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Recreation, Fitness, and Leisure Studies - Overview


Recreation, fitness, and leisure studies programs prepare people to provide recreational services to the public. Students learn the principles of leisure and recreation. They study ways to promote sport, training, and fitness programs. They also learn rules for specific sports.

Be honest: are you checking out this program of study because it lists some of your favorite words? After all, what could be cooler and, well, more leisurely than studying recreation and leisure, right? And hey, if you like keeping fit, even better!

We should straighten something out before we proceed: this program does not consist of playtime and fitness activities. Now that we have that out of the way, what is this program all about, you ask?

If you think about the word "recreation," you may think about having fun. But let's consider the word differently, as "re-creation." In this case, recreation involves creating yourself again, and in a different way. And if you've ever participated in recreational activities such as music lessons, team sports, or art classes, you've re-created and enriched yourself, hopefully while having fun at the same time.

As a student of recreation, fitness, and leisure studies, you think about these three subjects on a conceptual level, similar to the above example. You learn to research and analyze existing programs and services. In doing this, you learn what motivates a participant of recreational, fitness, and leisure activities; what expectations they might have; and what satisfies them.

You then learn to apply this conceptual and concrete understanding to planning events, programs, and services. These might include sports and fitness activities such as marathons, commercial activities such as miniature golf, or activities for children such as arts programs.

Because the number of recreational, fitness, and leisure jobs is growing faster than many other jobs, there is high demand for people with a background in this program of study. You can work in a wide array of settings and with many different kinds of people. You would also be helping enrich people's lives.

Many schools offer programs in recreation, fitness, and leisure studies. You can typically earn an associate, a bachelor's, a master's, or a doctoral degree in this program. After high school, an associate degree usually takes two years of full-time study, and a bachelor's degree four. A master's degree typically takes five to six years, and a doctoral degree ten.

When you major in this program, you can sometimes choose a particular track or branch of this field on which to focus. Possible branches typically include:

• Campus recreation
• Commercial recreation
• Outdoor education
• Youth services

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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