Recreation: Recreation Leadership

Recreation and leisure is America’s number one economic activity. Leisure time experiences are big business and organized recreation offerings are growing, creating demand for capable recreation leaders and managers to develop and coordinate an array of recreational, cultural, and athletic activities for people to enjoy and improve their quality of life.

The recreation leadership program provides a solid core of liberal arts courses complemented by more specialized courses in leadership, programming, diversity and inclusion, human relations, and recreation management. This combination of theory and applied knowledge plays a vital foundation for further study toward a bachelor’s degree. By the time you complete the recreation leadership program, you will have toured community facilities, worked at two different agencies, heard multiple guest speakers from your field, interviewed a recreation professional, participated in a team challenge course with classmates, and networked with other recreation leaders.

Degree Tracks:

Through advisement, students accepted in the A.S. in Recreation Leadership degree program will choose one of two career oriented tracks based on their goals, transfer opportunities and community needed.

Recreation Leadership Track - Recreation Management:

Students who are interested in the management and business of recreational programming should consider this track. You will take the core recreation courses that will develop leadership and recreational programming skills. You will also be advised to take two electives in the business field such as BUAD103, BUAD204, BUAD208, ACCT101, or ECON120. These electives, along with the core recreation courses will prepare you to be successful Recreation Managers as well as provide you with greater transfer opportunities into a 4 year degree in Recreation Management or Business.

Recreation Leadership Track - Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation is one of the fastest growing areas of the Recreation Field. Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS) work in community centers, assisted living centers, long term care facilities, physical therapy businesses, hospital, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, community recreation departments and other agencies where CTRS are in demand. Like all recreation leaders, CTRS provide recreational opportunities for the people they serve. They focus on improving the quality of life for individuals with illnesses, disabilities, and other limitations. If you are in the Therapeutic Recreation track, you will take the core recreation courses such as, Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation and Human Anatomy and Physiology. These course selections will aid you in transferring to a 4 year degree program in Therapeutic Recreation. To be certified as a CTRS, you must complete your Bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation after transfer.

Field Experience

Field experience is an exciting component of the recreation leadership program. Volunteer work provides the opportunity to learn and apply inclusive leadership skills and knowledge in a variety of agencies in Tompkins, Cortland, and Tioga counties. Field experience opportunities, including those at the Town of Dryden Recreation Department, the Dryden After School Program, the Cortland Teen Center, local YMCA’s, Ithaca Youth Bureau, and the College's Campus Recreation Department provide hands-on experience developing skills and social networks necessary for your career in recreation.

Careers on Career Coach

Recreation leaders develop and manage recreational, cultural, and athletic activities in a variety of settings. These include school districts, corporations, community and municipal facilities, correctional facilities, health care organizations, and private clubs and resorts. Among the fastest growing specialties are tourism, therapeutic, and commercial recreation.

Recreation leaders who have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree are more likely to be offered higher-level management positions.

Explore more careers related to all of the Recreation programs.

Select a career below to connect to Career Coach and find information about that career including median salary and job postings.

Explore more career options: A.S.

Program Chair

faculty-patmercer

Patrick Mercer

Associate Professor, Recreation Leadership/Outdoor Recreation

When I was completing my undergraduate degrees in Recreation, Outdoor Management, and Leisure Commercial Management at Lock Haven University, I stumbled across a sign while rock climbing during spring break at Seneca Rocks in WV. It read, “Here ends the Realm of the Hiker...” As an Outdoor Educator and Associate Professor, I heed the message from this sign as I help people overcome their own challenges to experience something greater or more intense in the field of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Read more

 

Transfer Options

The recreation leadership program provides a strong foundation for transfer as a junior to a four-year college. Graduates have transferred to:

  • SUNY Cortland
  • Ithaca College
  • Lock Haven University in PA
  • SUNY Brockport
  • Penn State University 

 

Degree Requirements

A.S.
Minimum Credits for Graduation: 61 credits

Fall Term 1

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 16

ENGL100, Academic Writing I, 3 cr.
A minimum grade of C is required in ENGL 100. A student exempted from ENGL 100 must substitute a 3-credit Liberal Arts Elective. The course should be selected in consultation with the student's advisor.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
PSYC103, Introduction to Psychology, 3 cr. Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
RECR110, Introduction to Recreation, 3 cr.
RECR 110 is only offered in the Fall semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
SOCI101, Introduction to Sociology, 3 cr. Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Select a minimum of 1 credit from the courses listed below:
FITN@
Use Schedule Search for electives
Select a minimum of 3 credits from the courses listed below:
MATH109, Statistical Literacy, 3 cr.
MATH110, Topics in Mathematics, 3 cr.
MATH120, College Algebra, 4 cr.
MATH122, Technical Mathematics, 3 cr.
MATH138, Precalculus Mathematics, 4 cr.
MATH200, Statistics, 3 cr.
MATH201, Calculus I, 4 cr.
MATH202, Calculus II, 4 cr.
MATH203, Calculus III, 4 cr.
MATH206, Differential Equations, 4 cr.
MATH216, Discrete Mathematics, 4 cr.
Use Schedule Search for electives

