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Understanding How the Pandemic Changed the Job Market – Featuring Associate Professor Dr. Brian Clark

Dr. Brian ClarkDr. Brian G. Clark

Assistant Professor
Eastern Kentucky University
Department of Parks, Recreation, Exercise, and Sport Science
Zippia The Career Expert Article

Will there be an enduring impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Recreation Specialists?

Dr. Brian G. Clark: Parks and Natural areas have seen a huge increase in visitor usage during the pandemic. More and more people have been engaging in outdoor recreation as a way to be active while indoor recreation centers have been closed or having limited capacity. So, there will probably be an enduring impact on graduates in a couple different ways. One will be how we recover and restore these natural areas after we have seen the carrying capacity exceeded. With the increase in visitor usage there will be an impact on these areas and restoring these natural areas will be a major project over the years to come. Also, there will be an opportunity to capitalize on this increase in outdoor recreation and continue to provide areas and experiences for these visitors. I believe this increase will continue and the real challenge will be how to manage these areas in a sustainable way. I hope this increase will lead to more support of parks and recreational areas and therefore more land availability and funding.


What’s a good job out of college for Recreation Specialists?

Dr. Brian G. Clark: There are so many jobs within the recreation and park profession. Recreation, Parks and Tourism is the largest industry in the world! You can work for state and local parks, YMCA, federal parks and land management agencies, outdoor retailer stores, local guides and outfitters, university programs, wounded warriors, Special Olympics, and even the military with the (MWR) morale, welfare and recreation. All of these areas provide numerous jobs and positions with great benefits and really the opportunity to transform the lives of the people in your communities. Parks and Recreation professionals are health care providers. We are even seeing physicians starting to prescribe physical activity in park settings to their patients.


What will help Recreation Specialists increase their earning potential?

Dr. Brian G. Clark: Continuing to further your education is always an excellent way to increase your earning potential in any field. Separating yourself from other candidates by obtaining an undergraduate and/or graduate degree is going to go a long way in our current competitive job market. Another area is gaining certifications and professional trainings. There are so many different certifications and trainings for recreation practitioners, and this will increase your job opportunities as well as your earning potential. I recommend looking for the job you want and setting yourself up by meeting the preferred qualifications not just the required or minimum qualifications.


Published on November 23, 2021

Recreation and Park Administration

521 Lancaster Avenue
Combs 208
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone: 859-622-1833

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Exercise and Sport Science

521 Lancaster Avenue
Combs 215A
Richmond, KY 40475
Phone: 859-622-8149

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