grandparents and child at playground women hiking in a forest children swimming in a pool with instructor mountain bikers rest at top of trail youth soccer players celebrate game African American park ranger assisting visitors at White Sands National Park

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Parks and Recreation Management

Parks, recreation facilities, and programs enhance our communities and contribute to our quality of life; whether we are backpacking at a national park, swimming laps at our community pool, or registering a child for summer camp, these diverse resources play a vital role. Within the public sector, professionals working within national, state, and local organizations are responsible for managing and providing the public with equal access to parks, recreation areas, and facilities for the health and well-being of citizens and the conservation of the environment.

One Degree, Two Paths

A Bachelor of Science in Parks and Recreation Management at Auburn University prepares students with training in the design, management, and administration of programs for federal, state, or community parks and recreation areas or to work with non-profit or private industries operating sports, tourism, and recreation facilities.

Within the Park and Recreation Management path, students learn to manage national, state, or private parks and recreation areas suitable for outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, hunting, and mountain biking, to name a few. Or depending on a student’s career goals, they can tailor their major for Community Parks and Recreation Management careers focused on administering facilities and leading programs in areas such as city trails and parks, community recreation centers, playgrounds, aquatic centers, and other sporting facilities.

Career Readiness

Students benefit from our integrated curriculum that makes full use of Central Alabama’s diverse parks and recreation areas. Our faculty instruct students on topics such as environmental education, planning, management, environmental interpretation, and recreation programming using learning laboratories such as the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, the City of Auburn Parks and Recreation areas, and Chewacla State Park, among others.

Coursework for the major also includes a 2-week experiential field course where students gather as a cohort to focus on outdoor skills development. Faculty in the major join forces with Auburn Outdoors to teach the course where students can earn several micro-credentials, including Leave No Trace, Certified Interpretive Guide, Trip Leader, Wilderness First Aid, and Trail Building certifications, among other skills.

Before their senior year, CFWE students are prepared for and complete supervised internships as part of their degree requirements. These internships improve the career readiness of our students, who can apply classroom theory within real-world situations under the direction of a supervisor or mentor.

Study abroad opportunities on Sustainable Nature Tourism in Costa Rica, Belize, and New Zealand are also available and count toward restricted electives in the Park and Recreation Management emphasis.

The major is designed based on standards set forth by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT). After one year of employment, students who have completed the degree meet the requirements to participate in the examination to become Certified Park and Recreation Professionals (CPRP) by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

Diverse Occupations

Parks and recreation management offers diverse and plentiful career opportunities with national, state, local, and private organizations that manage parks and recreation facilities for public or private use within occupations such as:

  • Parks and recreation agency director
  • Public lands manager
  • Operations manager
  • Outdoor recreation center director
  • Camp director
  • Program manager
  • Wellness coordinator
  • Park ranger or interpreter
  • Outdoor guide or outfitter

Note: Students may incur laboratory, transportation, or other fees associated with labs and field experiences required for course credit.

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park employee assisting kids with harnesses for ropes course

Parks and Recreation Management

Customize your degree for careers managing public park lands and recreation areas for activities such as hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and related sporting events. Occupations include, park manager, park ranger, park interpreter, and outdoor guide, among others.

camp counselor with children

Community Parks and Recreation Management

Specialize your degree for careers administering facilities and leading programs in areas such as city trails and parks, community recreation centers, playgrounds, aquatic centers, and athletics fields. Occupations include, parks and recreation agency director, facility manager, or recreation program coordinator, among others.