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Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Major

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Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies

2,956 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
167 Master's Degrees Annually
#107 in Popularity
$72,190 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many parks, recreation and leisure studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 2,956
Associate’s Degree 206
Master’s Degree 167
Basic Certificate 147
Undergraduate Certificate 68
Doctor’s Degree 16
Graduate Certificate 1

What Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to parks and rec were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Parks & Rec Majors

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

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  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for Parks & Rec Majors

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

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  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Abilities for Parks & Rec Majors

Parks and Rec majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

What Can You Do With a Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Major?

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

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Recreation and Fitness Studies Professors 9.7% $62,620

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies?

2,956 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
58% Percent Women
28% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 2,956 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and leisure studies in 2019, making it rank #107 in popularity. This major is dominated by women with about 58% of recent graduates being female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Parks & Rec Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 114
Black or African American 260
Hispanic or Latino 311
White 2,006
International Students 45
Other Races/Ethnicities 220

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Parks & Rec. About 1.5% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Taiwan

How Much Do Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in parks and rec was $30,500 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $25,950 (25th percentile) and $33,000 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in parks and rec, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

The median salary for someone in a career related to parks and rec is $72,190. This median refers to 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, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Major  72,190
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

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

Find out what the typical degree level is for parks and rec careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 5.1%
Master’s Degree 21.0%
Doctoral Degree 74.9%

Online Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Programs

In 2018-2019, 179 schools offered a parks and rec program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 16 2
Certificate (1-2 years) 12 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 37 3
Bachelor’s Degree 3 1
Post-Baccalaureate 16 2
Master’s Degree 29 5
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 5 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 1 0

Is a Degree in Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Worth It?

The median salary for a parks and rec grad is $72,190 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 81% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $645,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to parks and rec.

Major Number of Grads
Health & Physical Education 64,271
Recreation Administration 3,676
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 227
Outdoor Education 216

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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