Recreation Careers Outlook
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the amusement and recreation services industry provided about 1.8 million jobs in 2004. The industry is characterized by a large number of seasonal and part-time positions and workers who are younger than the average for all industries. Almost half of workers are under the age of 35. Many businesses in the industry increase hiring during the summer, often employing high school- and college- age workers.
The recreation industry should grow faster than the average for all career fields through 2014; an increase of about 25 percent is expected. Several factors contribute to the health of the industry. Today, people earn more— families often benefit from two incomes—and enjoy a greater amount of leisure time than ever before. Since people are more aware of their health and the benefits of physical fitness, they view physical activity less as a hobby, and more as a necessity.
The largest growth will be for jobs at facilities catering to the growing middle-aged and elderly population. Golf courses, cruise lines, bingo centers, and other facilities that target the 50- to 75-year-old age group will hire more employees to help keep their businesses running smoothly.
Sports facilities, health spas, and fitness centers are popular outlets for the health-conscious public and younger adults with steadily rising incomes. Gambling venues will continue to provide jobs for the industry, as many more states pass legislation in favor of land-based casinos. Many cities and nearby suburbs house satellite betting parlors that employ thousands of workers.
Possibilities for the recreation industry are almost endless. Theme parks and amusement parks are constantly expanding and modernizing their attractions to appeal to the public. As estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor, service-oriented jobs, recreation and amusement attendants, in particular, make up about 30 percent of workers in the industry. Job opportunities look good for young workers willing to work part-time at recreation facilities or as seasonal help; unskilled workers should be able to easily find entry-level positions. Many colleges and universities now have associate and bachelor degree programs in recreation. Advanced training and education is available for those who desire a position in management or administration. However, about 40 percent of all workers in the recreational industry have no formal education beyond a high school diploma.
The outlook for the performing arts is strong as the demand for quality entertainment-theater, music, dance continues to grow. Employment opportunities for performers and musicians will be competitive as many find this field appealing; only the most talented actors, dancers, or musicians will find steady work. Technical positions, however, should remain plentiful.
Unlike other industries, recreation is little affected during economic recessions. When the economy is poor, many people will seek out a sporting event, a day at the carnival, or a musical performance as an escape from tension and stress.
Related Career Fields:
Related Career Cluster:
- Adventure Travel Specialists
- Amusement Park Workers
- Baggage Porters and Bellhops
- Bartenders; Caterers
- Cooks and Chefs
- Cruise Ship Workers
- Food Service Workers
- Gaming Occupations
- Health Club Owners and Managers
- Hotel and Motel Managers
- Hotel Concierges
- Hotel Desk Clerks
- Hotel Executive Housekeepers
- Inbound Tour Guides
- Lifeguards and Swimming Instructors
- Recreation Workers
- Reservation and Ticket Agents
- Resort Workers
- Restaurant and Food Service Managers
- Security Consultants and Guards
- Spa Attendants
- Tour Guides
- Travel Agents
For More Information:
- American Association for Leisure and Recreation Insurance
- American Gaming Association
- National Amusement Park Historical Association
- National Indian Gaming Association
- National Recreation and Park Association
- National Therapeutic Recreation Society
- Professional Ski Instructors of America
- The United States Lifesaving Association
- UMF Ski Industries
- The Walt Disney Company