Detailed Guide forRecreation Workers in San Diego County
May also be called: Activity Coordinators; Activity Specialists; Parks Recreation Coordinators; Playground Workers; Recreation Assistants
Specialties within this occupation include: Camp Counselors; Directors of Recreation and Parks; Recreation Leaders; Recreation Supervisors
What Would I Do?
Recreation Workers plan, organize, and direct people in a variety of activities, such as arts and crafts, aerobics, hiking, swimming, and sports. They promote interest and motivate people to participate in recreational activities and programs, while taking into consideration the abilities and needs of individual participants. A Recreation Worker's job may include setting up and laying out materials or equipment for the day’s activities.
Recreation Workers use a variety of tools, including calculators, dry-erase boards, desktop computers, emergency medical services first aid kits, and word processing software.
Camp Counselors lead and instruct children, teenagers, and adults in various indoor and outdoor recreational activities, such as archery, boating, camping, crafts, hiking, horseback riding, and swimming. Other specialty subjects may include computers, drama, gymnastics, music, and tennis. Camp Counselors provide guidance and support to campers. They may also help campers develop confidence and social skills to use in their daily lives.
Recreation Leaders are responsible for a recreational program's daily operation. Other responsibilities may include organizing, directing, leading, and instructing participants in various activities. Recreation Leaders' duties may include scheduling the use of the facility, keeping records, and making sure the recreation equipment and facilities are used properly.
Recreation Supervisors plan, organize, and manage recreational activities to meet the needs of the community. They hire, train, and supervise the Recreation Leaders and help them improve their leadership skills. They often serve as the contact between the Director of the park or recreation center and the Recreation Leaders. Some Recreation Supervisors have specialized responsibilities, such as directing special activities or events, or managing a major activity.
Directors of Recreation and Parks develop and manage comprehensive recreation programs in parks, playgrounds, and other settings. Directors usually work directly for a Community Services Director, Deputy Mayor, or Mayor. They perform technical advising and also serve as liaison to advisory recreation and park commissions. Directors are responsible for recreation and park budgets, programs, operations, development, and planning.
Important Tasks and Related Skills
Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.
|View the skill definitions|
|Task||Skill Used in this Task|
|Enforce rules and regulations of recreational facilities to maintain discipline and ensure safety.||Public Safety and Security|
|Manage the daily operations of recreational facilities.||Administration and Management|
|Organize, lead, and promote interest in recreational activities such as arts, crafts, sports, games, camping, and hobbies.||Oral Expression|
|Greet new arrivals to activities, introducing them to other participants, explaining facility rules, and encouraging participation.||Customer and Personal Service|
|Supervise and coordinate the work activities of personnel, such as training staff members and assigning work duties.||Management of Personnel Resources|
|Confer with management to discuss and resolve participant complaints.||Problem Sensitivity|
|Explain principles, techniques, and safety procedures to participants in recreational activities, and demonstrate use of materials and equipment.||Instructing|
|Complete and maintain time and attendance forms and inventory lists.||Monitoring|
|Ascertain and interpret group interests, evaluate equipment and facilities, and adapt activities to meet participant needs.||Learning Strategies|
|Meet and collaborate with agency personnel, community organizations, and other professional personnel to plan balanced recreational programs for participants.||Deductive Reasoning|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Public Safety and Security||Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.|
|Administration and Management||Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.|
|Oral Expression||The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.|
|Customer and Personal Service||Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.|
|Management of Personnel Resources||Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.|
|Problem Sensitivity||The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.|
|Instructing||Teaching others how to do something.|
|Monitoring||Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.|
|Learning Strategies||Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.|
|Deductive Reasoning||The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.|
Recreation Workers may work in various settings, such as community centers, cruise ships, health clubs, playgrounds, parks, recreational areas, summer camps, and theme parks. Regardless of the setting, most of these workers spend their time outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. Recreation Workers should be healthy and in good physical shape. Recreation Leaders and Supervisors usually spend more time in an office and less time engaging in physical activities. However, Recreation Workers at all levels risk suffering injuries during physical activities. They may work 40 hours a week; however, the majority work part-time, nights, weekends, irregular hours, and seasonally.
