Field of Study Overview

People who work hard also like to play hard. Students who study Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness learn how to provide fun and healthy experiences for busy individuals. If you enjoy the great outdoors, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and interacting with people this could be a great field for you.

While you may decide to major in General Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies, you also have the option to specialize in specific areas. Students interested in the business and administration side of recreation may be interested in Recreation Administration; those who seek to improve the health of others can pursue Health and Physical Education/Fitness; and those who have a passion for nature can major in Outdoor Education. Each of these majors allows for a career in a specific niche of recreation and leisure and gives professionals the ability to work closely with the general public.

Depending on the area of expertise you choose, you will take a variety of classes from business administration, marketing, and finance to environmental studies, kinesiology, nutrition, and physiology. No matter what you decide to specialize in, your major will prepare you for a rewarding career helping people get away from the stresses of everyday life.

Required Skills

Students who receive degrees in the numerous Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies areas of specialization often work in careers that provide services to others. This places a strong emphasis on interpersonal and customer relation skills. You must be able to listen to what the customer wants help them find a service that fits their needs. Students in this field also have strong organizational skills as they are often working on multiple projects at once or need to lead multiple teams.

Many employers value work experience. Students should try to find work in their field of interest during summer breaks. This will allow you to better the intricacies of the field and move into higher positions of management.


There are many different career opportunities available to students who have a degree in Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies. Some graduates go to work at gyms or recreation centers while other find jobs in national parks or resorts. There are a variety of recreation and leisure activities, which allows graduates to find many unique jobs working both indoors and outdoors.

Depending on the career you go into, this field is growing at an average or slower than average pace. Graduates who are willing to relocate are more likely to find a job. The average starting salary for a Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies major is $34,159 while the average mid-career salary is $55,509.


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Field at a Glance

  • Yearly Graduations
    (online) 2,559
    (associate) 460
    (bachelor) 54,150
  • Average Starting Salary
  • Average Mid-Career Salary

Explore Top Majors in this Field

Click Major to View Top CollegesPopularitySalary PotentialMajors Matcher
Health & Physical Education High Fair N/A
Outdoor Education Low N/AN/A
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies Average Poor N/A
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies (Other) Low N/AN/A
Recreation Administration Average N/AN/A

College Ranking by Field of Study

Click rankings below to view the top colleges in this field
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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