Feature Article - June 2017
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State of the INDUSTRY

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Parks, community centers and camps were the most likely to report that they have plans to add staff in 2017. Nearly a quarter (24.8 percent) of parks respondents said they had such plans. They were followed by community center respondents (23.4 percent of whom said they will be adding staff) and camps (20.2 percent).

Respondents from colleges and schools were the most likely to report that they had plans to reduce staff, though less than one in 10 had such plans. Some 6.9 percent of college respondents and 5.2 percent of school respondents said they would be cutting staff in 2017.

Certifications are often used to help measure and verify specific types of professional knowledge and skill. From lifeguard certification to pesticide application certification, there are many types of professional development that are useful in the recreation, sports and fitness industry. A majority of respondents (82.9 percent) said that they do require certifications for some of their staff members, up from 81.4 percent in 2016. Of those who do not currently require any certifications, 19.5 percent indicated that they plan to require it in the future. (See Figure 21.)

Respondents from Ys and health clubs are the most likely to require certification for some of their employees, both now and looking forward. Some 97.5 percent of Ys currently require certification, and the same number plan to require it going forward; and 96.1 percent of health clubs currently require certification, and the same number plan to require it going forward. (See Figure 22.)


Some 86 percent of schools, 85.9 percent of community sports and recreation centers, 85.6 percent of colleges and universities, and 84.2 percent of camps currently require certification of some of their employees. Parks respondents were the least likely to require certification, though a majority (79.3 percent) do so.

Looking forward, Ys and health clubs were followed by community center respondents, 89.8 percent of whom said they plan to require certification in the future. They were followed by colleges and universities (89.4 percent), schools and school districts (88.4 percent), camps (86 percent) and parks (83.6 percent).

Of those respondents that require certification, the most common types of certification required included CPR/AED/First Aid (required by 88.9 percent of those who said they require some staff members to be certified), background checks (86.3 percent), and lifeguard certification (58.2 percent). (See Figure 23.) More than a quarter of respondents also require an aquatic management or pool operations certification (34.8 percent), personal training or fitness certification (32.6 percent), or foodservice certification (28.2 percent). More than one in five require a pesticide application certification (24.6 percent) or coaching certification (22.8 percent).