Spring Term 1

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 15

ENGL101, Academic Writing II, 3 cr. Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
RECR120, Leadership in Recreation, 3 cr.
RECR 120 is only offered in the Spring semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
RECR150, Play Across Cultures, 3 cr. Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Choose one from the courses listed below:
Minimum credits required: 3
HLTH205, First Aid and Safety Education Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
FITN102, Swimming II Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
FITN216, Lifeguard Training Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
Select a minimum of 3 credits from the courses listed below:
A Lab Science should be considered based on the requirements of the student's selected transfer institution.
ASTR101, Introductory Astronomy, 3 cr.
BIOL100, Human Biology, 3 cr.
BIOL101, Principles of Biology I, 3 cr.
BIOL102, Principles of Biology II, 3 cr.
BIOL104, General Biology I, 4 cr.
BIOL105, General Biology II, 4 cr.
BIOL112, Essentials of Medical Microbiology, 3 cr.
BIOL114, Essentials of Nutrition, 3 cr.
BIOL115, Field Natural History, 3 cr.
BIOL116, Tropical Field Natural History, 4 cr.
BIOL119, Botany, 3 cr.
BIOL131, Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
BIOL132, Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr.
BIOL201, Human Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
BIOL202, Human Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr.
BIOL211, Ecology, 4 cr.
BIOL216, General Microbiology, 4 cr.
CHEM101, Principles of Chemistry I, 4 cr.
CHEM102, Principles of Chemistry II, 4 cr.
CHEM107, General Chemistry I, 4 cr.
CHEM108, General Chemistry II, 4 cr.
CHEM205, Organic Chemistry I, 4 cr.
CHEM206, Organic Chemistry II, 4 cr.
ENVS101, Introduction to Environmental Science, 3 cr.
ENVS102, Technology and the Environment, 3 cr.
ENVS116, Soil Science, 3 cr.
ENVS141, Agroecology, 3 cr.
ENVS202, Integrated Pest Management, 3 cr.
GEOL101, Introductory Geology, 3 cr.
METR101, Introductory Meteorology, 3 cr.
PHSC104, General Physics I, 4 cr.
PHSC105, General Physics II, 4 cr.
PHSC211, Physics I (Mechanics and Heat), 4 cr.
PHSC212, Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism), 4 cr.
PHSC213, Physics III (Waves, Optics and Modern Physics), 4 cr.
Use Schedule Search for electives

Fall Term 2

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 15

RECR210, Diversity and Inclusion in Recreation, 3 cr.
RECR 210 is only offered in the Fall semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
RECR215, Recreation and the Expressive Arts, 3 cr.
RECR 215 is only offered in the Fall semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Choose one from the courses listed below:
Minimum credits required: 3
ENGL102, Approaches to Literature Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
RECR270, Wilderness and the American Culture Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
Select a minimum of 3 credits from the courses listed below:
ARAB101, Arabic I, 3 cr.
ARAB102, Arabic II, 3 cr.
CHIN101, Mandarin Chinese I, 3 cr.
CHIN102, Mandarin Chinese II, 3 cr.
FREN101, French I, 3 cr.
FREN102, French II, 3 cr.
FREN201, Intermediate French I, 3 cr.
FREN202, Intermediate French II, 3 cr.
GERM101, Beginning German I, 3 cr.
GERM102, Beginning German II, 3 cr.
ITAL101, Italian I, 3 cr.
ITAL102, Italian II, 3 cr.
RUSN101, Russian I, 3 cr.
RUSN102, Russian II, 3 cr.
SPAN101, Beginning Spanish I, 4 cr.
SPAN102, Beginning Spanish II, 3 cr.
SPAN201, Intermediate Spanish I, 3 cr.
SPAN202, Intermediate Spanish II, 3 cr.
Use Schedule Search for electives
Select a minimum of 1 credit from the courses listed below:
Consider CAPS as needed. Students interested in Therapeutic Recreation should take BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 (pre-requisites for BIOL 201). Students on a Management track should choose ACCT 101, BUAD 103, BUAD 204, BUAD 208, or ECON 120.
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Use Schedule Search for electives

Spring Term 2

Minimum Total Semester Credits: 15

ENGL201, Fundamentals of Speech, 3 cr. Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
RECR220, Programming in Recreation and Leisure, 3 cr.
RECR 220 is only offered in the Spring semester.
Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi 
Choose one from the courses listed below:
Minimum credits required: 3
RECR201, Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
RECR260, Camp Counseling and Outdoor Education Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
RECR285, Recreation Field Work Schedule: Sp, Su, Fa, Wi
Select a minimum of 3 credits from the courses listed below:
Choose ACCT 101, BUAD 204, BUAD 208, ECON 120, PSYC 209, or PSYC 263. Students interested in Therapeutic Recreation should choose PSYC 209.
ACCT101, Principles of Accounting I, 4 cr.
BUAD204, Principles of Marketing, 3 cr.
BUAD208, Principles of Management, 3 cr.
ECON120, Principles of Microeconomics, 3 cr.
PSYC209, Abnormal Psychology, 3 cr.
PSYC263, Development Across the Lifespan, 3 cr.
Use Schedule Search for electives
Use Schedule Search for electives


SUNY General Education & Tompkins Cortland Liberal Arts courses

Note: The @ symbol represents any course number or discipline. For example, BIOL @ means any course with a Biology course prefix. An @ alone means one course in any course discipline with any course number.