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The Right Fit: Is a Parks & Recreation Career Right for Me?

Parks and recreation is a great industry that has a wealth of fulfilling job opportunities. There are many positions that help different aspects of the organization succeed in its mission to advance environmental conservation efforts, social equity, health, and the well being of their communities. 

Park managers, field instructors, cultural arts managers, groundskeepers, natural resources superintendents, and urban planners are all examples of key positions that make a great organization work well. Depending on the position, workers can spend quite a bit of time in the outdoors, be physically active, or help provide a positive experience to youth, seniors, and everyone in between.


According to the NRPA, the pay is also competitive, with the median salary of parks and recreation full-time employees ranging from $45,458 to $79,332, while the average parks and recreation agency employs approximately 100 staff members, creating more local jobs. Whether you’re a student looking for part-time work, a volunteer wanting to help, or a post-graduate looking for a long-term career, parks and rec jobs are a great opportunity to make a positive impact on your community.



Common Interests and Values


The parks and rec industry tends to attract people who love nature, physical activity, or sports, and those who enjoy working with, teaching, or helping others in their communities, or a combination thereof. An interest in environmental conservation can also be important, as parks and rec organizations are some of the sole decision makers in the natural areas of their cities. People who are passionate about nature can work in their local parks and give workshops to the public, maintain green space, or help build their communities’ future parks.

One of parks and recreation agencies’ main missions is to boost the well being of everyone in their community, regardless of age, race, gender, class, orientation, abilities, or political views. Diversity and inclusion are main focuses for this industry and agencies are only truly successful in optimizing well being when all community members are involved. Compassion and acceptance are virtues for many parks and rec roles.



The Day-to-Day


Doing some research on what types of positions are available will reveal whether or not they are a great fit for you. Look into their job descriptions and what each bullet point means, on a day-to-day basis. For example, if you’re interested in the outdoors but you’re not keen on sitting in an office full-time, you’ll know to avoid administrative positions.


There are many labor jobs that require skilled workers to care for public spaces and parks or active jobs that have employees working in recreation facilities, to name a few alternatives. Doing your due diligence before committing to a specific position can help you make sure you’ve found a good fit for yourself in the parks and recreation workforce.



Getting Started


Once you find the positions that interest you most, you can figure out the prerequisites needed to apply for said jobs. Some may require post-secondary education or certification, while others may not require any specific academic standing. If you need any help, the National Recreation and Parks Association and the National Park Service are both great resources to explore so you may learn more about each position, find job openings, as well as find training, certification, and education opportunities. Finally, you can check out our tips for looking for parks and rec jobs , as well as our pointers on interviewing well for parks and rec jobs.


What motivated you to get into 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.


PerfectMind is an industry-leading member management and facility booking software provider. Its robust Platform as a Service (PaaS) serves organizations of all sizes in parks & recreation, health & wellness, fitness, and education sectors. With over 5,000 customers in 21 countries, PerfectMind streamlines business processes so organizations can focus on supporting and growing their communities.

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