New Survey Highlights Salary Trends for Park and Recreation Officials | Athletic Business

New Survey Highlights Salary Trends for Park and Recreation Officials

Source: National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

Survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association  

Ashburn, Va. (July 21, 2017) — A recent survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) highlights salary and bonus data for park and recreation agency directors, planning directors, finance directors, recreation directors and park operations directors. The data included in the survey report includes detailed comparisons based on agency size, type and characteristics of the persons in the positions (e.g., education, certifications and years in the profession).      

Based on the responses from 480 park and recreation agencies, the NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey found that:

  • Salaries are typically higher for those with greater professional experience, greater education attainment and a professional certification
  • Park and recreation agencies cover 85 percent of their full-time employees’ health insurance premiums
  • The majority (80 percent) of park and recreation agencies offer their full-time employees a defined benefit retirement plan
  • More than half (61 percent) of park and recreation agencies offer their full-time employees a defined contribution retirement plan

The survey report also identifies typical 2016 to 2017 salary increases and median annual vacation days.

“Public support for parks and recreation is strong; therefore, compensation for the people that manage our local parks and recreation centers should reflect that,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Agencies everywhere are encouraged to use this data as a benchmark to ensure their salaries and benefits are fair and competitive.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, there were more than 153,000 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 nature and improve their health and wellness. They also provide affordable out-of-school time programming and activities, along with summer meals, to children and families across the country.   

To access all of the survey resources, visit  

To learn more about NRPA, visit   

About The National Recreation and Park Association 
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

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