Unionization is not common in this occupation. However, Recreation Workers who work for government agencies usually join a union.
Will This Job Fit Me?
The job of Recreation worker may appeal to those who enjoy assisting, communicating, and instructing people on the principles, techniques, and safety procedures of various types of recreational activities and equipment usage. In addition, those who like to organize, set up, and carry out programs and special events may be interested in this occupation. Recreation Workers may also need to make decisions concerning the facilities, participants, or programs which are offered.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2015 for Recreation Workers in California was $24,340 annually, or $11.70 hourly. The median wage for Recreation Workers in San Diego County was $23,400 annually, or $11.25 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Most public and private recreation agencies provide full-time Recreation Workers with health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and pension plans; part-time workers receive few benefits.
What is the Job Outlook?
Job opportunities for full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary Recreation Workers are expected to increase at a normal growth rate. Recreation Workers with formal training and prior work experience or graduate degrees may have better opportunities for job placement. However, during times of economic downturns there may be fewer employment opportunities since public recreation agencies depend upon state and local government funding.
Projections of Employment
In California, the number of Recreation Workers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Recreation Workers are expected to increase by 12.6 percent, or 5,200 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
In San Diego County, the number of Recreation Workers is expected to grow at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations. Jobs for Recreation Workers are expected to increase by 17.4 percent, or 590 jobs between 2012 and 2022.
|Estimated Employment and Projected Growth|
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|San Diego County|
|View Projected Growth for All Areas|
Annual Job Openings
In California, an average of 520 new job openings per year is expected for Recreation Workers, plus an additional 490 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,010 job openings.
In San Diego County, an average of 58 new job openings per year is expected for Recreation Workers, plus an additional 40 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 98 job openings.
|Estimated Average Annual Job Openings|
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|San Diego County|
|View Data for All Areas|
How Do I Qualify?
Education, Training, and Other Requirements
The educational and training requirements for Recreation Workers depend upon the type of job. A part-time or summer job may only require a high school diploma (or equivalent), along with a short period of on-the-job training. Graduates, with an associate degree in parks and recreation, grounds management, or social work and experience, may have additional career opportunities in recreation. However, full-time professional positions generally require a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation or leisure studies. For some positions a liberal arts degree may be adequate. Administrative positions may require a master’s degree in parks and recreation, business administration, or public administration. Also, fingerprinting and drug screening may be required.
Some employers may require previous volunteer or work experience in the recreational field. However, specialized training or experience in a specific discipline may be beneficial for many job opportunities. Participation and leadership experience in Scouting, 4-H Clubs, and other community activities may provide valuable skills and experience for this occupation.
Early Career Planning
High school students planning to become Recreation Workers should follow the State's graduation requirements and also take elective courses in art, child development, and physical education.
Training programs for Recreation Workers are also available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). Program titles include parks, recreation, and leisure studies. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.
Continuing education is necessary for Recreation Workers to keep their certifications valid.
Some recreation occupations may require certifications, such as Certified Park and Recreation Professional, Computer Fundamentals, Lifeguard, Safety-Certified Riding Instructor, and Standard First Aid. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.
Where Can I Find Training?
There are two ways to search for training information:
Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.
Where Would I Work?
The largest industries employing Recreation Workers are as follows:
|Industry Title||Percent of Total Employment for Occupation in California|
|Local Government ||46.1%|
|Civic and Social Organizations ||13.1%|
|Individual and Family Services ||7.1%|
|Nursing Care Facilities ||6.3%|
|Other Amusement & Recreation Industries ||5.6%|
Finding a Job
Direct application to employers is one of the most effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through classified advertisements in newspapers and online job boards. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
Yellow Page Headings
You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Recreation Workers.
- Recreation Workers
Find Possible Employers
To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:
- Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
- Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
- Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
- Contact the employer for possible employment.
Where Could This Job Lead?
Recreation Workers with experience, managerial skills, or a college degree may be promoted into leadership or supervisory positions. Administrative opportunities may also be available for qualified Recreation Supervisors.
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These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.
For the Career Professional
The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.