Recreation and Parks Management: Academic Requirements, Professional Outlook

Recreation and Parks Management

The enjoyment of outdoor spaces has always been important to humans. Today, many people travel outside their communities to enjoy parks and other large recreation areas set aside for that purpose. Recreation and Park Management professionals are responsible for the smooth functioning of parks and recreation areas. They perform many differrent kinds of jobs, including forest ranger, tour leader, and special outdoor events coordinator. In whatever job they choose, Recreation and Park professionals help to ensure the availability, today and tomorrow, of park, recreation and tourism opportunities.

The Academic Requirements

Students develop knowledge and skills in the leadership, planning and administration of parks, recreation, and tourism programs and services. Some of the skills courses available include computer systems, office administration, communications, business, finance, and marketing. Students will also learn about why people pursue recreational activities and how recreation can be a form or therapy and relaxation. Degree programs often include a concentration in specific areas of this broad field, such as ecotourism or park ranger.

Students will also take courses in fields such as natural resource management; environmental science; conservation biology; and wildlife ecology. These courses help students understand why it is important to incorporate environmental and conservation issues into their management philosophy.

Here are some courses that we've seen:

  • Recreation Leadership and Supervision
  • Inclusive Recreation
  • Wildland Recreation Management
  • Community and Commercial Recreation Management
  • Management & Finance
  • Introduction to Computer Information Systems
  • Legal, Ethical, Global, and Regulatory Environment of Business
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Camp Counseling
  • Resource Law Enforcement
  • Recreation and Special Populations
  • Sustainable Tourism
  • Conventions and Meeting Management

Professional Outlook

Graduates of Parks and Recreation Management programs can find jobs at all government levels, with schools, or with private companies. Municipal, State, and Federal parks need managers to maintain and improve the quality of the parks. Managers can also work for private groups, such as tourism retreats, clubs, and spas. Government agencies need Parks and Recreation Managers, as do all branches of the military. Non-profit organizations, such as community centers and youth camps, also need Managers and guides.

Depending on the job, Recreation and Parks Managers may spend significant amounts of time outdoors, supervising activities, helping visitors, and performing other duties. Some Managers work in offices, usually at a park or recreation area, or sometimes at an agency office elsewhere. Tour leaders need to be physically fit, knowledgeable about wilderness safety, and responsible. Some professionals need to get certifications, such as wilderness first responder or lifeguard certification.

Here are some jobs that we've seen, including some of the organizations that offer them, all of which included a requirement for experience in Recreation and Parks Management:

Resources

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