The 2022 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey

August 18, 2022, Department, by Melissa May

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As the nation and the economy continue to recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the labor market has grown even tighter. During spring 2022, labor force participation continued to lag pre-pandemic levels, while empowered workers switched jobs more frequently than they had in the past as a part of the “Great Resignation.” Consequently, park and recreation agencies must offer compensation packages for their staff that include competitive salaries and robust benefits to attract and retain the best and brightest for their teams.

The 2022 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report features detailed base salary and bonus data for 10 typical park and recreation agency positions. Comprehensive compensation data provide park and recreation agency leaders with guidance on how to attract the best candidates for their staff. Such data also can provide insights into salary and benefits offered by potential employers.

The 2021 to 2022 median salary increases for 10 typical park and recreation agency positions are as follows:

  • Park and Recreation Agency Director (or Executive Director or Superintendent): +3.1%
  • Planning Director (or Superintendent): +3.5%
  • Director of Finance (or Administrative Director or Business Manager): +3.2%
  • Recreation Director (or Recreation Superintendent or Assistant Director – Recreation): +3.4%
  • Park Operations Director (or Maintenance Director or Maintenance Superintendent): +3.5%
  • Park Operations (or Maintenance Foreman): +3.8%
  • Facilities Manager: +3.1%
  • Athletics Supervisor (or Athletics Manager): +3.4%
  • Aquatics Supervisor (or Aquatics Manager): +3.5%
  • Recreation Programs Coordinator (or Recreations Programs Manager): +3.4%


Worker compensation is about more than just salaries and bonuses. Benefits, including paid time off, insurance and retirement plans, can represent nearly a third of a worker’s total compensation and include:

  • Time off: Park and recreation agencies typically provide 10 days of annual vacation to their newly hired full-time employees. After five years of employment, the median number increases to 15 days per year, growing to 20 days after 10 years of service. Agencies typically provide 12 days of annual sick leave.
  • Maternity and paternity leave: A third of park and recreation agencies currently offer specific paid-leave benefits associated with the birth or adoption of a child. Eleven percent of agencies provide specific paid maternity benefits; 22 percent provide specific paid maternity and paternity benefits.
  • Health insurance: Park and recreation agencies cover a median 84 percent of their employees’ health insurance premiums.
  • Retirement options: Forty-three percent of agencies offer their employees defined benefit (DB) plans and defined contribution (DC) plans, providing a greater diversity of retirement options for their staff. More than three in four agencies have a DB program as part of the compensation packages they offer to newly hired, full-time employees; 67 percent offer a DC plan either in conjunction with a DB plan or as the sole retirement benefit offering.

Minimum Wage Policy and Seasonal Employees

Part-time and seasonal workers are essential contributors to park and recreation agencies. Part-time and seasonal employees typically receive compensation at or just above minimum wage. The lowest hourly wage paid by nearly two-thirds of park and recreation agencies is the statutory minimum wage to which they are subject. At 15 percent of agencies, the minimum wage paid matches the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour; another 48 percent of agencies pay a locality/state minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum.

The full 2022 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report with comprehensive salary data, sample job descriptions, sample organization charts and a benefits breakdown can be accessed at NRPA Connect.

Melissa May is Senior Research Manager at NRPA.