California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Recreation Workers in California

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.

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. They may work 40 hours a week; however, the majority work part-time, nights, weekends, irregular hours, and seasonally.

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.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2017 for Recreation Workers in California was $27,004 annually, or $12.98 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2017Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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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. However, during times of economic downturns there may be fewer employment opportunities since public recreation agencies depend upon state and local government funding.

How Do I Qualify?

The basic requirement for Recreation Workers is a high school diploma (or equivalent); however, some full-time positions may require a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation, leisure studies, or a related field. Administrative positions for large organizations or public recreation systems may require a master's degree or higher.

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 and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Recreation Workers