage staff such as coaches, trainers, and support personnel, and they develop and implement policies and procedures for sports programs. They also collaborate with other organizations to host competitive events and tournaments. Their main goal is to provide an enriching experience for athletes of all ages and skill levels.
|1||Name of the Program: Masters in Recreation|
|2||Duration: typically 1-2 years|
|3||Level of Education: Postgraduate|
|4||Admission Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in related field, minimum GPA requirements, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and English language proficiency|
|5||Specializations: Recreation management, outdoor recreation, tourism, therapeutic recreation, sports management, and more|
|6||Career Opportunities: Recreation director, park ranger, event coordinator, sports program coordinator, tourism manager, and more|
|7||Average Salary: $47,000 – $82,000 per year|
|8||Top Universities Offering Masters in Recreation: Clemson University, University of Georgia, San Francisco State University, University of South Carolina, Western Illinois University, and more|
A Closer Look at Masters in Recreation Management
Individuals who aspire to become professionals in the field of recreation and leisure can take their education to the next level by enrolling in a master’s degree program in recreation management. Whether you want to advance your career by learning new skills or gain knowledge that can help you start a new profession, pursuing a master’s in recreation management is a wise investment.
The Curriculum of Masters in Recreation Management Programs
The curriculum of a master’s degree program in recreation management can vary depending on the specific school and program. However, most programs typically cover similar topics and include courses such as:
|No||Common Courses in Master’s Degree Programs in Recreation Management|
|1||Leisure and Society|
|2||Organizational Behavior in Recreation|
|3||Program Planning and Evaluation|
|4||Legal Issues in Recreation|
|6||Leadership and Management in Recreation|
|7||Marketing in Recreation|
Aside from these courses, students may also be required to complete an internship or practicum in order to gain practical experience in the field.
Possible Career Paths for Graduates of Masters in Recreation Management Programs
Graduates of master’s degree programs in recreation management are qualified to work in various fields related to recreation and leisure. Some possible career paths include:
- Recreation center manager
- Park ranger
- Camp director
- Events planner
- Non-profit program manager
- Sports program director
- Community affairs coordinator
- University campus recreation director
Additionally, some graduates may choose to pursue a doctorate in a related field and become professors, researchers, or consultants.
Best Masters Programs in Recreation
Choosing the best master’s programs in recreation can be overwhelming, especially with the numerous accredited degrees available online and on-campus. Here, we pick out some of the top masters programs related to recreation studies.
1. University of Waterloo, Master of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies
The University of Waterloo offers a master’s program that combines research with practical work experience. The coursework covers topics such as social issues in recreation, outdoor recreation, disability studies, community development, and more. With this program, students can take an individualized approach through the selection of concentration-related courses.
2. University of Georgia, Master of Education in Recreation and Leisure Studies
The University of Georgia offers a master of education program in recreation and leisure studies, which focuses on the enhancement of recreation and leisure services. Students can choose from one of three concentrations: recreational therapy, recreation administration, or tourism management. Additionally, the program offers hands-on training through internships.
Cost & Duration of Masters in Recreation
Masters in recreation can be expensive, which is why it is critical to explore the cost and duration of the program you are interested in. Here we’ll take a look at a few schools and their estimated total costs for a master’s in recreation program.
1. Clemson University
Clemson University in South Carolina offers an M.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management. The total cost for the program is around $63,444 for out-of-state tuition and fees, which includes books, supplies, and other expenses.
2. University of Utah
The University of Utah, on the other hand, offers an M.S. in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. The total estimated cost for the entire program, including tuition, fees, and books, is around $27,780 for in-state students.
It’s important to note that while total costs may seem high, many employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees for continuing education in the field.
Career Opportunities for Graduates of Masters in Recreation
Graduates of Masters in Recreation have countless career opportunities in various fields. Here are some of the potential career paths for them:
1. Parks and Recreation
Parks and recreation departments are responsible for providing outdoor activities and maintaining facilities. Graduates of Masters in Recreation can work as a park ranger, recreation supervisor, park manager, or a maintenance worker. They can also work in non-profit organizations like community centers, boy and girl scouts, and outdoor clubs.
