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Recreation and 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 child 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 as a recreation worker 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 as a fitness worker require certification. One may be certified in a particular area of exercise such as personal training, strength training, or aerobics. Many fitness workers become personal trainers. More employers are requiring fitness workers to have a college degree in a field related to health and fitness, such as exercise science or physical education.

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

How many jobs are there?

Recreation workers held 327,500 jobs in 2008. Many others worked part time during the summer. A large number worked for parks 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.

Fitness workers had 261,100 jobs in 2008. Most personal trainers and group exercise instructors worked in physical fitness facilities, health clubs, and fitness centers. Many fitness workers have more than one job, teaching or doing personal training at several different fitness centers and in private homes.What about the future?

The number of jobs for recreation workers will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. This is because people will spend more money and time on leisure. Businesses will have more recreation and fitness programs for their employees. Still, most workers are expected to face tough competition for jobs because so many people want to become recreation workers. Those with formal training or experience will have the best chances to get a job. A large number of temporary and seasonal recreation jobs is often filled by high school or college students.

Job opportunities should be good for fitness workers because of rapid growth in the fitness industry. The number of jobs for fitness workers will grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018.

How much does this job pay?

In May 2008, recreation workers had average yearly wages of $24,570.

Are there other jobs like this?



Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists

Professional athletes

Recreational therapists

Social workers


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