Feature Article - July 2014
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Moving On Up

Our Seventh Annual Salary Survey

By Emily Tipping


Likewise, respondents have amassed a great deal of industry experience, with more than half (56.3 percent) indicating that they've been working in the recreation sports and fitness industry for at least 20 years. Less than 6 percent have been in the industry for less than five years. (See Figure 3.)

Respondents from parks, schools and colleges have the most years working in the industry. On average, parks respondents have 22.7 years of industry experience, school respondents have 22.5 years of experience, and college respondents have 22.3 years of experience. They were followed by camps respondents, with 21 years of experience. Health club respondents have the least number of years of industry experience, though on average, they have been in the industry for 17.8 years. They were followed by respondents from community centers, with 19.4 years of experience, and YMCA respondents, with 19.9 years.

Survey respondents not only take their formal education seriously, but they also are highly likely to report that they have earned certifications, helping to continue their education and ensure they have access to up-to-date information and knowledge. The most common certification among respondents was CPR/AED/First Aid certification, with 70.5 percent reporting having earned it. It was followed by coaching certification (22.3 percent), aquatic management and pool operations certification (17.9 percent) and teaching certification (17.2 percent). (See Figure 4.)

Respondents from camps were least likely to have earned certifications of any kind, though 89.2 percent of these respondents indicated that they had earned certifications. Respondents from YMCAs were most likely to have earned certifications of any kind, with 96 percent of YMCA respondents indicating they had done so.

Respondents from parks were more likely than others to have earned the Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification (26.2 percent of parks respondents had done so); playground safety certification (11.9 percent); and pesticide application certification (10.6 percent).

Schools respondents were more likely than others to report that they had earned a teaching certification (58 percent of schools respondents); coaching certification (54.7 percent); or turf/grounds management certification (4.5 percent).

Respondents from health clubs were more likely than others to have earned their CPR/AED/First Aid certification (80.7 percent); personal trainer certification (40.4 percent); childcare or early childhood education certification (7 percent); or athletic trainer certification (7 percent).

YMCA respondents were the most likely to have earned an aquatic management or pool operations certification, or a lifeguard certification. Some 29 percent of YMCA respondents reported having earned each of these certifications.

Finally, camps respondents were more likely than others to report that they had earned a foodservice certification (15.1 percent); climbing certification (10.1 percent); or law enforcement certification (7.9 percent).

Some 23.3 percent of respondents said they plan to earn certification of some kind over the next two years. The most commonly planned certifications include:

  • CPRP certification (7.9 percent of all respondents, 16.2 percent of parks respondents)
  • CPR/AED/First Aid certification (7 percent of all respondents, 8.2 percent of camp respondents)
  • Playground safety certification (3.2 percent of all respondents, 7.1 percent of parks respondents)
  • Aquatic management and pool operations certification (2.6 percent of all respondents, 4.5 percent of community center respondents)
  • Personal training certifications (2.5 percent of all respondents, 12.1 percent of health club respondents)