Recreation Management Degree Programs

School Level Program
Concordia University - Saint Paul
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Bachelor Online Bachelor’s in Sport Management
100% online program can help you expand into biomechanics, sport and exercise sociology, and kinesiology.
Spring Hill College
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Bachelor Online Bachelor's in Sports Management
100% online, 2-4 years to complete.
Georgetown University
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Master Online Master’s in Sports Management
100% online, GRE / GMAT is waived. Asynchronous courses that allow for flexible learning.
Campbellsville University
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Masters Online MA in Sport Management
Areas of emphasis in Sport Administration adn Sport Marketing.

Click for more 100% online sports programs that are taking applications for 2023.

Recreation Management degrees teach students to effectively craft and deploy recreation and fitness programming whether that be in a private practice, for an organization or working for a city-wide parks and recreation department. Graduates of these programs often build skills in therapy, facilities management, first aid, and environmental care.

Are There Online Recreation Management Programs?

Yes. There are both online Bachelor degrees and online Masters degrees in Recreation Management or parallel programs available such as Parks, Recreation and Leisure, Tourism, or even Hospitality Management based on an individual's end goals. There are also multiple accrediting bodies for which these types of degrees are recognized by, including COSMA and NASSM.

What do you learn in a recreation management degree program?/h2>
You’ll be well-equipped to help other people manage their care while they train, exercise or play competitive sports, teach the insights into different aspects of nutrition and exercise, and much more. Degrees in this area can lead to jobs in local and national gyms, educational and professional athletics programs, medical and healthcare careers, or even recreational therapeutics centers.

6 Top Accredited Online Programs in Recreation Management

1) Florida International University - Online BS in Recreation and Sports Management

FIU's BS, being fully online, is a flexible option at a reasonable price. Although administered online, tuition is still broken down by location of residence at a rate of: $228/credit hour for in-state and $345/credit hour for out-of-state. This specific program is dedicated to high engagement with its students even though classes are not conducted face-to-face. Interactive technology enables students to watch lectures, get real-time feedback from instructors and collaborate with classmates on assignments and projects. A unique feature of FIU is the personal success coach who is provided to give access to one-on-one guidance every step of the program. Admissions consideration requires a $30 fee with application, SAT/ACT scores, and high school transcripts showing proof of a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Website

School Level Program
Concordia University - Saint Paul
Website
Bachelor Online Bachelor’s in Sport Management
100% online program can help you expand into biomechanics, sport and exercise sociology, and kinesiology.
Spring Hill College
Website
Bachelor Online Bachelor's in Sports Management
100% online, 2-4 years to complete.
Georgetown University
Website
Master Online Master’s in Sports Management
100% online, GRE / GMAT is waived. Asynchronous courses that allow for flexible learning.
Campbellsville University
Website
Masters Online MA in Sport Management
Areas of emphasis in Sport Administration adn Sport Marketing.

View more featured 100% online sports degree programs that are taking applications for 2023.

2) California State University East Bay- Online BS in Recreation

CSU's 120 credit bachelors in recreation is arguable one of the most focused and intensive tracks in online degrees within this arena. It prepares students for leadership roles within public recreation and leisure services agencies. Enhancing the quality of life for millions of people is the aim of this type of focused study. Specializations are available within the CSU program in either the Sustainability Concentration, Youth Development Programming Concentration, or the Recreation Therapy Concentration which specifically prepares students to successfully sit for the state Recreation Therapy licensing exam.
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3) Indiana University- Online MS in Recreation Administration

IU's masters program includes coursework in the philosophy of leisure and recreation, human re-management, financing and budgeting formation, as well as research in health, kinesiology, and public health. This is a non-thesis degree program, however students are required to complete a capstone project involving the application of at least one key principle to an in-depth study of a practical problem they find in the world of recreation. IU is a 35 credit degree to completion and costs range from $500/credit for in-state students to $600/credit for out-of-state residents.
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4) Colorado State University- Online MS in Tourism Management

At only 30 hours, CSU's master is tourism management can be completed in just 9 months. While the program is fully online, the campus being located in one of the largest recreational hotbeds in the country gives it a holistic feel and more in-depth and hands-on perspective than nearly any other program in the US. For example, if you're attending CSU because you have a particular interest in the skiing industry, CSU allows tourism management students to replace up to six credits with courses in their ski area management. Because of its focus on tourism within the recreational services realm, there is more of an emphasis on the human aspect including studies in tourism trends, seasonality, consumer behavior, and conflict resolution.
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5) Clemson- Online MS in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management

Given the name, Clemson's online masters in this area dives into all three divisions under the recreation umbrella and is, admittedly so, geared towards working professional already in the industry. Those looking to make a career change or coming in fresh off an undergraduate degree may benefit more from one of the other options. Because of their focus on those looking to obtain mastery within an already-growing career, Clemson offers 4 very specific concentrations in this degree: Community Recreation & Sport Management, Park & Conservation Area Management, Recreational Therapy, and Tourism & Event Management.
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6) University of Illinois- On-Campus BS & Online MS in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism

