A bachelor's degree in leisure studies, parks and recreation studies or a related field can lead to a career as a recreation instructor. In 2018 the median salary for all recreation workers, including instructors, was $25,060, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
A recreation instructor teaches classes from a wide variety of different areas, including sports, art, dance or crafts, to children or adults. They can work for a wide variety of employers, including after-school programs, nursing facilities and local governments. Most full-time recreation staff positions call for a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, but individuals who teach classes in specific skill areas usually aren't required to have a degree.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in leisure studies, parks and recreation studies or a related field|
|Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)*||10% for all recreation workers|
|Median Salary (2020)*||$28,440 for all recreation workers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Salary Information for Recreation Instructors
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all recreation workers, including instructors, earned a median annual salary of $28,440 as of May 2020 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that the earnings of recreation workers in supervisory positions or those working for the federal or state governments can be much higher than average. In 2020 recreation workers employed by the local government earned a mean salary of $31,000. The federal government was the highest-paying employer of recreation workers, with a mean salary of $58,000.
Recreation instructors can find full- or part-time employment in a variety of locations, including nature parks, summer camps, civic centers, nursing homes or even cruise ships. They may also teach a variety of different recreational activities, including sports, swimming, art and music. Some employers may look for instructors who can teach a wide variety of recreational subjects.
According to the BLS, many employers prefer to fill full-time recreation instructor positions with individuals with a college degree; however, instructors of a specific skill may only need to have ample experience in that area. Those looking to obtain a recreation instructor supervisor position may also need an associate's or higher degree in a field related to recreation. These academic fields can include parks and recreation studies or leisure studies. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) accredits some parks and recreation bachelor's degree programs. Students who have graduated from an NRPA accredited program and complete work requirements are eligible for NRPA industry certification.
The BLS reports that jobs for recreation workers in general are expected to increase by 10% between 2019 and 2029. The expansion of camps and fitness centers is the primary catalyst for growth, as an emphasis will continue to be placed on the benefits of exercise and the need to combat obesity.
Recreation instructors may work for after-school programs, camps, nursing facilities or government. They teach a wide range of activities, sports and subject areas to children and adults. Full-time recreation instructor positions typically require a bachelor's degree.