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Career Outlook

Considering a career in the recreation and leisure industry?
There are a variety of disciplines and career paths that can lead to a satisfying and rewarding career. The following information is provided as an introduction and orientation to academic and career options. An Associate Arts Degree from College of the Canyons can be your gateway into the possibilities. Please contact your academic counselor for detailed information about transferability and undergraduate programs.

Employment Outlook

The job market continues to evolve and change as the economy and the demographics of our communities change. Trends indicate that future growth in the industry will continue to be the following areas; private and commercial services will take on programs as government and agency funds become more restricted, profit and nonprofit services and programming responsive to the growing senior citizen population, and social service programs to promote fitness and wellness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts jobs in the recreation field will have average growth, of about 19% from 2010 to 2020.

Academic Disciplines

  • Recreation Management/Recreation Administration
  • Community Recreation
  • Recreation and Sports Management
  • Park and Recreation Management
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management
  • Tourism and Hospitality Management

Exploring Recreation Related Majors

Many entry level professional jobs under the umbrella of Recreation and Leisure require a Bachelors degree. The following link will assist you to explore the various Recreation related majors offered at university campuses in California. Please meet with your academic advisor to confirm transfer requirements.

Exploring Majors

Employment Settings

Public Agencies: individuals working in this area are typically employed by local municipal, county, state or federally funded agencies. Manage resources and programming for public benefit. Prospective job title may be; park ranger, naturalist, nature center coordinator, resource manager, recreation manager.

Commercial Recreation: these individuals are working in for profit, private industry and may be self employed. The primary emphasis is on the sales of goods (sporting equipment) and services (sailing and kayaking lessons). Prospective job titles may include tour director, special event planner, festival director.

Nonprofit Organizations: These agencies offer recreation and outdoor education experiences as a means of improving the quality of life for our community, especially for youth and the senior population. Key organizations are the Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA/YWCA, Outward Bound and scouting organizations. Prospective jobs titles may be camp counselor, programs director, camp director, outdoor adventure leader or director of therapeutic recreation programming.

Industrial/Employee Recreation: Large corporations and businesses continue to embrace employee fitness and recreation programs as a means of reducing stress, absenteeism, and health care costs for their employees. Prospective jobs may be employee recreation director, fitness manager, employee services specialist, or sports manager.

Campus Recreation: Many large colleges and universities promote student retention and wellbeing by sponsoring campus recreational programs. Prospective job titles may be intramurals supervisor, director of campus recreation, student special services coordinator or sports manager.

Private/Club Facilities: These job opportunities are in the private, for profit arena consisting of fitness, sport and leisure clubs and centers. Examples may be fitness clubs, spas, tennis or yachting clubs. Prospective jobs titles may be program director, personal instructors, activities leader.

Armed Forces Recreation: the Moral, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Department of the armed forces provides recreational opportunities for the men and women of the armed forces as well as their families. Prospective job titles may be program director, director of youth programs, recreation therapist or director of therapeutic recreation services.

Tourism and Hospitality: This is a large and diverse area of employment including travel, hotels, cruise ships, and amusement parks to name a few. Prospective job titles may be special events planner, director of hospitality, cultural events coordinator.