Careers in Recreation & Fitness

by Jill Lee
Personal training is just one option for those interested in careers in recreation and fitness.

Personal training is just one option for those interested in careers in recreation and fitness.

If you are passionate about fitness and recreation, you can turn your love for physical activity into a successful career. With the number of recreation options available, you can choose from a variety of vocational tracks and discover a job that allows you to help others achieve physical health, enjoy competition or simply have fun. From sports leagues to fitness centers to parks, recreation and fitness careers also allow you to make a positive impact on your community, which helps you find greater job satisfaction and deeper personal fulfillment.

Recreation Workers

Recreation careers come in many different forms. Sports league directors, facility managers, summer camp directors and parks department personnel all fall under the umbrella of recreational career titles. With the number of recreational facilities available, there are many jobs to be found. With the starting salary often being low, however, it can be difficult to start out and stay in the industry without advancing quickly into higher positions.

Recreational Therapists

Many heath care and assisted-living facilities employ recreational therapists or activities directors. These workers plan, direct and conduct fitness and activity programs for groups of residents including senior citizens, special-needs children and adults including those with specific health conditions or diseases. For most positions a degree in therapeutic recreation or related field is required as is certification through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

Fitness Centers

Gyms and fitness centers offer several different career options. Personal trainers, class instructors, membership sales reps and staff supervisors all take part in the daily operations of the facility. And depending on your skill set you can either choose a career working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals or use your sales skills to recruit prospective members. Depending on the size of the gym you may need to handle both personal training and sales duties and may also be required to earn your personal training certification.

Sports Leagues and Organizations

Sports leagues and independent organizations provide a number of career opportunities. Larger leagues that operate on a regional or national scale have governing bodies and offices that employ people who plan events, manage finances, oversee facilities and even handle media. Metropolitan sports commissions, competitive sports leagues, national athletic associations and others all work in the field of sports and recreation and can provide careers for those with a variety of degrees ranging from business to communications to law.

About the Author

After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.

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