The parks and recreation industry is one where there is something for everyone. While there are many opportunities for the traditional office job, there are also many opportunities for those who would rather be out in the field. With a strong focus on enhancing quality of life, conserving the environment, increasing social equity and the wellbeing of your community, it’s easy to see why so many parks and recreation professionals love what they do.
According to the US Department of Labor, the average parks and recreation organization employs four executives, seven administrative personnel, 24 operations personnel, 21 programming personnel, 36 maintenance personnel, and three planning/development personnel. As you can see, there are many diverse roles to be filled, depending on what you want to do. Here are a few tips on how to get the parks and recreation job you’ve been waiting for:
Certification and Education
There are many routes to take to becoming certified as a parks and recreation professional. Once you find a parks and recreation job you’re interested in, you can look up the specific requirements. Many colleges and universities offer great programs recognized by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT). For more information on which colleges offer the program you need, check out this search.
You can also get certification and professional development through nationally recognized parks and recreation bodies, such as the NRPA in the US, or the CPRA in Canada. They both offer great programs that are nationally recognized; the CPRA has just launched a new professional development program that is the first of its kind in Canada. Check out our past blog post on certification programs for parks and recreation professionals, to get more info on this specifically.
Types of Jobs
There are so many incredibly diverse parks and recreation jobs that it’s difficult to list them all. If you experienced in leading teams, there are plenty of executive type careers to pursue. If you’re more of an outdoors person, there are plenty of other opportunities, such as field instructor, national park educator, outdoor educator/instructor, and many more. If you’re a visionary, you can go into planning and development in a variety of important fields. Love a sport? From golf course managers, to high-level tennis instructors and all the way to aquatics director, there’s definitely a job out there that fits well with your interests and passions.
Talk to Parks and Recreation Professionals
If you go to your local parks and recreation organization, you’ll most likely be able to find professionals who you can chat with. Tell them your intention, ask them out for a coffee, and see if they can offer any advice and information. There are plenty of insider tips and know-how they could potentially give you.
Being that parks and recreation organizations are about supporting their communities, parks and recreation jobs are often heavily influenced by how eager you are to get involved. Showing initiative can go a long way. Already a part of a parks and recreation organization working hard to help your community? See how PerfectMind is helping to grow and support parks and recreation organizations across North America.
There are plenty of parks and recreation job boards out there but here are a handful we’ve picked out for you: CPRA, NRPA, American parks and recreation government jobs, Parks Canada. With so many great parks and recreation jobs to check out, it can help to prioritize your efforts. Looking for a governing association or wanting to move to a different location? Try larger groups like the NRPA. Want a local parks and recreation job? Inquire with your municipality or parks board.
What advice do you have for people thinking of entering the parks and recreation industry? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your PerfectMind news.