The tourism industry is growing fast, and graduates of Masters in Recreation can take advantage of this trend by working in the tourism sector. They can work as a tourism officer, a tour guide, an event organizer, or a travel consultant.
Graduates of Masters in Recreation can also pursue a career in the sports industry. They can work as a sports coach, sports administrator, or sports marketer. They can also work for professional sports teams, universities, or high schools.
4. Health and Wellness
Graduates of Masters in Recreation can work in the health and wellness industry. They can be employed as a fitness center director, health program manager, or wellness coordinator in hospitals, fitness centers, or rehabilitation centers.
5. Event Planning and Management
Event planning and management are also great career options for graduates of Masters in Recreation. They can work as an event coordinator, event manager, or convention planner. They can also work for corporate or government organizations in organizing events, conferences, or trade shows.
Graduates of Masters in Recreation can also explore careers in education. They can work as a lecturer or a program coordinator in universities, community colleges, or vocational schools. They can also be employed as a teacher in K-12 schools or a curriculum developer.
7. Urban Planning and Development
Urban planning and development are yet another career path for graduates of Masters in Recreation. They can work as a planner or a developer for public or private entities in creating and managing recreational spaces in urban areas.
Career Opportunities for Masters in Recreation Graduates
Masters in recreation graduates can look forward to working in a wide array of job opportunities ranging fro careers in fitness and wellness, social and community service, parks and outdoor recreation, tourism and hospitality, and sports industries. They are equipped with the knowledge and skills to design and implement programming to promote health and well-being while enhancing quality of life through leisure, recreation, and sports. Graduates can work in private, non-profit, or government sectors across the country.
Opportunities in Parks and Outdoor Recreation
Graduates of the Masters in Recreation program can find jobs in parks and outdoor recreation where they can collaborate with other agencies and organizations to promote park enjoyment to the public. Many towns and cities have parks and recreation departments that may need directors and coordinators to oversee activities and space usage, organizations that promote outdoor activities and conservation will need educators and associate program directors, and environmental conservation services may need candidates to fill recreation and park positions and marketing specialist positions.
Opportunities in Fitness and Wellness
The rise of the health and fitness culture has opened up many opportunities for Masters in Recreation graduates to help clients reach their fitness goals. Graduates can become fitness directors, wellness consultants, personal trainers, and health and safety specialists. Health centers, non-profit organizations, and education institutions are some of the organizations that employ Masters in Recreation graduates in fitness and wellness roles.
|1||City or town parks and recreation department||Director of programming or coordinator of activities|
|2||Non-profit organizations for conservation or outdoor activity||Educator/Associate program director or marketing specialist positions|
|3||Environmental conservation services||Recreation and park positions and marketing specialist positions|
|4||Health centers and gyms||Fitness directors or personal trainers|
|5||Non-profit or education institutions||Wellness consultant or health and safety specialist|
Note: The above are just some of the possibilities, and the list is not exhaustive. Additional opportunities may be available depending on experience and interests
Job Opportunities for Masters in Recreation Graduates
Graduates of Masters in Recreation have diverse career choices in multiple sectors, including tourism, healthcare, education, and sports. The degree focuses on preparing the students for the management aspects of recreational activities. Therefore, the job opportunities after graduation mainly consist of managerial positions.
The tourism industry is one of the top industries for Masters in Recreation graduates. Graduates can work in venues such as amusement parks, tourist centers, and national parks in managerial positions. The job titles can include park director, recreation manager, tour guide supervisor, and event coordinator in the tourism industry. A survey by Payscale states that graduates can earn an average salary of $57,000 for working in the amusement and recreation industry, while earning an hourly rate of $17.12. Also, the job growth rate is projected to increase by 10% by 2029.
