The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in 2015, there were more than 153,000 full-time employees of local park and recreation agencies throughout the United States. Park and recreation agencies have to offer competitive compensation to attract and retain the best people to serve their communities. Beyond base salaries and the possibility of earning a bonus, workers also consider other benefits when choosing an employer, including healthcare, retirement plan, vacation days and sick days.

Having access to comprehensive compensation data informs park and recreation agency leaders on how to attract the best staff. Conversely, this data also provides park and recreation professionals insights on salary and benefits offerings from potential employers. This is where the NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report comes in. In March 2017, NRPA’s research team sent a 19-question survey to senior-level park and recreation professionals that queried about not only the salary data of five positions at their agencies, but also the general information about benefits and salary policies. The survey generated responses from 480 park and recreation agencies across the United States, resulting in a 19-percent response rate.

The NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report features detailed base salary and bonus data for five typical park and recreation agency positions:

  • Park and Recreation Agency Director (or Executive Director or Superintendent)
  • Planning Director (or Superintendent)
  • Director of Finance (or Business Manager or Director of Administrative)
  • Recreation Director (or Recreation Superintendent or Assistant Director - Recreation)
  • Park Operations Director (or Maintenance Director or Maintenance Superintendent) 

Summarized Salary Survey Report

Park and Recreation Salary Survey

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