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Recreation, Fitness, and Leisure Studies


Recreation, fitness, and leisure studies programs prepare people to provide recreational services to the public.

Recreation, fitness, and leisure studies programs include topics such as:


In recreation, fitness, and leisure studies programs students may be able to specialize in:


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

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

Many universities offer graduate degrees in recreation, fitness, and leisure studies. 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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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

Other Careers Related to this Program of Study

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.

Also, if you are interested in studying a particular type of recreation more closely, you should take courses in that. Theater, music, and physical education are examples.

Some schools require a personal interview and related volunteer and work experience as well.

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.

For many schools, your bachelor's degree does not have to be in any particular field. However, you should take several related courses, if possible. This might include courses in the following:

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

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

Graduate Program Courses

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

Many programs, both undergraduate and graduate, offer a practicum as part of their curriculum. This gives you a hands-on opportunity to apply what you've learned to different recreation, fitness, and leisure studies settings.

For example, you could help develop and implement a fitness program for senior citizens. Or, you could help raise money for an after-school arts program for inner-city youth.

Whatever the setting, you benefit from the guidance and direct supervision of an experienced worker in this program.

Things to Know

If you'd like to apply your studies in this program to teaching or coaching, you may need to earn a certificate first. For example, to be a swimming coach, you need to have a lifesaving certificate.

The National Recreation and Parks Association offers national certification to graduates of its program. There are different levels of certification depending on your educational background.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla Community College

Walla Walla University

Wenatchee Valley College

King-Snohomish Area

AlderLeaf Wilderness College

Bellevue College

Bodycenter Studios

Everett Community College

National Personal Training Institute

North Seattle College

Seattle Pacific University

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Spokane Falls Community College

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

Pierce College Puyallup

Tri-Cities Area

Columbia Basin College

West Side Area

Basi Pilates

Centralia College

Grays Harbor College

Western Washington University