Feature Article - July 2009
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Dollars and Sense

Our 2009 Salary Survey of the Managed Recreation, Sports & Fitness Industry

By Emily Tipping


On average, respondents have spent 9.2 years in their current position and have 19 years of experience working in the industry, reflecting a high degree of experience with their careers. Nearly half of our respondents (46.4 percent) indicated that they have been in their current position for five years or less. Another 18 percent have been in their current position for six to nine years, while 12.6 percent have spent 10 to 14 years in their current position. An impressive 23.1 percent of respondents have been in their current position for 15 years or more. (See Figure 3.)

When it comes to industry experience, most of our respondents have plenty of history. Just 12 percent of respondents have been in the industry for five years or less, while nearly half (48 percent) have been in the industry for 20 years or more. (See Figure 4.) Almost across the board, respondents have grown their experience from last year's survey. While those in the parks and recreation segment have spent the most years in their current position (10 years), those at schools and school districts have the most time logged working in the industry (21.5 years). On the flipside of that coin, those working for YMCAs and other nonprofits have the fewest years in their current positions (6.7 years), while those from health clubs have the fewest years in the industry, though still an impressive 14.3 years. (See Figure 5.)

Finally, when it comes to education, a majority of respondents (77.8 percent) had at least a bachelor's degree. While 45.3 percent of respondents indicated they have earned a bachelor's, another 30.3 percent have earned their master's degree or taken part in some post-graduate study, and another 2.2 percent have earned an advanced degree, such as a doctorate. More than one in 10 respondents (12.4 percent) have completed some college, but not earned a degree, while 6.1 percent have earned an associate's degree. Just 3.7 percent are high school graduates with no college education.