For those who love the outdoors, working in outdoor recreation may be an attractive career choice. However, those interested in a career in this field should become familiar with the salaries that these positions offer, as well the educational and skill requirements. With this information, a person can better make an informed decision about whether a career in outdoor recreation is an appropriate choice.
One of the most well-known jobs in outdoor recreation is the park ranger. Park rangers perform a variety of tasks, enforcing rules and regulations in parks and other public outdoor recreation areas and providing information on the history and nature of the area. Many park rangers possess a college degree in a related field. Park rangers should enjoy working with the public and have effective communication skills. Park rangers with the National Park Service earn an annual salary between $20,908 and $31,680.
Tour guides work in a variety of outdoor settings. For example, guides may lead groups on trips into natural areas to observe wildlife or view historic sites. A tour guide should be familiar with the area where she works and be comfortable speaking in front of crowds. Educational requirements for a tour guide will vary depending on the employer. While many guide positions only require employees to have a high school diploma or GED, some will require a college degree. In 2009, the median annual wages of tour guides was $23,750, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While many resort workers perform tasks related to guest services, many resorts also employ workers who complete outdoor-related tasks. Some examples may include ski instructors, fishing guides, golf professionals and lifeguards. Generally employers have few formal requirements for these positions beyond appropriate skills and the ability to get along with others. Similar positions may be available at state and national parks, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities. Resort workers in general earned about $400 per week in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, resort workers who provide specialized services to the public, such as a fishing guide, often receive tips from clients in addition to a base wage.
Recreation workers work in a variety of fields to plan activities for others to get exercise and experience the outdoors. While many recreation workers work for nursing homes and rehabilitation centers where the ability to work outside is limited, recreation workers also work at national, state and local parks, summer camps and resorts. Many employers seek recreation workers with a college degree in a related field and a criminal background check is likely, especially for those working with children. As of May 2008, the median wage for recreation workers was $21,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the highest-paid positions were in nursing homes; those working in other locations should expect slightly lower wages.
- East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania: Areas of Specialization; January 2007
- National Park Service: Park Rangers; October 2006
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Recreation Workers; December 2009
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Hotels and Other Accommodations; December 2009
- O*Net OnLine: Summary Report For: 39-6021.00 -- Tour Guides and Escorts; 2010
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