Activities Assistant: Job Outlook & Career Info

Learn about a career as an activities assistant. Read the job description, duties, education requirements, salary and employment outlook to decide if this is the right career for you.

Job Description for Activities Assistants

Activities assistants organize and implement activities in settings such as retirement or nursing homes, camps, recreation centers and cruise ships. They may design programs to increase socialization, provide entertainment, promote physical activity or deliver continuing education. Typical duties of this position include selecting activities, handling logistics (such as choosing locations or booking guests), maintaining proper equipment, demonstrating activities and ensuring safety for participants.

Many jobs in this field are part time or seasonal, although some full-time positions are available. Activities assistants may work in a variety of settings depending on the type of clients they serve. Programs for the elderly are typically held inside, while activities assistants who work with children spend most of their time outside. Some employees must work evenings and weekends.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; full-time assistants may be required to hold a bachelor's degree
Job Skills Physical fitness, people skills, communication, problem solving, leadership
Median Salary (2017)* $24,540 (for all recreation workers)
Career Outlook (2016-2026)* 9% (for all recreation workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Activities assistants who work part time or seasonally typically need a high school diploma or GED, as well as experience planning and hosting events. Most of these workers receive on-the-job training and may specialize in an area such as music or athletics. However, activities assistants seeking full-time positions may need a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation, leisure studies or a related subject. These programs include courses in management and supervision, administration and program development for elderly or youth groups. Prior volunteer or part-time work in the field may be an asset when applying for jobs.

Certification Requirements

Activities assistants may need to be certified depending on the type of activities they lead. For example, workers who participate in water-related activities typically need a life-saving certificate. The National Recreation and Park Administration provides optional certification for recreation workers. This certification requires a combination of education and experience.

Required Skills

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), activities assistants must possess the following traits:

  • Ability to communicate, keep order and enforce safety rules with large groups
  • Strong leadership, motivational and problem-solving skills to design and implement successful programs
  • A genuine interest in people and the ability to work well with those who have physical or mental limitations
  • Physical fitness for those workers who lead fitness-based activities

Employment and Salary Outlook

According to the BLS, recreation worker jobs, which included activities assistants, were expected to increase 9% from 2016-2026, which was on par with the national average for all careers. The median annual wage for recreation workers was $24,540 in 2017.


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