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Recreation and Leisure Studies

  • Available as a major (B.S. degree) and as an associate degree in recreation administration

    With a whistle in your mouth, ball in your hand, sun on your face, you are one of the happiest people in the world. Share your passion for activity and fun with others.

  • One of the newest programs at Olivet, this degree is designed for the person who wants to be involved with recreation, but not directly with organized sports and sport teams.

    Outdoors, you may teach or supervise swimming, boating, hiking, golfing. Indoors, you may be in charge of organizing games, leading arts and crafts activities, teaching an exercise class or directing a performance of music or drama. Teaching and enforcing proper use of equipment is part of the job.

    Be the enthusiastic leader who plans and manages camping, sightseeing or educational trips. Or be the camp counselor or director that everyone remembers. Influence others for Christ through your faith, words and actions.

    There is also an administrative side to the field of recreation and leisure. You may be called on to handle budgeting, fundraising, grant writing and recordkeeping. It may be your job to enforce rules and safety practices. As a director, you will supervise other employees and manage the administrative duties of the camp or facility. You may be the point person who deals with boards, churches, government and its agencies, state and local commissions.

    At Olivet, you can: 

    • Study outdoor education, adaptive physical education, recreation sports management, sports facility planning and management, marketing, organization and administration of athletics.
    • Volunteer to work at a local recreation site, camp or park.
    • And so much more!

    Putting knowledge to work

    In your junior or senior year, you will complete a practicum that is similar to an internship. This is designed to give you experience onsite with an organization or company that is in the business of recreation.


    A career in recreation and leisure may be for you if you are:

    • a person who enjoys the outdoors
    • not bothered by changes in weather conditions
    • confident and assertive in enforcing rules
    • outgoing and good at motivating people
    • sensitive to others’ needs
    • in excellent health and physically fit
    • strong in time and people management skills

    Possible careers include: camp director, camp counselor, activity director, activity specialist, craft specialist, recreation leader, recreation supervisor, recreation director, after-school program director, ministry director

    Possible places of employment: playgrounds, nursing homes, hospitals, Christian camps, national parks, YMCA or YWCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, community centers, senior centers, assisted living facilities, tourist attractions, sports leagues, cruise ship, nature park, after-school and weekend recreation programs, large and mega-churches

    Growth in the number of job opportunities is steady. Many part-time and seasonal work opportunities are available, but openings for career positions are often highly competitive. Many of the new job opportunities will be with nonprofit organizations; and in nursing and residential care facilities; with civic and social organizations; and in fitness and sports centers.

    People and families will continue to spend more time and money on recreation. Local governments and nonprofit organizations will continue to feel the pressure of the struggling economy.

    With the growing number of older Americans, the demand for recreation services will increase. “Baby boomers,” who are now entering retirement, will have more leisure time and more interest in health and fitness than previous generations had.

    The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) offers a certification exam.

    Recreation and leisure professionals who serve as lifeguards are required in some states to have lifeguard certification. Check with the American Lifeguard Association for more information.

    Recreation and Leisure Studies is part of the Department of Exercise and Sports Science within the School of Professional Studies