Careers with an Outdoor Recreation Degree



As an outdoor recreation graduate, you'll be able choose to pursue a profession directly related to your degree, such as "camp director", "outdoor adventure guide" or "park warden", or you may decide to pursue a career outside of the field.


With the knowledge, skills and competencies you can develop, you'll have a wide variety of career options to choose from.


Your career options will primarily depend on your initiative, your drive, your interests, and of course, opportunities that you take advantage of, or opportunities that you create.


To find our more about what you can do with this degree, and for a detailed look at what it takes to get into these fields, read on below. This guide contains detailed information on career paths relevant to this degree. Included are job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other helpful information related to these occupations.





What an Outdoor Recreation Degree Teaches You

These programs typically combine classroom study, field expeditions and practicum positions to teach you the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to contribute to the exciting and challenging outdoor recreation industry.


Such degree programs are typically designed to prepare you for careers within the field of outdoor recreation. The coursework emphasizes the study of recreational activities and leisure pursuits related to and dependent upon the natural environment.


In order to achieve these goals, these programs are typically comprised of the following elements:


• Theoretical and applied study in all aspects of outdoor recreation

• Research on nature-based recreation, parks and tourism

• Teaching of shared responsibility for learning and research

• Undertaking research on nature-based recreation, parks and tourism

• Supporting a broad scope of outdoor recreation related activities from local to international scales



Employable Skills You'll Gain

As a result of the coursework you’ll be taking, you will develop a highly employable skill set. Some skills will be directly relevant to outdoor recreation careers, while other skills will be highly transferable to a variety of careers.


Skills in Outdoor Recreation

• Familiarity with the commercial aspect of the outdoor recreation industry

• Ability to effectively deliver outdoor recreation information to diverse audiences

• Awareness of how to become involved in local, regional, national and global outdoor recreation community initiatives

• Ability to demonstrate an appropriate professional appearance, set of behaviours, and attitude within the context of the outdoor recreation industry

• A comprehensive understanding and the tools necessary for working within a sustainable and environmentally conscious outdoor recreation organization

• Ability to analyze, adapt and apply the fundamentals of environmental and cultural stewardship as they relate to the outdoor recreation industry


Transferrable Skills

• Written an verbal communications skills

• Qualitative researching abilities

• Time management skills

• Ability to operate within strict timelines

• Ability to think critically

• Ability to recognize quality information

• Ability to apply reasoning and logic to analyze data and formulate arguments and hypotheses

• Ability to express, interpret and discuss such analysis, arguments and hypotheses



List of Directly Relevant Careers

And now, finally, what you’ve been waiting for. A list of careers you can pursue with the skills and competencies you’ve gained as a result of your studies!


• Activity Specialist

• Blogger

• Camp Counselor

• Camp Director

• Community Program Director

• Entrepreneur

• Mentoring Coordinator

• Naturalist

• Outdoor Adventure Guide

• Park Warden

• Recreation and Leisure Supervisor

• Recreation and Sports Director

• Sales Representative

• Tour Guide

• Tourism Promoter

• Tourism Researcher

• University Professor

• Wellness Coordinator 


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers may require education, training and experience. Click on careers you’re interested in to find out more about its specific requirements.





Types of Employers

There are many different types of organizations that will be interested in employing the skill set that you’ve acquired, including:


• Regional, state, provincial and federal parks and protected areas

• Public and private recreation organizations

• Agencies dealing with adventure and outdoor skills

• Private adventure organizations

• Private leisure/recreation organizations

• Educational institutions

• Environmental groups

• Organizations that organize/supervise recreational activities for the elderly, youth or mentally/physically challenged individuals



Typical Salary of Graduates

You may be curious as to what salary you can earn as a graduate first entering the work force. The truth is, your salary could vary drastically, and is heavily dependent on the following factors (not an inclusive list):


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The type of job you find, and your level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have


Outdoor Recreation Graduate Salary - Ontario: According to a study in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $38,407 CAD is the average salary earned by Humanities graduates, 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2008.


This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor’s degree in “Humanities”, not specifically for outdoor recreation graduates. Unfortunately similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources at the time of writing.






Scholarships for Outdoor Recreation Students

Are you an outdoor recreation major looking for help paying for school? Search our scholarships database for Canadian and American scholarships that are specific to this field of study.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations

To find out more about careers in this field, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have opportunities for student membership, as well as job placement and mentoring opportunities.



Canadian Association for Leisure Studies

Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute

Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association

Leisure Information Network


United States

American Recreation Coalition

American Therapeutic Recreation Association

Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education

National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification

The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals



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