NRPA survey shows park, rec director compensation


ASHBURN, Va.  — A recent survey conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) highlights salary and bonus data for park and recreation agency directors, planning directors, finance directors, recreation directors and park operations directors. The data included in the survey report includes detailed comparisons based on agency size, type and characteristics of the persons in the positions (e.g., education, certifications and years in the profession).

Based on the responses from 714 park and recreation agencies, the NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey found that:

  • Salaries are typically higher for those with greater professional experience, greater education attainment and a professional certification, such as, NRPA’s Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE) certifications.
  • Park and recreation agencies typically cover 87 percent of their full-time employees’ health insurance premiums
    The majority (78 percent) of park and recreation agencies offer their full-time employees a defined benefit retirement plan.
  • More than half (68 percent) of park and recreation agencies offer their full-time employees a defined contribution retirement plan.
  • The survey report also identifies typical 2017–2018 salary increases and median annual vacation days.

“Public support for parks and recreation is strong; therefore, compensation for the people that manage our local parks and recreation centers should reflect that,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “Agencies everywhere are encouraged to use this data as a benchmark to ensure their salaries and benefits are fair and competitive.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, there were more than 153,000 full-time employees of local park and recreation agencies in the United States. These individuals provide opportunities for people of all ages to experience the benefits of parks and recreation, including greater access to nature and the outdoors, and health and wellness programs that improve the health of communities overall.

To access all of the survey resources, visit

To learn more about NRPA, visit

SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association press release

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at

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