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Amusement and Recreation Attendant Job Description, Career as an Amusement and Recreation Attendant, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: Varies—some specialized training may be necessary

Salary: Median—$7.69 per hour

Employment Outlook: Very good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Leisure and recreation occupy an ever-growing portion of the typical American's time. Employment opportunities in the leisure and recreation industry are expected to grow as Americans' leisure time grows.

Amusement and recreation attendants are employed by amusement and theme parks, fairs, carnivals, exhibitions, bowling alleys, ski centers, skating rinks, clubs, and other sports facilities and tourist attractions. Many jobs in this field are part time, seasonal, or volunteer.

Attendants working in amusement or theme parks, fairs, or carnivals perform several tasks. They set up rides, perform routine maintenance, and conduct safety inspections. They also sell and collect tickets, operate rides, oversee park activities, and help patrons get on and off rides. Attendants may be responsible for running game booths and concession stands as well. Senior attendants supervise other park employees and ensure that the park facilities are used and operated safely.

Recreation attendants working in ski centers, skating rinks, and bowling alleys are responsible for renting out and maintaining equipment and assisting patrons. Ski center employees also operate ski lifts and help skiers get on and off the lifts. Attendants at skating rinks prepare the skating surfaces and schedule the use of the rinks. Bowling alley attendants assign alleys, collect fees, issue equipment to bowlers, and correct pin-resetting machine malfunctions.

Most amusement and recreation attendants work outdoors, supervising activities and caring for recreation facilities and equipment. Depending on their responsibilities, they may need to have special skills and training. (Copyright © 2003, Kelly A. Quin. Reproduced by permission.)

All amusement and recreation attendants supervise the activities and care for recreation facilities and equipment. They also plan and schedule the use of recreational facilities and instruct and advise patrons on the proper use of the equipment. Amusement and recreation attendants must establish and maintain courteous relationships with people of all ages and work effectively with park staff.

Attendants in any leisure-time field need outgoing personalities, and they must enjoy meeting and interacting with strangers. Depending on their responsibilities, they also need particular skills and training (for example, they should know how to play softball if the job entails coaching that sport, or be trained in drama if teaching drama to youngsters at a summer camp). Recreation attendants also need to be responsible and self-motivated individuals, since they often are accountable for the safety and well-being of participants without being closely supervised.

Education and Training Requirements

Summer employees hired by local recreation departments or by amusement parks are often high school students or individuals with no education beyond a high school diploma. Specialized training in a particular field, such as athletics, music, or first aid, can be an asset when seeking employment in the recreation industry.

Getting the Job

High school students interested in careers in amusement and recreation should try to get summer, seasonal, or part-time jobs with local sports centers, amusement and theme parks, recreation centers, or other facilities offering recreation programs. It is best to inquire about positions at recreation departments or amusement parks well before the start of the summer season.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Employment in this industry is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations through 2014, although competition for full-time positions will be strong. Overall, about 30 percent of amusement and recreation positions are part time, and many jobs are seasonal.

Amusement and recreation attendants wishing to make a lifelong career in the industry should study the field at the college level. Specialized training, combined with experience in seasonal or part-time jobs, will improve a candidate's chances for landing a full-time position. Advancement opportunities within the field of amusement and recreation vary according to the needs of the population being served. Expect job growth within athletic clubs, camps, sports clinics, and commercial recreation enterprises.

Where to Go for More Information

National Recreation and Park Association
22377 Belmont Ridge Rd.
Ashburn, VA 20148
(703) 858-0784

American Recreation
Coalition 1225 New York Ave. NW, Ste. 450
Washington, D.C. 20005-6405
(202) 682-9530

International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
1448 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-4800

Working Conditions

Amusement and recreation attendants typically spend most or all of their time outdoors in all sorts of weather. Most recreation attendants put in a forty-hour workweek, although many jobs do not feature typical 9-to-5 schedules. The work can be physically challenging, and park attendants are at risk for injury. Being responsible for the safety and well-being of participants can also place emotional stress on amusement and recreation attendants.

Earnings and Benefits

Recreation attendants earn less on average than attendants in other fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for amusement and recreation attendants is $7.69 per hour. Self-employed attendants in the amusement and recreation industry are rare.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHospitality and Recreation