Park and recreation professionals saw median 2021-2022 pay raises of between 3.1 percent and 3.8 percent across 10 typical positions. This is a key finding from a new National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) report that highlights salary and bonus data for jobs like agency director, planning director, finance director, among others. The report includes detailed comparisons based on agency size, type and certain demographic characteristics of incumbents in the positions (e.g., education, certifications and years in the profession).
Based on the responses from more than 500 park and recreation agencies, the 2022 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey finds:
- Salaries are typically higher for those with greater professional experience, higher education attainment and professional certifications, such as NRPA’s Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE) certifications
- Park and recreation agencies typically cover 84 percent of their full-time employees’ health insurance premiums
- New hired park and recreation professionals have a median of 10 annual vacation days
- Seventy-six percent of park and recreation agencies offer their full-time employees a defined benefit retirement plan
- Sixty-seven percent of agencies offer their full-time employees a defined contribution retirement plan
“Attracting and retaining skilled park and recreation professionals is of the utmost importance to preserving the overall health and wellness of our communities,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of research, evaluation and technology. “These professionals continually demonstrate the vital role they play in serving their community, and that they deserve competitive compensation packages for their service.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, there were more than 165,000 full-time employees of local park and recreation agencies in the United States. These individuals provide opportunities for people of all ages to experience the benefits of parks and recreation, including greater access to nature and the outdoors, and health and wellness programs that improve the health of communities overall.
To access all the survey resources, visit nrpa.org/SalarySurvey.
To learn more about NRPA, visit nrpa.org.
About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit parksandrecreation.org.