Healthcare, Education, and Sports Industry
Graduates can work in healthcare, education, and sports industry in various job positions such as event coordinators, recreation managers, wellness directors, and leisure service coordinators. The job titles are dependent on the specific employer. A survey by Payscale state that the average salary of Masters in Recreation graduates working in education earns about $54,000 while the healthcare industry’s average salary is slightly higher at $55,000. The sports industry has an average salary of $50,000.
|3||Tour Guide Supervisor||$46,086|
|6||Leisure Service Coordinator||$50,000|
Masters in Recreation FAQ
If you have questions about pursuing a master’s degree in Recreation, we’ve got you covered. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
1. What is a Master’s degree in Recreation?
A Master’s degree in Recreation prepares students for leadership roles in managing, programming, and directing parks, recreation, and tourism activities for individuals and communities.
2. Why should I consider pursuing a master’s degree in Recreation?
A master’s degree in Recreation can help you advance your career, increase your earning potential, and gain advanced knowledge and skills in the field.
3. What kind of jobs can I get with a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Graduates with a Master’s degree in Recreation can pursue a variety of careers such as park or recreation department managers, event coordinators, resort managers, or tourism professionals.
4. How long does it take to complete a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Typically, a Master’s degree in Recreation takes 2 years to complete, but some programs may take longer depending on the school and program requirements.
5. What are the admission requirements for a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Admission requirements vary depending on the school and program, but typically require a Bachelor’s degree, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
6. How much does it cost to obtain a Master’s degree in Recreation?
The cost of obtaining a Master’s degree in Recreation varies depending on the school and program. It is important to research the costs of tuition, fees, and other expenses before enrolling in a program.
7. Can I complete a Master’s degree in Recreation online?
Yes, many schools offer online programs for students who are unable to attend classes on campus.
8. What is the curriculum like for a Master’s degree in Recreation?
The curriculum for a Master’s degree in Recreation typically includes coursework in recreation and leisure studies, management, programming, and research methods.
9. Is there a thesis requirement for a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Depending on the program, there may be a thesis or capstone project requirement.
10. Can I specialize in a specific area of Recreation with a Master’s degree?
Yes, many programs allow students to specialize in areas such as outdoor recreation, event management, or tourism.
11. Do I need to have previous experience in Recreation to pursue a Master’s degree in Recreation?
No, previous experience is not always required, but it can be beneficial for your application and future career.
12. Will I need to complete an internship or practicum as part of the program?
Many programs require an internship or practicum in order to gain hands-on experience in the field.
13. Are there scholarships available for a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Yes, scholarships and financial aid may be available for students who qualify.
14. Can I work full-time while pursuing a Master’s degree in Recreation?
It is possible to work full-time while pursuing a Master’s degree in Recreation, but it can be challenging due to the workload and time commitments of the program.
15. What skills will I gain from a Master’s degree in Recreation?
You will gain a variety of skills such as leadership, management, program planning, and research abilities.
16. What is the job outlook for graduates with a Master’s degree in Recreation?
The job outlook for graduates with a Master’s degree in Recreation is positive, with expected growth in the industry due to increasing demand for leisure and tourism activities.
17. Can I work internationally with a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Yes, graduates with a Master’s degree in Recreation can work internationally, but it may require additional education or certification depending on the country.
18. What kind of salary can I expect with a Master’s degree in Recreation?
The salary for graduates with a Master’s degree in Recreation varies depending on the job and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for recreation workers was $25,060 as of May 2020.
19. How can I prepare for a Master’s degree in Recreation?
You can prepare for a Master’s degree in Recreation by gaining experience in the field, researching programs, and preparing your application materials.
20. What kind of accreditation should I look for in a Master’s degree in Recreation program?
Look for programs that are accredited by organizations such as the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT).
21. Can I switch to a different program if I change my mind?
It is possible to switch to a different program, but it may require additional time and coursework depending on the program requirements.
22. How can I network with other professionals in the field?
You can network with other professionals in the field by joining professional organizations, attending industry conferences, and seeking out mentorship opportunities.
23. Is there a demand for professionals with a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Yes, there is a demand for professionals with advanced knowledge and skills in managing and programming parks and recreational activities.
24. Can I pursue a Master’s degree in Recreation part-time?
Yes, many programs offer part-time options to accommodate students’ schedules.
25. What qualities make a successful graduate with a Master’s degree in Recreation?
Successful graduates with a Master’s degree in Recreation possess qualities such as strong leadership skills, creativity, adaptability, and a passion for serving their communities through recreational activities.