Why choose a career in recreation and leisure services?
Recreation and leisure are essential to the total well-being of every person. They can also be a reflection and expression of the cultural values of a society, or an important therapeutic treatment modality. The provision of recreation services is one of the largest industries in the world, whether measured in dollars spent, persons served, hours of time devoted, or resources used.
What career opportunities are available to recreation majors?
- Community Recreation / Municipal Recreation
- Recreation Therapy / Therapeutic Recreation
- Parks and Outdoor Recreation Resource Management
- Tourism Management
- Campus Recreation and Student Services
- Sports and Recreation
- Nonprofit and Volunteer Management
- Youth Services
A sample of professional organizations related to recreation and leisure services is provided below. These professional associations offer job newsletters, scholarships, and services for professionals.
Community Recreation / Municipal Recreation
The National Recreation and Park Association is dedicated to educating professionals and the public on the essential nature of parks and recreation. Their website includes a job center with resources for job seekers and employers. Their career information primary addressed municipal recreation administration.
The California Park & Recreation Society provides career development, networking, resources and is the public advocate for California park and recreation professionals. Their website also includes a job center.
Women in Leisure Services is a national organization for professional women involved in the delivery of leisure and community services in private, commercial and municipal settings. A network of chapters serves administrators, supervisors, educators, therapists and armed forces professionals in defined geographic areas throughout the country.
Men in Leisure Services is an organization for professionals currently providing leisure opportunities within the field of municipal recreation and community services.
Recreation Therapy / Therapeutic Recreation
The National Therapeutic Recreation & Park Association provides a wide variety of resources for professionals in therapeutic recreation, including employment announcements.
The American Therapeutic Recreation Association publishes both a general overview of careers in therapeutic recreation at:
TheTherapeutic Recreation Directory provides resources for professionals in Therapeutic recreation, including job notices
Parks And Outdoor Recreation Resource Management
The Student Conservation Association provides internships and career information in outdoor recreation resource management, including internships in National Parks, State Parks, Forests, and Bureau of Land Management sites.
The Outdoor Action Guide to Outdoor/Environmental Careers (by Princeton University) provides an overview of employment opportunities in outdoor recreation.
The National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is a professional association for those involved in the interpretation of natural and cultural heritage resources in settings such as parks, zoos, museums, nature centers, aquaria, botanical gardens, and historical sites. Resources for their members include a job listings website.
The American Camp Association (ACA) is a community of camp professionals sharing their knowledge and experience and to ensure the quality of camp programs. Their members include camp owners, directors, administrators and staff. The organization also has a program for camp accreditation. Their website also includes employment opportunities at camps.
The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) is an organization for those who educate people through experience. Includes a wide variety of jobs (ropes course facilitators, wilderness trips, teachers, etc.). Resources for their members include a website of job listings.
The Wilderness Education Association (WEA) promotes the professionalism of outdoor leadership through establishment of national standards, curriculum design, implementation, advocacy, and research driven initiatives. Resources for their members include a job listings website.
The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) is an organization for those who educate people about environmental issues in both formal (classroom) and non-formal (nature centers, camps, etc.) settings.
The Adventure Travel Trade Association is an association dedicated to helping adventure tourism businesses and destinations worldwide succeed. Our members include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty travel agents, guides, accommodations, media and service providers.
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ecotourism.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) serves as the international body for fostering increased knowledge and understanding of sustainable tourism practices, promoting the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles and building demand for sustainable travel.
The International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) serves professionals who plan and coordinator festivals and events; includes job bulletin.
Meeting Planners International (MPI) provides information on education and events, membership, news, publications and professional resources for those interested in careers as meeting planners.
The Resort and Commercial Recreation Association is an organization comprised of professionals, educators and students in resort and commercial related industries.
The American Hospitality Academy introduces interested travel and tourism students to the exciting world of working within resorts and hotels. Their website includes information about internships and training opportunities.
The International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus (IACVB) provides contact information for IACVB member convention and visitor bureaus, listed alphabetically by the country and city in which the office is located.
Campus Recreation and Student Services
The National Association of Student Personnel Administration (NASPA) is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Resources on their website include career information and job opportunities.
The National Association for Campus Activities™ (NACA) advances campus activities in higher education through a business and learning partnership, creating educational and business opportunities for its school and professional members.
The Association of College Unions International (ACUI) is an organization that brings together college union and student activities professionals from hundreds of schools in seven countries.
Sports and Recreation
The National Intramural Recreation Sports Association (NIRSA) is the leading resource for professional and student development, education, and research in collegiate recreational sports. Their website includes job listings.
The Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation (SCMAF) is a comprehensive organization to provide guidance and services to people and agencies in many facets of athletics. Their website includes job listings.
Nonprofit And Volunteer Management
Opportunity Knocks is a national online job site, HR resource, and career development destination focused exclusively on the nonprofit community.
Energize, Inc. is an international training, consulting and publishing firm specializing in volunteerism. Resources for professionals in volunteer management, including a job bulletin and internship opportunities.
The Southern California Teen Coalition (SCTC) is Southern California's largest networking, training, and programming collaborative for teen professionals.