Recreation and fitness workers enjoy working with people. They also need to have good health and be physically fit. Recreation workers conduct activities with groups in public, private, or volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. This may include camping, sports, arts and crafts, dance, or drama. Recreation workers organize these activities for people of all ages.
A large number of recreation worker jobs can be found in the parks and recreation departments of local municipalities. Others work for social groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Recreation workers also hold a variety of jobs in places such as health clubs, cruise ships, and camps. Camp directors supervise camp counselors and plan the camp’s activities. Camp counselors lead and teach child activities such as swimming, archery, hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
Full-time recreation jobs usually require a college degree with a major in parks and recreation or leisure studies. Special training or experience in a particular field such as art, music, drama, or athletics, is important for certain jobs. Many recreation workers hold part-time jobs during the summer. Those who work outside must sometimes deal with extreme weather.
Some fitness workers may work outdoors, but most personal trainers and group exercise instructors work indoors at fitness centers, health clubs, and gyms. They can also be found in some companies that offer recreation and fitness programs for their employees. Other fitness workers have jobs in rehabilitation centers and facilities for people who cannot completely take care of themselves.
Fitness workers show people the proper way of doing various exercises such as weightlifting, aerobics, and karate. They also teach classes that help people improve their physical conditioning. Many fitness workers become personal trainers. As personal trainers, they help people train and meet their individual fitness goals. Fitness workers may have more than one job, teaching or doing personal training at several different fitness centers and in private homes.
Some jobs as a fitness worker require certification. One may be certified in a particular area of exercise such as personal training, strength training, or aerobics. More employers are requiring fitness workers to have a college degree in a field related to health and fitness, such as exercise science or physical education.
Job opportunities should be good for fitness workers because of rapid growth in the health and fitness industry. But recreation workers may face tough competition for jobs because so many people want to become recreation workers. Those with formal training or experience will have the best chances. A large number of temporary and seasonal recreation jobs are often filled by high school or college students.