Recreation Jobs

Recreation jobs make up much of the entertainment sector of hospitality careers. Amusement park workers, recreation specialists, casino workers and many other personnel help ensure travelers enjoy their trips. Other recreation workers, such as lifeguards, see that vacationers stay safe along the way.

Recreation Specialist

Recreation workers help plan, teach and oversee activities in places such as playgrounds, parks, tourist attractions, senior centers, nursing homes and senior housing facilities. They lead groups in craft projects, sporting events, performing arts activities and other events. A recreation worker must have a mind for good communication, and an eye for detail and safety standards to ensure the group has an enjoyable, but safe, time. Depending on a facility’s specific needs, a recreation worker could be responsible for scheduling activities, booking facilities and overseeing other workers. Being responsible is important.

Job settings for a recreation worker can include cruise ships, nature parks, playgrounds or other venues. While an upper-level recreation worker frequently carries out duties from an office, those in lower ranking positions work in different circumstances and engage in more physical activity. The specific education and training requirements you must fulfill will vary depending on the job you hope to obtain.

Full-time recreation workers earned an average annual wage of $21,960 as of May 2008. Incomes ranged from $17,680 to $28,810. During the 2008 – 2018 decade, employment for recreation workers is expected to increase 15 percent. Employment prospects will depend largely on recreation budgets in specific states.

Amusement Park Worker

Amusement park workers can fill an array of roles, whether a park needs cashiers, admissions clerks, merchandise clerks, security workers, parking lot attendants, ride operators or food service staff. In many instances, the jobs carry significant responsibility, as the safety of park patrons could be at risk otherwise. Good communication and an ability to be polite to customers and colleagues are also essential. People with outgoing personalities and who enjoy meeting new people, have the greater success in these occupations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), amusement and recreation attendants represented one of the largest groups of employees in the amusement, gambling and recreation industries. The jobs they hold are frequently part-time, volunteer or seasonal. Annual wages range from $15,160 to $25,910.

Casino Worker

Most gaming services workers carry out their jobs in casinos. In the casino industry, duties, training and educational requirements can vary from one establishment to another. Some people are put in charge of surveillance and supervising workers while others help patrons by monitoring slot machines, handling money or running other games. The work frequently involves direct customer contact and helping customers have a good time at the casino; excellent customer service skills are a must.

Most employers prefer that their employees possess at least a high school diploma or GED. However, some colleges and universities, especially those with hospitality-related programs, also offer at least some training applicable toward working in casinos. The skills required for some occupations, such as gaming dealers, are learned by attending vocational or technical school. At these institutions, a person can learn state and local laws and regulations governing the industry.

Depending on your particular job, an annual salary in gaming could range from $16,310 to $68,290. During the 2008-2018 decade, the BLS anticipates that gaming services employment opportunities will increase by 14 percent. Those with prior casino gaming experience and a related college degree will have the best chance at securing work.


Lifeguards are responsible for keeping swimmers safe at the beach, pool or other aquatic facility. They strive to prevent accidents, warn people of possible hazards, rescue swimmers who have experienced trouble and administer first aid when needed. They are also in charge of seeing that facilities are clean, that there is enough chlorine in a pool and that pH levels are correct. Sometimes, lifeguards also teach swimming lessons.

Your wages and employment possibilities will depend largely on where you find work and the state where you live. The BLS indicated that annual wages in this occupation average $18,700, and range anywhere from $15,350 to $28,070.

Last Updated: 05/23/2014


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