Feature Article - July 2012
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In the Money

Our Fifth Annual Salary Survey

By Emily Tipping


Many respondents had an impressive number of years in their current positions. Some 43.1 percent said they had been in their current position for at least 10 years. Another quarter (24.8 percent) had been in their current position for anywhere from five to nine years. (See Figure 2.)

Even more impressive was the many years most respondents have been working in this industry. More than half (51.4 percent) said they had been working in the industry for at least 20 years, with 24.1 percent of respondents having been in the industry for 30 years or more. (See Figure 3.)

Respondents from camps reported the highest number of years in the current positions. On average, camp respondents have 13.2 years in their current position. They were followed by those from schools and school districts (12.3 years); parks and recreation (11.4 years); colleges and universities (11.1 years); community centers (11 years); health clubs (9.5 years) and YMCAs (9 years).

When it comes to the average number of years spent working in the industry, respondents from parks and recreation organizations have the most under their belt, with an average of 22 years. They were followed by respondents from schools and school districts (21.8 years); colleges and universities (21.4 years); camps (19.9 years); health and fitness clubs (19 years); YMCAs (18.6 years); and community centers (18 years). Survey respondents were also very likely to indicate that they had earned various certifications, on top of their other education. A majority (71.7 percent) said they had earned certification in CPR, AED or First Aid. More than one in 10 had also earned coaching certifications (22.4 percent); aquatic management or pool operations certification (19.7 percent); teaching certification (17.1 percent); lifeguard certification (15.7 percent) or Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) (11.9 percent). Only 7.7 percent of respondents said they had not earned any certifications.

Show Me the Money

In 2011, we reported a slight decrease in salaries, from $65,300 in 2010 to $63,800 in 2011. This year, salaries recovered some of that loss, increasing 1.9 percent to an average of $65,000 in 2012. (See Figure 4.)