A degree in parks and recreation management prepares students for a career in administering the various tasks associated with recreation facilities and parks. Students will take courses covering a variety of topics to ensure that such managers are well rounded prior to stepping into managerial positions. This includes budgeting, business operations, advertising and community development and awareness, human resource management and the development and implementation of recreational activities, including those of a therapeutic nature. Students studying in such a program will learn in a classroom setting as well as in practical settings through agreements between the school and local parks and/or facilities. Such programs are usually offered at the bachelor degree level; although graduate programs are also available, typically offering more in depth studies pertaining to higher levels of management and a more focused education regarding programs and resources.
A curriculum in parks and recreation management may include:
- Foundations in Recreation
- Program Planning
- Risk Management
- Commercial Recreation Management
Individuals pursuing a career in parks and recreation management will seek employment at locations that provide recreational services, such as cruise ships, art parks, city parks, nursing homes, schools and more. Individuals in the field will be responsible for seeking funding and managing budgets in order to ensure that programs are properly implemented and maintain quality in reaching their desired goals. Individuals may seek certification through a variety of certifying bodies in order to demonstrate additional qualifications which are desirable for potential and current employers. Certifications typically require an individual to have worked in the field of recreation for an extended period of time prior to the examination.
Due to the variety of option available to an individual in terms of employment, salaries will vary greatly among potential employers. Private businesses tend to pay more the government funded positions, though managerial positions in large parks or facilities may prove competitive in regards to wages. Certified individuals may also expect to make more, as will individuals with higher education and experience.
Individuals interested in parks and recreation management may also be interested in social work, parks and recreation, dance therapy or art therapy, as they share many similar traits and possible employers.