Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies

2021 Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Graduates

54,385 Bachelor's Degrees
$28,240 Avg Salary
$23,806 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies School for You

Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies GraduatesIn 2018-2019, 54,385 people earned their bachelor's in parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies, making the major the #13 most popular in the United States. Since picking the right college can be one of the most important decisions of your life, we've developed the Highest Paid Parks & Rec Graduates ranking, along with many other major-related rankings, to help you make that decision.

For this year's Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Graduates ranking, we looked at 430 colleges that offer a bachelor's in parks and rec.

In this ranking, we use early career salaries - salaries 10 years from when a student started college. This is the salary typically earned 4-6 years after graduation, but may be different depending on how long a person takes to complete their degree.

How Much Do Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Majors Make After Graduation?

The average parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies major who graduates from a school in the United States earns about $28,240 per year during the early years of their career. That's not so great, since it is 29% less than the national average salary of a typical bachelor's degree holder. However, graduates from the schools in this list may make more.

Average Salary for Parks & Rec Graduates from Schools Nationwide  28,240
0K
56,400
National Average Salary for All College Grads (Regardless of Major)  39,802
0K
56,400

College Combat

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2021 Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Grads in the United States

Learn more about the colleges and universities that produce the highest paid parks and rec graduates.

Top 25 Best Schools for Highly Paid Parks & Rec Graduates

The #1 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Southern Methodist University. SMU is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Dallas.

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University of Southern California landed the #2 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies school. Located in the city of Los Angeles, USC is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

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The #2 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of Houston - Clear Lake. UH Clear Lake is a medium-sized public school located in the large suburb of Houston.

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Our rankings recognize San Jose State University as the #3 school in this year's rankings. San Jose State is a very large public school located in the large city of San Jose.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor comes in at #4 in this year's ranking. U-M is a very large public school located in the medium-sized city of Ann Arbor.

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Citadel Military College of South Carolina landed the #5 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies school. Located in the medium-sized city of Charleston, The Citadel is a public college with a small student population.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst earned the #6 spot in our 2021 rankings. UMass Amherst is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of Amherst.

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#7

Simpson College

Indianola, IA

Simpson College earned the #7 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the fringe town of Indianola, Simpson College is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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#8

University of Florida-Online

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida-Online comes in at #8 in this year's ranking. Located in the midsize city of Gainesville, UF Online is a public school with a small student population.

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#9

Rice University

Houston, TX

Our rankings recognize Rice University as the #9 school in this year's rankings. Rice is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Houston.

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American Public University System landed the #10 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies school. Located in the town of Charles Town, American Military University is a private for-profit college with a very large student population.

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Maryville University of Saint Louis earned the #11 spot in our 2021 rankings. Maryville U is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Saint Louis.

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#12

Louisiana College

Pineville, LA

Our rankings recognize Louisiana College as the #12 school in this year's rankings. Located in the suburb of Pineville, Louisiana College is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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Our rankings recognize University of Connecticut as the #12 school in this year's rankings. UCONN is a very large public school located in the suburb of Storrs.

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Anderson University Indiana earned the #13 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the small city of Anderson, Anderson University Indiana is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

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#13

Endicott College

Beverly, MA

Endicott College landed the #13 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies school. Endicott is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Beverly.

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#14

Dickinson State University

Dickinson, ND

Dickinson State University comes in at #14 in this year's ranking. Located in the remote town of Dickinson, DSU is a public college with a small student population.

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#14

DePauw University

Greencastle, IN

The #14 spot in this year's ranking belongs to DePauw University. DePauw is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Greencastle.

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#15

Seton Hall University

South Orange, NJ

Our rankings recognize Seton Hall University as the #15 school in this year's rankings. Located in the suburb of South Orange, Seton Hall is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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University of South Carolina - Columbia earned the #16 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the midsize city of Columbia, UofSC is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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#16

University of the Pacific

Stockton, CA

The #16 spot in this year's ranking belongs to University of the Pacific. Located in the large city of Stockton, Pacific is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population.

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#17

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida landed the #17 spot in our 2021 rankings for highest paid parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies school. UF is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Gainesville.

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University of Central Arkansas comes in at #18 in this year's ranking. UCA is a large public school located in the small city of Conway.

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#19

Stetson University

DeLand, FL

The #19 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Stetson University. Located in the city of DeLand, Stetson is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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#19

George Fox University

Newberg, OR

George Fox University earned the #19 spot in our 2021 rankings. GFU is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Newberg.

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Rest of the Top Schools for Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Graduates

#27

University of Dayton

Dayton, OH
#28

Northwood University

Midland, MI
#29

Marian University

Fond Du Lac, WI
#30

Tarleton State University

Stephenville, TX
#31

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY
#32

Davenport University

Grand Rapids, MI

#35

Winona State University

Winona, MN
#36

Springfield College

Springfield, MA
#40

Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg, MA

#44

Sonoma State University

Rohnert Park, CA
#45

Florida Gulf Coast University

Fort Myers, FL
#48

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA
#49

Bemidji State University

Bemidji, MN

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the schools awarded a Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Graduates badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 430 different United States parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
52 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
53 Grand View University Des Moines, IA
54 Ball State University Muncie, IN
55 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
56 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
57 Eastern Oregon University La Grande, OR
58 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
59 Texas Woman’s University Denton, TX
60 Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, CO
61 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX
62 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
63 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
64 Auburn University at Montgomery Montgomery, AL

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Graduates award.

Rank College Location
65 Iowa State University Ames, IA
66 Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX
67 Bluffton University Bluffton, OH
68 Aquinas College Michigan Grand Rapids, MI
69 Washington State University Pullman, WA
70 Queens College Queens, NY
71 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
72 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
73 Concordia University, Wisconsin Mequon, WI
74 Concordia University, Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
75 University of Northwestern - St Paul Saint Paul, MN
76 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
77 West Chester University of Pennsylvania West Chester, PA
78 Texas A&M University - Commerce Commerce, TX
79 Adrian College Adrian, MI
80 West Texas A&M University Canyon, TX
81 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
82 California State University - East Bay Hayward, CA
83 Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte Charlotte, NC
84 Johnson & Wales University - Denver Denver, CO
85 Johnson & Wales University - Providence Providence, RI
86 Johnson & Wales University - North Miami North Miami, FL

Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies by Region

View the Highest Paid Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies Graduates for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Parks & Rec Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Health & Physical Education 48,130
Recreation Administration 3,042
Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 2,956
Other Parks, Recreation & Leisure Studies 138
Outdoor Education 119

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement & Firefighting 60,085
Public Administration & Social Service 36,639
Legal Professions 4,554
Military Technologies & Applied Sciences 791

View All Parks & Rec Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to NPS Photo/Zurbuch.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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