If you have an interest in outdoor recreation, you might consider earning your master’s degree and working in the parks and recreation field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers hiring workers for supervisory or administrative positions in parks and recreation often prefer applicants with a master’s degree in parks and recreation, business administration or public administration. Earning a master’s degree can open the door to many careers. Before you begin applying for jobs, though, you need to explore your options by learning more about parks and rec jobs available to someone with a master’s degree.
Parks and Rec Director
Many municipalities need someone to manage their parks and recreation services and facilities. Usually, they hire someone as a director for the parks and rec department, and they often prefer someone with a master's degree. This individual manages the park and city or county recreational programs. She oversees the public park lands and facilities, such as community buildings, ball fields and playgrounds. Parks and recreation directors also serve as technical advisers for city managers, mayors, commissioners and boards. The job also requires budget planning and fiscal oversight.
Park and Facility Manager
Park and facility managers direct the operations of parks and recreational facilities. In some instances, they work under the direction and guidance of a parks and rec director. Park and facility managers establish operational procedures for operating, maintaining and improving parks. Their tasks include directing other employees. Areas of concern include landscaping, constructing or installing new equipment, inspecting grounds, installing and maintaining irrigation systems, providing security, and providing services to park and facility visitors.
Parks and recreation planners gather and compile data about the recreational interests of potential park visitors. After finding out what people want to do, these individuals plan, design, and develop land and facilities for those kinds of uses. Planners write all of the specifications for developing lands for parks and oversee the construction of the parks. During the design process, planners create 3-D models and draw architectural renderings that reflect their plans.
Some cities prefer to hire individuals with a master’s degree for event and activity coordinator jobs. Employers also might hire a master’s degree applicant to coordinate events for a major sports arena. The job requires the coordinator to plan, promote, and manage events and activities that will attract large groups of people. Events created by a city event coordinator usually include all city-sponsored festivals, parades, observances and celebrations. For example, an event coordinator plays a role in planning and holding the annual Macy’s parade held each year in New York City. An event planner for an arena would schedule concerts and other live performances.
2016 Salary Information for Recreation Workers
Recreation workers earned a median annual salary of $23,870 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, recreation workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $19,780, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $31,310, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 390,000 people were employed in the U.S. as recreation workers.