Cool Job of the Month

Recreation Worker

People spend much of their leisure time participating in a wide variety of organized recreational activities, such as aerobics, arts and crafts, the performing arts, camping, and sports. Recreation workers plan, organize, and direct these activities in various locations and community organizations. Recreation workers are also found in workplaces, where they organize and direct leisure activities and athletic programs for employees.

Why it's cool

  • Help people relax and have fun while hiking, doing aerobics, camping, playing sports, making crafts and much more!
  • Plan, organize, and direct various leisure activities in playgrounds, recreation areas, parks, community centers, religious organizations, camps, theme parks, health clubs, fitness centers, and tourist attractions.
  • There are a variety of positions at different levels of responsibility including:
    • Recreation Leaders - organize and direct participants in a daily recreation program;
    • Activity Specialists - provide instruction and coach group activities in specialized areas;
    • Recreation Supervisors - oversee recreation workers and plan, organize, and manage recreational activities;
    • Sport Specialists - teach sports and coach teams;
    • Camp Counselors - lead and instruct campers in outdoor activities;
    • Directors of Recreation and Parks - develop and manage recreation programs in parks, playgrounds, camps, and other settings.
  • Spend lots of time outdoors in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Get paid to have fun and participate in your favorite leisure activity!

Requirements for the Job

  • Outgoing
  • Demonstrate leadership
  • Planning and managing group activities
  • Good communication skills
  • Sensitivity when dealing with people
  • Motivating others, providing encouragement and support
  • Presenting an image of enthusiasm and enjoyment
  • Teaching ability
  • Working well with people
  • Excellent health and physical fitness are often required


If you want to become a recreation worker, a great way to gain experience at an early age is to volunteer or work a summer job for recreational organizations like the YMCA and YWCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and neighborhood community centers. The educational requirements for a recreation worker can range from a high school diploma to a graduate degree for some supervisor positions. Full-time professional positions usually require a college degree with a major in parks and recreation or leisure. For many jobs, specialized training in a specific field such as art or athletics is an asset. Some positions, such as those that involve water-related activities, require certification.

Career Path/Average Salaries

Many recreation workers work up to 40 hours a week. o In 2012, the average salary in the US for Recreation Worker is $10.64 hourly, or $22,130 annually. Earnings for recreation directors and other supervisors can be substantially higher.

Related Occupations

  • Counselor
  • Correctional Treatment Specialist
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Teacher

JVIS Report

  • You should consider this job if you score above average on the following Basic Interest Scales: Teaching, Social Service, Supervision, Professional Advising, Human Relations Management, Life Science, Adventure, Nature-Agriculture, and Medical Service.
  • Your JVIS Report should show one or all of the following occupation groups under your "Top 3": Counselors/Student Personnel Workers, Occupations in Social Welfare, and Sport and Recreation Occupations.

For more information contact:

  • National Recreation and Park Association
    22377 Belmont Ridge Road
    Ashburn, VA 20148-4501
    Tel: 703-858-0784
  • American Camp Association
    5000 State Road 67 North
    Martinsville, IN 46151-7902
    Tel: 765-342-8456
  • American Council on Exercise
    4851 Paramount Drive
    San Diego, CA 92123
    Tel: 888-825-3636
  • Coaching Association of Canada
    141 Laurier Ave. West, Suite 300
    Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3
    Tel: (613) 235-5000
  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association
    1180 Walkley Rd., P.O. Box 83069
    Ottawa, ON K1V 2M5
    Tel: (613) 523-5315
  • Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association Inc.
    P.O. Box 1431 Beenleigh Qld 4207
    Queensland, Australia 9726
    Tel: 1800 118 123