A degree programme is university-based, and students usually spend four years studying concepts, theories and applications of the subject area. Degree programs provide a broad base of knowledge and philosophy of the subject, as well as some practical experience in the field.
A diploma programme is college-based and usually two years in length. Students are exposed to some concepts and theories, with a strong emphasis on practical applications. A diploma will provide for career entry positions, but in some situations may not allow for promotion to senior positions. Some diploma programs may be transferable to universities for credit toward a degree.
A certificate programme is usually a one year and trains student to perform job-specific tasks such as running an arena or operating a swimming pool.
Trained recreation professionals may be employed in such broad areas as administration, parks, research and planning, facilities and programming. Some typical employers include:
Public Recreation - municipal, provincial or federal government agencies
Agency Recreation - YMCA, YWCA, Boys and Girls Clubs
Commercial Recreation - golf courses, curling clubs, spas, fitness centres, racquet courts, ski resorts, consulting firms
Corporate Recreation - corporations and industries providing employee recreation/fitness programs
Special Needs Recreation - hospitals, senior citizens` homes, institutions and agencies for persons with disabilities
Outdoor Recreation - outdoor centres, residential camps, nature centres;
Open Space Recreation - parks services, open space playgrounds, forestry and environmental services
Thus, recreation professionals can choose from a broad range of jobs. The next section looks at positions in the areas of administration, programming, research and planning, facilities and parks. Some job titles and job duties are provided below. This job information only gives you a general idea of some typical recreation positions. However, some recreation positions involve duties from several of the following areas. Other positions may lead to senior positions after some experience is gained. There are also many jobs in closely related fields such as the tourism and entertainment industries.
Typical administrative positions in the recreation and parks field include Recreation Managers/Directors and Assistant Directors and municipal Recreation/Parks Superintendents. Other positions include Executive Directors for sport and recreation associations and senior positions in provincial and federal government agencies. Job duties may include preparing budgets and grant applications, hiring and supervising staff, planning for facility developments and programs, preparing plans for providing recreation services, organizing major events, developing policies and procedures, handling public relations, attending meetings with recreation boards or community groups and various other duties.