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EXPLORE BECOMING A RECREATIONAL FITNESS WORKER
What is this job like?

Recreation workers plan and teach activities that people enjoy in their free time. This may include camping, sports, arts and crafts, dance, or drama. Recreation workers organize these activities for people of all ages.

Recreation workers hold a variety of jobs. Camp directors supervise camp counselors and plan the camp's activities. Camp counselors lead and teach children activities such as swimming, archery, hiking, horseback riding, and camping.

Fitness workers teach and help people with exercises such as weightlifting, yoga, aerobics, and karate. They help people train and meet their personal fitness goals. They also show people the proper way of doing various exercises. Aerobics instructors teach classes that help people improve their physical conditioning.

Recreation workers do their jobs in different places such as health clubs, cruise ships, and parks. Those who work outdoors sometimes must deal with bad weather.

Most fitness workers spend their time indoors at fitness centers and health clubs. Many workers work about 40 hours a week. Some work nights and weekends.

How do you get ready?

Many full-time jobs require a college degree with a major in parks and recreation or leisure studies. Special training or experience in a particular field, such as art, music, drama, or athletics, is important for many jobs.

Some jobs require certification. One may be certified in a particular area of exercise such as personal training, strength training, and aerobics. Many fitness workers become personal trainers.

Recreation workers should like working with people. They need to have good health and be physically fit.

How much does this job pay?

The middle half of recreation workers made between $7.09 and $11.36 an hour in 2002. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $15.72. Earnings of successful, self-employed personal trainers can be much higher.

How many jobs are there?

Recreation workers held about 485,000 jobs in 2002. Many others worked in the summer. A large number worked for park and recreation departments of local governments. Others worked for social groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Still others worked at health clubs and fitness centers, and for nursing homes and facilities for people who cannot completely take care of themselves. There are a large number of part-time, seasonal, and volunteer workers.

What about the future?

People will spend more money and time on leisure. Businesses will have more recreation and fitness programs for their employees. As a result, the number of jobs for recreation workers is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations between 2002 and 2012. However, most workers are expected to face tough competition for jobs because so many people want to become recreation workers. Persons with formal training or experience will have the best chances to get a job.

The recreation field also provides a large number of temporary, seasonal jobs. These jobs are often filled by high school or college students.

Are there other jobs like this?

  • Coaches
  • Counselors
  • Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists
  • Professional athletes
  • Psychologists
  • Recreational therapists
  • Social workers
  • Umpires
Where can you find more information?

More information about recreation and fitness workers can be found in the Careers Database.

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics



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