Director of Parks and Recreation

Head up the office in charge of managing parks and other public spaces.
picture of Director of Parks and Recreation

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$50,000 – $156,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Director of Parks and Recreations do?

Most people go to parks to play. A Director of Parks and Recreation, however, goes there to work. For you, parks are a business. Of course, parks don’t exist for profits. They exist for the public good. That means, as a Director of Parks and Recreation, you’re “like” a CEO but you’re not a CEO.

Instead, you’re a public official who’s hired by a local government to oversee the management and administration of its Department of Parks and Recreation, which is the office in a town, city, county, or state government that oversees public spaces, recreation facilities, and community services. That includes parks, playgrounds, and recreation centers, as well as publicly funded golf courses, swimming pools, special events, and sports leagues.

Your duties are mostly managerial in nature. For instance, you’re in charge of hiring, training, motivating, and supervising department staff. You also prepare, analyze, and allocate department budgets. Additionally, you develop grant applications and requests for proposals. And of course, as the head of the department, you set department goals, priorities, and objectives, while also developing department policies and procedures.

To add to your long list of responsibilities, you choose, coordinate, and oversee department projects, and then review and negotiate contracts with department vendors and service providers. And on top of all that, you communicate to the public your department’s activities, obligations, and decisions.

Whether it’s cleaning up a neighborhood park, installing new playground equipment, organizing a festival, or marketing a coed softball league, it’s your job to lead your department in the creation and maintenance of recreational places, spaces, and programs. The result is public enjoyment, engagement, and enrichment, making you your community’s “Director of Fun!"

Should I be a Director of Parks and Recreation?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Relocation Director

    How to Become a
    Director of Parks and Recreation

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