Activity Director Job Description

Cruise ship activity directors plan shipboard events and shore excursions.
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If you're an introvert, then a job as an activity director is not a good choice. Activity directors need bubbly, outgoing personalities and leadership qualities because they interact with all kinds of people from just about anywhere. Activity directors, also known as recreation workers, plan, organize and execute a series of recreational or leisure activities for children and adults in a variety of different settings. When you enjoy working with people and have special skills and talents to help others learn new things, then a job as an activity director might be right up your alley.

Duties and Responsibilities

    Activity directors do a lot of planning. Part of the job involves coming up with new activities for people and children to do. For instance, an activity director at a kid's camp steers and teaches children in a series of activities that includes things like horseback riding, swimming, arts and crafts or other outdoor camping activities. Besides instructing others in these goings-on, activity directors also need to keep equipment and supplies organized, be able to modify programs to fit participants' age group or physical abilities, and administer first aid, if needed.


    The type of job determines the educational requirements. Some activity director jobs might need a bachelor's degree that emphasizes course work in management, supervision and administration, or program development for people with special needs, as with the disabled or elderly. An education with a focus in therapeutic recreation, outdoor recreation, camp management or industrial and commercial recreation could also be helpful. Some activity director positions might require just an associate degree or experience with specific activities, such as with horseback riding. Activity director supervisory positions need a master's degree relative to the work as in business or public administration. When you work for a state or national park, you might also need special certification, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Skills and Abilities

    Because this job deals with people from all backgrounds, cultures or walks of life, an activity director needs to be able to get along and communicate with just about anyone. Besides effective communicators, activity directors are also physically fit because the job often demands that you demonstrate the different activities. As an activity director, you must assert your authority over a group of people to maintain safety and order. Leadership, problem-solving and speaking skills are at the top of the list for the activity director.

Work Environment

    As an activity director, you could work at a zoo, theme park or hotel, or on a cruise ship. Some activity directors work at recreation centers or inside senior retirement homes or skilled nursing facilities. You could get a job working for local government or at a hospital, recreational and fitness sport centers or outdoor camps and parks.


    Activity director salaries follow the same guidelines used for recreation workers defined by BLS. BLS identified the mean annual wage in May 2012 for activity directors and recreation workers at $25,430. Those in the top 10 percent earned $38,750, while those who worked for local governments averaged $26,040. Cruise ship and other recreational jobs paid an average of $22,640, while activity directors in skilled nursing facilities earned $25,700.

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