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Recreation and Parks Management


Recreation and parks management programs prepare people to run parks and other leisure facilities.

Recreation and parks management programs include topics such as:


In recreation and parks management programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Many community colleges and two-year schools offer associate degree programs in recreation and parks management. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in recreation and parks management. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in recreation and parks management. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

You should also take courses related to the kind of recreation that most interests you. For instance, if you wanted to be involved with the arts or dance programs, you should take courses in art or dance.

Some schools may require the following additional requirements:

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree and good grades. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

Although your bachelor's degree does not have to be in any particular field, it would be helpful to take several courses in recreation and park studies, business administration, and behavioral sciences.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Course work in graduate programs tends to vary. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Many programs require you to complete an externship as part of their curriculum. This is a hands-on opportunity to apply what you've learned in the classroom to real-life recreation and parks management settings.

Possible settings include a national park, a concert hall, a theme park, or even a zoo. You might assist with developing a program, writing grants and other types of fundraising, or events-planning.

You gain exposure to different aspects of this program of study as well as different management styles. You also benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced recreation management professional.

Things to Know

An associate degree or a bachelor's degree typically prepares you for entry- to mid-level management positions in this field. A master's degree prepares you for higher-level management positions. Earning a doctoral degree in this program prepares you to do research or teach at the college level.

After completing this program you are eligible to sit for a national certification exam.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

King-Snohomish Area

Green River College

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Spokane Community College