Activity aides work in senior centers, nursing homes and recreation centers. The activity aide reports to a recreation leader or activities specialist in the organization. A worker in this position may spend a portion of the day outside in the performance of his work duties. Some positions may be seasonal, but available opportunities exist for a full-time career in the recreation worker field.
Aides assist the recreational activities leader or activities director, helping patients or participants use equipment and supplies. Activities may include arts and crafts, outdoor activities, sports, music or drama. The assistant may prepare equipment and ensure the safety of patients or participants in the activity.
Activity aides may assist in leading the participants in group activities, such as an exercise class or art project. Assistants help keep records of equipment and its use.
The aide may assist in planning programs for patients, which can help to provide socialization, relaxation and exercise.
Applicants for an activity aide position should have a bachelor’s degree and, in some cases, experience in the field. Qualified candidates may have a degree in leisure studies or parks and recreation. Activity aides who work with the elderly may take courses that specialize in the needs of that population.
Activities aides may need certification to work in certain recreational areas, such as swimming or water sports.
Activity aides should be energetic and personable to work with patients or participants. The aide should have the ability to motivate others to participate in activities. The worker should also be sensitive to the needs of each individual patient or participant.
The median salary for an activities aide is $23,185, as of November 2010, according to MySalary.com. The geographic location, type of facility and experience of the individual can have an effect on the salary of a worker in this field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 15 percent job growth for recreation workers between 2008 and 2018, with more jobs available for seasonal and part-time workers.
2016 Salary Information for Recreation Workers
Recreation workers earned a median annual salary of $23,870 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, recreation workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $19,780, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $31,310, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 390,000 people were employed in the U.S. as recreation workers.