What Does a Government Recreation Coordinator Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

What Does a Government Recreation Coordinator Do?

The Balance / Ellen Lindner 

While recreation coordinators can be found in all levels of government, they often work within city parks and recreation departments. They work directly with citizens, delivering city services. They often work with youth and senior adults as these groups are the most common consumers of recreation services.

While government organizations use the terms coordinator and manager differently, for the purposes of this and related articles a recreation manager supervises several recreation coordinators. Recreation coordinators may supervise part-time staff or volunteers, but their main function is to oversee programmatic operations. Recreation managers have more administrative and broad oversight duties. Recreation coordinators are sometimes called recreation technicians.

Recreation coordinators are hired through the normal government hiring process. Selections are made by the recreation manager who supervises the position.

Recreation Coordinator Duties & Responsibilities

The work environment for a recreation coordinator can vary from day to day or hour to hour. A day's schedule might include duties such as:

  • Monitoring and facilitating activities like basketball and exercise classes often take place indoors, and other activities like soccer and flag football that occur outdoors.
  • Moderating activity between players since recreation gets the adrenaline pumping through the human body. This can make for stressful situations. Arguments can easily escalate, and injuries can happen in even the safest of environments. Recreation coordinators must handle these situations with calm decisiveness and show themselves as authority figures while maintaining a customer service attitude.
  • Applying de-escalation techniques as good tools to use when situations get heated.
  • Ensuring a safe environment for recreation activities. The physical environment must be clean and free from unnecessary obstructions. Rules designed to enhance safety must be strictly enforced. Recreation coordinators must be examples of safety and sportsmanship.
  • Keeping track of equipment and ensure that it works properly. Unsafe and potentially unsafe equipment must not be used. Recreation coordinators also monitor supply inventories and alert purchasers when supplies must be reordered.
  • Scheduling activities to take into account the desires of the population served, availability of equipment and supplies and availability of staff or volunteers to monitor the activities.
  • Performing certain custodial duties. The frequency of performing these tasks depends on the availability of city custodial staff or contracted custodial service providers. Recreation coordinators may have to clean up hazardous materials such as bodily fluids when injuries happen. Routine cleaning and sanitization is done by custodial staff but may need to be done by recreation coordinators in extenuating circumstances.
  • Creating public relations materials such as flyers, press releases, and brochures with the recreation manager or other parks and recreation department staff. Recreation coordinators may be asked to participate in their development. Public information officers are helpful in-house experts for these projects. Public relations materials are helpful tools for recreation coordinators when they explain programmatic offerings to interested citizens.

In healthcare or rehabilitation settings, recreation coordinators also evaluate clients’ progress on their treatment plans. However, this type of recreation coordinator often has clinical experience and expert knowledge to deliver therapeutic recreation. It would be a false comparison to equate these recreation coordinators with the more common variety.

Recreation Coordinator Salary

A recreation coordinator's salary varies based on the level of experience, geographical location, and other factors.

  • Median Annual Salary: About $25,060 ($12.05/hour)

The precise salary range for recreation coordinators varies from organization to organization. Since recreation manager positions do not require extensive experience, recreation coordinators can quickly advance to higher-level positions with higher salaries.

Education, Training & Certification

Recreation coordinator positions may require a college degree and certain certifications, depending on where the job is located.

  • Education: Organizations have varied education and experience requirements for recreation coordinator positions. When organizations require a bachelor’s degree, they tend to require less experience than organizations that require some college or an associate’s degree. Either way, the experience requirement is no more than a few years.
  • Certifications: CPR and first aid certification are often required since there is a good chance that the recreation coordinator will have to deal with medical emergencies.
  • Driver's license: A driver’s license is also required since recreation activities can take place at a number of physical locations.

Recreation Coordinator Skills & Competencies

Recreation coordinators plan recreation activities according to the demands of the population served within the resource constraints of the program, facility or parks and recreation department. Following are some typical skills that can give individuals an edge with their performance:

  • Communication skills: Recreation workers must be able to handle large groups of people, give clear instructions, and motivate participants.
  • Leadership skills: A recreation worker must be able to lead both large and small groups effectively
  • Physical strength: Workers should be physically fit, as they might need to demonstrate the activities to others.
  • Problem-solving skills: Recreation workers must be able to create new activities and programs for their participants.

Job Outlook

 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for recreation workers over the next decade relative to other occupations and industries is good, driven by an increased need for workers in sports and fitness centers. Additionally, with the aging baby boomers and a continued emphasis on health, more recreation workers are needed in assisted living and retirement facilities.

Employment is expected to grow by about 9% over the next ten years, which is slightly faster growth than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026. This growth rate compares to the projected 7% growth for all occupations.

Work Environment

Many workers spend their time outdoors, although they may also spend time indoors teaching classes. Some spend time in an office, planning special events and programs.

Work Schedule

Recreation coordinators often work evening and weekend hours, but with such a fun and fast-paced work environment, this often does not bother those people already in such positions.

How to Get the Job

How to Get the Job


Look at job-search resources like Indeed.com, Monster.com, and Glassdoor.com for available positions. You can also visit the websites of individual museums or visit them in person to apply to existing job openings.



Look for an opportunity to do volunteer work through online sites such as VolunteerMatch. You can also contact various non-profit organizations directly and volunteer your recreation coordinator services.

Comparing Similar Jobs

People interested in becoming a recreation coordinator also consider the following career paths, listed with their median annual salaries:

  • Athletes and Sports Competitors: $50,650
  • Athletic Trainers: $47,510
  • Exercise Physiologists: $49,270

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017