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Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies

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Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Major

3,368 yearly degrees
#163 in popularity
$72,000 median salary

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

There are 40 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in parks and rec, 128 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 28 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 6 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Parks & Rec Degree?

This is a less frequently chosen major. Only 3,200 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and leisure studies in 2017. This major is dominated by women with about 55.3% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 3.8%
  • Black or African American: 11.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 9.2%
  • White: 67.4%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 1.5%
  • Other Races: 7.1%
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in parks and rec. About 1.5% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending parks and rec majors to the U.S. are China, South Korea and Japan.

What Will You Learn as a Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 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

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Majors

Skills for Parks & Rec Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to parks and rec:

Important Skills for Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 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 Studies
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Recreation and Fitness Studies Professors



Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Major Salary

Parks and rec majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $72,000 to $72,000. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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  ( 72000 to 72000 )
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 )

The area of the country you choose to work in will also affect your career and salary prospects. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 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 Studies
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 Studies Programs

There are 128 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and leisure studies, with 6 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.

Many learners are drawn to online programs due to the ease of use and flexibility. Students should be warned that those who enroll in online programs can take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to drop out.

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

The median salary for a parks and rec grad is $72,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 86% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $665,800 after 20 years!

parks, recreation and leisure 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: Jazmin Smith via License

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