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Outdoor & Community Recreation Education

The recreation field is growing and offers diverse educational and occupational opportunities. Services and experiences provided by the recreation industry range from public parks and community recreation to wilderness therapy and outdoor adventure programs.

Utah boasts 14 ski resorts (Ski Utah 2016), over 50 million acres of public lands, including five national parks and 43 state parks, and headquarters for numerous outdoor companies including Black Diamond, Petzl, Skullcandy, Amer Sports, Rock Exotica, Voile, DPS, Salomon and GoalZERO (Utah Governor's Office of Outdoor Recreation, 2016). Recreation is a strong economic engine in the state, evidenced by the 65,000 people employed in the industry and the $5.8 billion recreation adds to the Utah economy (Office of Outdoor Recreation, 2016). Nationally, Americans participated in over 12 billion recreation outings in 2013 fueled by over 6 million jobs in the outdoor recreation industry (Outdoor Industry Association, 2014).

The recreation industry is thriving and offers an exciting and rewarding career. Your pursuit starts here!

What You’ll Learn

You’ll have the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in the following professional competencies: 

  • Conceptual and practical understanding of the issues, trends, and foundations of the recreation field.
  • Leadership development targeting decision-making, problem-solving, communication, and group dynamics.
  • Program design and implementation to assess client needs, intentionally design recreation experiences, facilitate activities and evaluate program effectiveness.
  • Technical skills in a variety of recreational activities that range from team sports and fitness to backpacking, skiing, and snowboarding, rock climbing, and kayaking.
  • Management skills with an emphasis on risk management, program evaluation, entrepreneurship, finance, and marketing.

What You Can Do

The recreation profession offers a range of options for exciting and fulfilling careers. Opportunities exist in:

  • United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service
  • State parks
  • Community parks and recreation
  • Campus recreation
  • Youth development agencies
  • Camps
  • Travel and tourism
  • Environmental education and interpretation
  • Outdoor education programs and schools
  • Outdoor adventure programs
  • Commercial guiding and instruction
  • Wilderness and adventure therapy
  • Outdoor retail
  • Equipment manufacture and sales