Career Development

What Does a Recreation Director Do?

Find out what a recreation director does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a recreation director.

Recreation directors are responsible for managing all aspects of a community’s recreational programs. They work with local government agencies to plan and implement activities that promote healthy living, social interaction, and physical fitness.

They may also be tasked with developing new programs or initiatives to meet the changing needs of their community. In addition to planning and organizing these programs, recreation directors often act as an intermediary between participants and instructors. They help ensure that everyone has a positive experience while encouraging them to take full advantage of all that their community has to offer.

Recreation Director Job Duties

Recreation directors typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Supervising the staff who work at the facility to ensure safety standards are met
  • Planning programs for children and adults to ensure that all members of the community can participate in recreational activities
  • Overseeing safety standards and procedures to ensure that accidents do not occur
  • Scheduling staff to ensure that the facility is staffed when it is open to the public
  • Working with community members to create new programs that meet their needs
  • Maintaining records of attendance, membership fees, and other statistics related to program participation
  • Managing budgets and overseeing financial operations of the facility
  • Ensuring that facilities are kept clean and in good repair
  • Creating marketing campaigns to promote programs and attract new participants

Recreation Director Salary & Outlook

Recreation directors’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and location of the employer. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $58,000 ($27.88/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $174,000 ($83.65/hour)

The employment of recreation directors is expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade.

As the population grows and more people move to cities, demand for recreation programs and facilities is expected to increase. Recreation directors will be needed to plan and manage these programs and facilities.

Related: 25 Recreation Director Interview Questions and Answers

Recreation Director Job Requirements

Recreation directors typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Recreation directors are typically required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Recreation directors can earn a degree in recreation, leisure studies, sport management or a similar field. These programs typically include courses in recreation, sports, exercise science, public administration, business and management.

Training & Experience: Most recreation directors will receive on-the-job training when they start their position. This training will help the recreation director learn the specifics of the organization, including the policies and procedures, the budget and the equipment and facilities. The training may last for a few months, depending on the size of the organization.

Certifications & Licenses: Most states require recreation directors to be certified in first aid and CPR. Some states also require certification in lifeguard training. Check the requirements in your state.

Recreation Director Skills

Recreation directors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: Leadership skills can help you manage and motivate a team of staff members. You can use your leadership skills to create a safe and fun environment for your patrons. You can also use leadership skills to help your staff members grow and develop their own leadership skills.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information through speech or writing. As a recreation director, you may be required to communicate with a variety of individuals, including staff, volunteers, members of the public and other departments. Effective communication can help you to convey your ideas and intentions, which can help to build trust and understanding.

Time management: Recreation directors often have multiple responsibilities and duties, so time management is an important skill for them to have. They often oversee multiple programs and activities at once, so they need to be able to prioritize their tasks and manage their time wisely. This can help them to complete all of their duties in a timely manner.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving is the ability to identify and resolve issues. As a recreation director, you may be responsible for overseeing the planning and execution of events, programs and activities. This may include ensuring that the facilities are in good condition, that there are enough staff members to supervise the activities and that the activities are safe. Being able to identify and resolve issues is an important skill for a recreation director.

Organization: Recreation directors often have to manage a variety of tasks and responsibilities, including scheduling, record-keeping and budgeting. Having strong organizational skills can help you manage your workload and responsibilities effectively. You can also use organization skills to help plan and lead group activities, which can help you create a fun and engaging environment for your staff and patrons.

Recreation Director Work Environment

Recreation directors work in a variety of settings, including recreation centers, parks, camps, fitness clubs, and resorts. They may also work for hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions that provide recreation and leisure activities for their patients or residents. Some recreation directors work for companies that provide recreation and leisure services on a contract basis. These directors typically work full time, although they may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays to meet the needs of their clients. Some recreation directors may also travel to attend conferences or to visit other recreation facilities.

Recreation Director Trends

Here are three trends influencing how recreation directors work. Recreation directors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Health and Wellness

The trend of health and wellness is becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people are looking for ways to improve their well-being. This is leading to an increased demand for recreation directors who can provide services that promote health and wellness.

Recreation directors can capitalize on this trend by developing programs that focus on healthy living. They can also work with other members of the healthcare team to create a comprehensive plan that meets the needs of patients.

More Collaboration Between Parks and Recreation and Other Departments

Parks and recreation departments are increasingly collaborating with other departments in order to provide a wider range of services to their communities. This trend is being driven by the need for municipalities to find new ways to save money while still providing high-quality services.

As parks and recreation professionals collaborate with other departments, they will need to learn how to work together to create a cohesive vision for the community. Additionally, they will need to be able to communicate effectively with each other in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

A Greater Emphasis on Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has become a major focus for many businesses in recent years. This is because employers have realized that having engaged employees leads to greater productivity and better overall performance.

As a result, recreation directors can benefit from this trend by focusing on creating a workplace environment that promotes employee engagement. This can include things like offering perks and benefits, creating opportunities for growth, and fostering a positive culture.

How to Become a Recreation Director

A career in recreation is a great way to use your skills and talents to help others. As a recreation director, you’ll be responsible for planning and organizing activities that will keep people of all ages entertained and engaged. This could include anything from sports leagues to arts and crafts workshops.

To become a successful recreation director, it’s important to have a strong understanding of the different types of activities available and how they can be adapted to meet the needs of different age groups. You should also be able to effectively communicate with people of all backgrounds and cultures.

Advancement Prospects

Recreation directors typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in recreation, physical education, or a related field, although some jobs may require a master’s degree. Many directors also have several years of experience working in recreation programs.

As recreation directors gain experience, they may advance to positions with more responsibility, such as assistant director, program coordinator, or recreation supervisor. Some directors may also move into management positions in recreation or other fields.

Recreation Director Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we believe that a healthy body and mind are the foundation of a happy life. We are looking for an experienced recreation director to join our team and help us provide our residents with a wide variety of recreational activities. The ideal candidate will have experience organizing and leading recreation programs, as well as a passion for promoting healthy living. He or she will be responsible for developing and implementing a recreation program that meets the needs of our residents, as well as managing a team of recreation staff.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Plan, direct, and coordinate recreation programs and services for a designated area
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure the safety of participants and staff
  • Hire, train, and supervise recreation staff, including program coordinators and instructors
  • Evaluate recreation programs and services, making changes as necessary to improve quality and meet customer needs
  • Monitor budgets and expenditures, ensuring that programs and services are provided within budget constraints
  • Prepare reports and proposals related to recreation programs and services, as requested by upper management
  • Serve as a liaison between the recreation department and other departments, agencies, and organizations
  • Promote recreation programs and services to the community, using various marketing techniques
  • Attend and participate in professional meetings, workshops, and conferences
  • Stay up-to-date on trends and developments in the recreation field, attending relevant training opportunities as necessary
  • Perform administrative duties, such as preparing correspondence, maintaining records, and ordering supplies
  • Perform general maintenance tasks, as needed, such as setting up and tearing down equipment

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in recreation, physical education, or related field
  • 3-5 years experience working in recreation, with at least 2 years in a supervisory role
  • Working knowledge of recreation and leisure theory and practice
  • Ability to develop and implement programming for all ages
  • Excellent communication, customer service, and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational and time management skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in recreation, physical education, or related field
  • Certification in CPR/First Aid/AED
  • Experience working in a camp or similar setting
  • Experience with program planning and evaluation


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