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Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Major

Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies is a major that typically falls into the Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness category.

There are 562 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in parks and rec, 1,657 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 492 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 75 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Parks & Rec Degree?

In 2017, roughly parks and rec majors graduated with a bachelor’s degree, making it the most popular major in the country. Roughly 48.8% of the graduates are women, and 51.2% are men.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of parks and rec majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 4.9%
  • Black or African American: 11.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 13.1%
  • White: 61.4%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 2%
  • Other Races: 7%
Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in parks and rec. About 2% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending parks and rec majors to the U.S. are.

What Will You Learn as a Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to parks and rec to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Parks & Rec Majors

Parks and rec majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Majors

Skills for Parks & Rec Majors

A major in parks and rec prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

Important Skills for Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Majors

Abilities for Parks & Rec Majors

A major in parks and rec will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

Important Abilities for parks and rec Majors

What Can You Do With a Parks & Rec Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with parks and rec:

Careers Related to Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

First-Line Supervisors of Landscaping, Lawn Service, and Groundskeeping Workers



Coaches and Scouts



Exercise Physiologists



Compliance Managers



Regulatory Affairs Managers



Athletic Trainers



Fitness Trainers and Aerobics Instructors



Athletes and Sports Competitors



Recreation and Fitness Studies Professors



General and Operations Managers



Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Major Salary

Average salaries range from $49,000 to $87,000 for careers related to parks and rec. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Parks & Rec Major  ( 49000 to 87000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Major Jobs

Some careers associated with parks and rec require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much education do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to parks and rec have obtained the following education levels.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Programs

There are 1,657 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, with 70 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a Parks, Recreation, Leisure & Fitness Major Worth It?

The median salary for a parks and rec grad is $55,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 41% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $317,200 after 20 years!

parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: NPS Photo/Zurbuch via License

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