Activities Director: Job Duties, Career Outlook and Educational Requirements

Learn about the degree programs and professional certifications that can help you obtain a job as an activities director. For further information on their duties and job prospects, read here. Schools offering Sports & Recreation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Activities Directors Do?

Your primary responsibility will be to organize and facilitate leisure activities for children and adults. Specific duties include promoting activities programs in the wider community, encouraging participation in activities and assessing the recreational needs of participants. You may also research, plan and schedule activities. Some employers will ask you to establish policies, manage operations and enforce rules at recreational facilities. You will also oversee the training, supervision and evaluation of support workers. You could also analyze usage patterns and evaluate the effectiveness of recreational programs. The range of activities you organize and manage includes arts and crafts, musical or dramatic performances, sporting competitions, games and hobbies.

Where Could I Work?

Nursing homes, summer camps, schools, resorts, cruise ships and local and state agencies are among the institutions and entities that might hire you. A relatively limited number of positions are full-time compared to those that are part-time, temporary or seasonal. As of 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that approximately 327,500 people were employed as recreation workers. Figures for the sub-category activity directors were not available. By 2018 employment was projected to be about 375,700, a 15% increase. Growth in the population of very young and elderly people will drive demand for recreation services.

What Training or Degree Programs are Available?

Depending on the position you're seeking, you may have different educational requirements for recreational work. A high school diploma might be sufficient to work as a summer camp counselor, but full-time activities directors usually need an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in recreation management or leisure studies. Some administrative positions require a graduate degree and a background in business administration.

A degree in recreation management trains you to design activity programs appropriate to the age, needs and capabilities of particular groups and to communicate effectively with recreation service users, families and communities. Course content addresses such topics as program planning, outdoor recreation, parks management and facilities management. Many programs include an internship course that involves you directly in the administration of a program or facility. An associate's degree is typically earned in two years and a bachelor's degree is earned in four years.

If you meet eligibility requirements, you can obtain the Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) credential from the National Recreation and Park Association. A bachelor's degree in recreation and one year of recreation work experience, a bachelor's degree in any subject and three years of work experience or a high school diploma five years of work experience are sufficient to qualify. As of June 2011 the certification exam consisted of 125 scored questions that test your knowledge of operations management, programming and general administration.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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