Recreation Workers: Salary Overview
Recreation workers help people stay active by designing and leading activities.
As a recreation worker, you may work in summer camps, fitness and recreational sports centers, nature parks, and other settings.
They may engage people through activities such as sports crafts, music, or games.
A recreation worker’s job description typically includes planning and organizing activities for groups of people, explaining the rules of activities and instructing participants, enforcing safety rules, modifying activities to suits the needs of the group, and organizing the equipment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for recreation workers was $26,350 as of May 2019 which means that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Some recreation workers, especially those who work for summer camps, swimming pools, and other settings that are open only a few months every year, some are seasonally employed or work during weekends.
Salaries in this field vary widely depending on the industry of employment, the experience level, and the region.
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,860 per year while the top 10 percent made more than $44,000.
Recreation Worker Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recreation workers held about 408,300 jobs in the United States in 2018, most of them working for local governments, nursing, and residential care facilities, or for religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations.
Recreation workers who were employed by local governments reportedly earned $28,360 per year on average while those who worked for nursing care facilities reported a mean annual wage of $28,780 as of May 2019.
The average annual wage was $26,250 per year for recreation workers who were employed by civic and social organizations and $26,460 for those who worked in other amusement and recreation industries.
Recreation workers employed in the individual and family services industry reportedly earned $28,560 per year.
According to the report published by BLS, the highest-paying field for this profession was the federal executive branch, a sector where the average annual wage reported by workers in this occupation was $54,400- more than double the average for this profession across all industries.
Salaries for this profession also vary depending on the region and the state of employment.
The top-paying state for this occupation is the District of Columbia where the average annual wage for recreation workers was $50,160 per year as of May 2019.
The average annual wage for recreation workers in Alaska was $40,410.
In West Virginia, recreation workers were remunerated, on average, with $22,990 per year, those in Louisiana with $23,390 while in Alabama the average annual wage for this profession was $23,590 as of May 2019.
Salaries are also influenced by other factors, including the education level.
Having a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions or a degree in liberal arts or public administration may help improve your earnings.
Earning a certification from the American Camp Association may help you prove your advanced level of knowledge in the field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of recreation workers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028.
This growth is explained in part by the fact that more people become aware of the importance of staying active.
Recreation workers will be needed especially to work with aging baby boomers, especially in continuing care retirement communities or in assisted living facilities.
Having experience and some formal education in the field may improve your employment prospects.
If you want a career in this field you can start by getting volunteer experience during school or as a summer job.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Recreation Workers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.