Four year bachelor's programs in theme park management prepare students to work in the field as they learn how to operate recreation organizations with courses in accounting, business administration, economics, leisure services leadership, human resources management, customer satisfaction monitoring and financial investing. They also gain strategic business and communication skills, and are taught how to develop short- and long-term goal plans. Direct experience is acquired through internships. Some courses and programs are available online.
Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Leisure Services Management
Recreation and leisure services management bachelor's curricula is more specialized than that of business and hospitality programs, covering corporate practices specific to the industry. In addition to course subjects like outdoor recreational programs, other common topics are:
- Theories of leisure services
- Recreation management and leadership
- Facility management
- Executive development in recreation and leisure services
- Commercial recreation marketing, advertising and promotion
- Business planning
Graduates are eligible for managerial and supervisory employment at a number of entertainment and recreation environments, including theme parks, water parks, recreational centers and resorts. Some employers expect prospective hires to have two or more years of experience, which can be obtained in lower-level supervisory roles.
To remain competitive, managers need to have extensive knowledge of past and present trends within the amusement park industry. Colleges and universities with recreation and leisure services management degree programs typically offer related workshops that address concepts like customer service, quality assurance and employee relations. Some seminars are sponsored by employers to help hires get familiar with operational policies, values and business goals specific to their company. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) offers online workshops that focus on customer retention, advertising strategies and theme park facility maintenance. The IAAPA gives membership subscribers access to a wealth of relevant resources and annual conferences, symposiums and expos. 'FUNWORLD' magazine provides valuable information on industry trends. Lastly, graduate programs in the field are also available.
To begin pursuing a career in theme park management, students can embark on a bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure services management. Combining this foundation with continual education about the amusement park industry can boost chances of a successful career in the field.