Camp Director: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Sep 18, 2019

Camp directors are required to have significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and voluntary certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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The camp director's job involves administrative duties and supervisory responsibility for staff and campers. He or she also ultimately oversees and has responsibility for all camp activities. Unlike camp counselors who work seasonally, camp directors typically work year-round.

Essential Information

Camp directors work in the recreation field managing staff and facilitating camp activities. Recreation worker jobs typically require a bachelor's degree; a graduate degree may be required for career advancement into positions like camp director. Some jobs require specialized professional and lifesaving certifications, too.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Voluntary professional certification; lifesaving and related certification
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 8% for recreation workers
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $25,060 for recreation workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Camp Director Job Description

Camp directors work on the administrative side of day or residential recreation programs and manage the day-to-day functions of camp life. Unlike camp counselor positions, camp director jobs often entail year-round employment and are less physically demanding. These professionals often work in offices planning recreational programs rather than participating in outdoor activities. While some camp directors work the typical 40-hour work week, others may work nights, weekends or unusual hours.

Camp Director Duties

Camp directors conceptualize and implement camp curricula. They also oversee camp counselors and other employees, which may include assessing work performance and taking disciplinary measures when necessary. According to August 2016 job listings on Monster.com, camp directors also manage their facilities' budgets, hire staff members and develop training programs. Additionally, some directors develop and execute marketing plans to recruit campers.

Camp Director Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for recreation workers as a group is expected to grow at a faster than average rate from 2018 to 2028 thanks to population booms among children and the elderly, and the increasing rate of obesity (www.bls.gov). However, camp directors can still expect stiff competition for the limited number of available leadership positions. Applicants with graduate degrees and specialized experience are expected to experience the best job prospects for full-time employment. In May 2018, the BLS reported that workers in the 90th percentile or higher earned $42,670 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $18,470 or less per year.

Camp Director Education and Experience Requirements

Becoming a camp director may require formal education, and there are many bachelor's and master's degree programs accredited by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Bachelor's degree programs in camp management commonly combine elements of camp administration with youth development or programming for a wider knowledge base. Courses might include program planning, recreational leadership, human development and camp counseling. Master's degree programs may allow students to focus on concentrations, such as sports management or therapeutic recreation.

Prior experience is often a requirement among employers, so students may benefit from completing internships, practicums and volunteer work. Camp directors may also be required to earn and maintain certification through the NRPA.

There are various degree programs from which a camp director can choose, and a bachelor's degree may be necessary depending on the employer. Experience is preferred and certification may be required. Recreation worker jobs are growing at a rate of 8%, so job prospects are encouraging, especially for those with a higher educational background.

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