Although not available online at the undergraduate level, the degree programs at the University of Illinois, much like Clemson, is all-inclusive. The recreation, sport, and tourism major requires 128 credit hours for graduation, like the majority of bachelor degrees across the country. It consists of five different components: 36 hours of general education requirements, 39 hours of core requirements, 9 hours of concentration requirements, 32 hours of electives, and an internship accounting for the remaining 12 hours. Illinois guides students through that internship, too through a formal, guided learning experience which is supervised simultaneously by an agency supervisor and the university's internship coordinator. The concentrations are not as specializes like those at Clemson, in fact, they can be found in the name as concentrations are in either recreation, sport, or tourism, with the option to choose multiple!
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Top 12 Typical Courses for a Recreation Management Degree at All Levels

1)Marketing in Hospitality, Recreation, Recreation Therapy, and Tourism

Emphasis on the interaction and direction of a wide variety of marketing activities and the development of their individual strategies, including the use of social media and destination marketing.

2)Sustainable Global Tourism Development

Discussion topics include the implications of management, marketing, and planning on sustainable global tourism. Tourism development, advancement of sustainable development, socio-cultural, economic, physical and environmental dimensions of sustainable tourism, impacts of tourism development; and facilities and retro-development are all highlighted.

3)Programming in Community Recreation, Sport and Camp

Examination of factors influencing the planning, program design, implementation and evaluation of community recreation, sports and camp programs for groups of all sizes with attention to assuring social justice for ability, ethnic and cultural diversity. Active learning and engagement is usually a key component of this course.

4)Small Group Leadership

Leadership styles, characteristics and skills of leaders, and effective communication strategies. Small group leadership for recreation professionals to promote deep understanding of group behavior, teamwork and motivation.

5)Recreation Therapy Diagnostics

Cognitive/developmental disorders, physical/medical diagnosis, and psychiatric disorders and how recreation therapy interventions and tactics are used to create positive outcomes for clients.

6)Community Sustainability in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism

Sustainable behaviors in the HRT industries including the barriers and benefits of sustainability and development of individual and community incentives. Assessment of current personal and community sustainability behaviors and opportunities to instigate change within the local environment.

7)Leisure, Self, and Society

Conceptual foundations of the significance of recreation and leisure in one’s life. Explores the life-cycle changes relative to an individual’s attitudes, values and behaviors. Development of life-long strategies for creating and maintaining the desired level of quality of life, health and wellness.

8)Special Events Recreation

Conceptualizing, analyzing, and planning of medium to large-scale events. Best practices and trends in special events, such as sports, festivals and fundraisers are taught. A component of volunteerism and the experience of working events is also typically included in this course.

9)Social Aspects of Sport and Leisure

An examination of the function and significance therein of sports within the overall patterns of leisure behavior in modern society. Recreational sport, sport spectatorship, and elite-level competitive athletics are considered from the dominant theoretical perspective with an emphasis on sociology.

10)Facility Design and Management

A course designed to acquaint the future recreation practitioner with the knowledge and certifications necessary to maintain and operate a recreation building including all sorts of different activity areas using the latest standards and modern technology. Particular attention to the design and management process, including terminology, court/field/arena of play specifications, handicap accessibility, and aquatic center operations.

11)Sustainable Tourism Development Foundations

This course is designed to provide an understanding of tourism development theory, practice, history, terminology, and issues within the context of sustainable livelihoods. Also surveyed are sustainable tourism components including the motives and behaviors of tourists, natural resources as attractions and destinations, and social responsibility.

12)Political Environments in the Public & Non-Profit Sector

Because most parks and rec offices are public and not-for-profit, it’s important to gain an understanding of governance structures as they relate to those sectors, and how to successfully navigate within political environments to maximize their ability to develop and gain approval for policies, programs and environments that improve the quality of life for the surrounding citizens and their community.

3 Potential Career Paths with a Degree in Recreation Management

City Parks & Recreation

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, the average park and recreation agency employs 14 people including executive personnel, administrative personnel, and planning and development personnel. So, even within a parks department there are very clearly a few different paths to take even still. There are opportunities from lifeguarding all the way up to a director of finance and everything in between.

Campus Recreation

The majority of universities have a campus recreation department that plans excursion, oversees student staff, and directs on-campus fitness and club sports initiatives. These positions require specialty knowledge depending on their position in the department. Staff need expertise in areas such as officiating, fitness, strength and conditioning, facility design, tournament scheduling, and outdoors skills. A general sport management competency is also needed including general business procedures, marketing, promotions, and communications. Perhaps most importantly, campus recreation staff must be committed to the college student experience and the idea of working collaboratively in a campus environment. Integration of programs and services with the areas of student life, residence life, health services, Greek life, and academic affairs.

Recreational Therapist

Whether working with those who have incurred injuries or the elderly who no longer have the ability to live independently, recreational therapy involves helping people reduce depression, stress, and anxiety; recover their basic physical and mental capabilities; build back their confidence; and socialize more effectively. They use a combination of common recreational interventions such as arts and crafts projects, dance, and sports, to help their patients lead more fulfilling lives.