Children attending camp come home singing songs and extolling the virtues of their favorite camp counselors and the great outdoors. But without the camp director, or CD, there'd be no uplifted voices and no camp workers to teach the kids to sing. Because the camp director's job requires her to serve as the facilities administrator, fundraiser and community outreach coordinator in addition to staff trainer, her salary reflects this. The average salary of the camp director can vary.
Residential vs. Day-Camp Salaries
As of 2014, a residential, or live-in, camp director made more money than a CD working at a day camp. According to Glassdoor, the average residential camp director salary was around $83,000 per year. Day camp directors didn't make nearly as much, with many getting paid hourly. Both Salary Expert and Glassdoor showed the highest average for these directors to come in at less than $20,000 per year. The latter figure more aligns with the income reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for recreation workers. But many of these jobs are seasonal, meaning that the weekly salary of the day camp worker might be more comparable to that of the residential camp director if compared on a week-by-week basis.
The Overall Median Pay
On the BLS website, the job of the camp director falls under the category of recreation workers. As of May 2013, the median pay for all people employed in this type of work was just over $22,000 per year. But the highest-paid workers among the recreation workers reach up into the upper 30s. On average, the person working at a camp works at camps for eight years. Additionally, most camp directors start out in lower positions, such as camp counselor, and then move up in the ranks. This means that a one-time camp counselor who made $8 an hour starting out could experience a significant jump in wages, depending upon where she works.
Where a person gets a camp director position also affects how much that person earns. Residential camp directors in New England earn as much as $71,000 per year, while day camp directors in the Mid-Atlantic states have an average salary of just over $63,000, according to a 2010 ACA report. The highest concentration of workers in the recreation industry also correlates with these salaries, with the highest concentrations of them working in Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois and Wisconsin. These figures don't vary much when compared against 2014 listings for CD salaries on job sites like Glassdoor.
Other Factors Affecting Salaries
For-profit camps usually can pay their CDs more than nonprofit or religious camps can, which results in higher pay for the top position. In this case, the camp director position offers about $120,000 a year. Additionally, CDs, who have earned a master's degree take home nearly $20,000 a year more than their counterparts with only bachelor's degrees. Finally, gender appear to play a role as well. Male camp directors can earn anywhere from $13,000 to $17,000 more per year than their female counterparts, with residential camp directors earning more than day camp counselors.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Recreation Workers - What They Do
- American Camp Association: Show Me the Money - Views from ACA's Compensation and Benefits Report 2010
- Northern Arizona University: Camp Director Job Description
- American Camp Association: Job Descriptions - Camp Director
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Recreation Workers
- Glassdoor: Camp Director Salaries
- Salary Expert: Camp Director Salaries
- Glassdoor: Camp Counselor Salaries
- Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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