Leisure has become a multibillion-dollar business in the United States, with camps, cruises, and other recreational activities gaining steam across the country. As the industry grows, so does the need for qualified professionals working in the various aspects of leisure and recreation. To answer the call, community colleges are beginning to offer degrees in "leisure" to help those interested in this profession get started on a lucrative, rewarding career.
About the Leisure Industry
Recreation workers deal with a wide range of environments and duties, from organizing arts and crafts at a children's camp to running organized sports leagues for corporations or communities. Jobs may be seasonal or permanent, and the large majority of positions are part-time. Because competition is stiff for full-time positions within this industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, additional education and training can go a long way in helping you secure the position you want.
Recreation employees may work in a wide range of settings, including:
- Cruise ships
- Nature parks
- Summer camps
- Community centers
While many employees in this industry spend many of their working hours outdoors, directors and managers primarily enjoy a desk job, organizing activities, and managing staff from an office. The employment outlook for this industry is good, with faster than average growth expected in many areas.
This video reports on the recreation and leisure services programs at Georgian College.
Training in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City Community College is just one of the institutions jumping onboard the leisure bandwagon, with an associate's degree specifically geared toward students looking for a career in this area. According to News OK, a degree in leisure services from OCCC can lead to jobs as cruise directors, park rangers, and raft and rock climbing guides. The program is brand new, with some courses offered next spring and even more available in the fall.
Kevin Fink, an instructor at OCCC, told News OK, "The leisure industry is a multibillion-dollar industry, so the sky's the limit regarding potential careers." Students will receive training in parks, recreation, and leisure, as well as the basics of customer service and cultures. In addition to the job possibilities listed above, students may also use their degree to secure employment at resorts, tourism, travel agencies, and the armed forces.
Lakeland Community College Offers Management Degree
For students interested in a career in parks and recreation management, this Ohio community college fits the bill. The Lakeland Community College parks and recreation management degree prepares students to work in city parks, federal and state agencies, city parks, community centers, and fitness clubs. This program, which was launched at the beginning of the 2009-2010 academic year is the first of its kind in northeast Ohio, according to the college website.
Courses in the Lakeland program include management, finance, and economics classes, business mathematics, organizational communication, and public speaking. An internship is also incorporated into the second year, so students receive hands-on training in the area of their specification. The associate's degree takes four semesters (69 credits) to complete. Students can also choose to transfer to a four-year university after graduation to complete studies for a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation management.
This video reports on the recreation and leisure services program at Centennial College.
Two Options Available in Scottsdale
At Scottsdale Community College, students interested in a career in recreation can choose between an Associate in Applied Science in Recreation Management or a Certificate of Completion in Recreation Management, according to the college website. The associate degree requires a minimum of 64 credits, with courses like Leisure & Quality of Life and Outdoor Adventure Skills. This degree opens the door to a recreation career directly after graduation or the ability to transfer to a four-year university.
The certificate of completion takes just three semesters to finish 43 hours and opens the door for a variety of entry-level positions in the recreation industry. While many of the courses taken for the certificate are similar to the degree classes, the core curricula in basics like composition and math are not required with the certificate program. Because of this, the certificate cannot be used alone to transfer to a four-year university as a junior.
Finding rewarding work in the leisure industry has become much easier, thanks to a host of college programs geared just to this purpose. With additional education and training under your belt, you will be much more marketable to the specific industry you choose. Whether you want to sail the world on a cruise ship or spend your days caring for our state and national parks, a degree in recreation and leisure can get you started on the career of your dreams.
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