How to Become an Activity Specialist


If you want to become an activity specialist, you first need to determine if this occupation is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for it:


Those who become activity specialists have a genuine interest in physical, emotional and social health, and enjoy working with people. They must have excellent interpersonal skills, communication skills and be very organized.


They are also typically individuals that are able to combine an interest and knowledge in fitness, sports, games, arts, crafts or other activities, with an interest in people and an aptitude in organization and program coordination. They also should enjoy being part of a dynamic team, and taking part in dynamic and constantly evolving programs.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an activity specialist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed

Although the educational requirements for this occupation may vary by employer, you'll likely need a bachelor’s degree in one of many areas, such as physical education, outdoor recreation, recreation management, psychology, nursing, social work, gerontology, communication or others.


Employers typically prefer to hire university graduates whose studies were directly related to recreation, although they may hire those who have experience in the recreation field (at a variety of responsibility levels) in place of formal education.





Characteristics & Traits Needed

In order to become effective in this occupation, you'll need to posses certain personality traits and characteristics. These traits will allow you to endure the various highs and lows of the job, as well as maintain interest and engagement in your work.


• Enjoy working with people from a variety of backgrounds

• Appreciate the positive impact and value of leisure and recreation

• Able to work independently and as part of a team

• Able to foster partnerships and personal relationships

• Strong leadership skills

• Enjoy developing and participating in innovative and continually evolving programs

• Able to use good judgment in a variety of situations

• Must be trustworthy

• Have a caring and compassionate personality



Who Hires Activity Specialists?

Activity specialists may be hired on part-time, full-time, or contractual basis by organizations that offer recreation, sports, fitness or leisure programs. Such organizations may include:


• Municipal government departments

• Recreation and fitness facilities

• Colleges and universities

• Non-profit organizations (such as Boys and Girls Clubs)

• Hotels and resorts

• Hospitals and related healthcare facilities

• Long-term care and assisted living facilities

• Rehabilitation centres

• Non-profit organizations

• Private community-based agencies

• Day programs and outpatient services 





Putting it all Together: Steps for Becoming an Activity Specialist

To sum all of this up, here are the essential steps you’ll need to enter this field:


Step 1 - Check if you’re well suited

Do you enjoy working closely with people? Do you have an appreciation for the positive impact and value of recreational activities? Are you trustworthy and able to use good judgement in a variety of situations? If your answers started with a “y”, then you’re off to a great start. Off to step 2.


Step 2 - Get a degree

You’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree in an area such as physical education, outdoor recreation, recreation management, psychology, nursing, social work, gerontology, communication or others. Any one of these fields will typically be accepted by employers. Some jobs may have a heavy nursing component, in which case you would need a nursing degree.


Step 3 - Get a job

Now that you have a degree, it’s time to find a job that looks interesting to you. Depending on your financial situation, you may or may not want to take the first thing that comes your way.





Details of this Career: Job Description

Activity specialists conduct recreation activities with groups in public, private, volunteer agencies or recreation facilities. Activity specialists organize and promote activities, which may include arts, crafts, sports, music, camping and hobbies. They must take into account the objectives of the group as well as the interests of individual participants.



General Job Duties

• Organize, oversee and promote interest in recreational activities such as sports, games, arts and hobbies

• Schedule the use of facilities or public areas

• Evaluate the performance of staff and volunteers

• Coordinate the purchase of supplies

• Collaborate with agency personnel, community organizations, and other personnel to plan balanced recreational programs for participants

• Evaluate facilities, programs and services to see if they are fulfilling group objectives

• Administer First Aid if necessary

• Oversee inventory control

• Enforce the rules and regulations of recreational facilities or of the organization in order  to maintain discipline and ensure safety



How Much Do They Make?

The salary level of activity specialists can vary based on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, the specific responsibilities of their job, where they work, and many others.


Salary - Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Other assisting occupations in support of health services​ occupational group earn an average salary of $38,099 per year.


Salary - United States: Although no specific data is available for Activity Specialists, we can get a good idea of what they make by looking at the closely related occupation Recreation Worker. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of Recreation Workers is $23,320 per year.



Activity Specialist Jobs

Our job board below has "Activity Specialist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.





Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Activity Specialist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Camp Director

Child Care Centre Supervisor

Physical Education Teacher

Recreation and Sports Director

Recreation Therapist



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this career guide:


• “Occupational Profile: Recreation Co-ordinator.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

• “Occupational Profile: Recreation Therapy Aide.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved August 12, 2016.

• “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Recreation Workers.” (May, 2015). United States Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved August 12, 2016.



Scholarships for Relevant Fields of Study

Scholarships listed for fields of study that are relevant for becoming an Activity Specialist can be found on the following pages:


Exercise Science Scholarships

Kinesiology Scholarships

Outdoor Recreation Scholarships

Theatre Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an activity specialist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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Activity Specialist