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Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Find Your Fit

What is Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management?

In today’s fast-paced society, recreation and leisure are more important than ever to our physical and mental well-being. Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM) students learn to create and facilitate sustainable and affordable experiences in local and global communities by utilizing best business practices in programming, marketing and budgeting. Our students graduate prepared to make a difference in people’s lives by creating quality recreation and nature-based programs, education and events that provide leisure, enhance community and address societal concerns—such as physical health, juvenile delinquency and economic sustainability.

Our students gain real-world experience through hands-on classes and internships. Students benefit from partnerships with local and state agencies, nonprofits and a network of parks in the greater Raleigh area. Our college is home to the NC State Tourism Extension Office, which is committed to boosting economic and community development efforts in rural North Carolina. Our students have the opportunity to gain professional and leadership experience by assisting this office with projects in the areas of agri-tourism and micro-entrepreneurship. Our Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT).


  • Recreation and Park Management focuses on environmental education, outdoor recreation, parks planning and management and conservation of parks and other natural resource areas.
  • Tourism and Event Management focuses on recreation facility management techniques, fiscal management, facility and site planning, and recreation programming and administration.

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Curriculum

Internships lead to jobs.

Prior to graduation, students complete a 400-hour internship at places like the Jimmy V Foundation, YMCA of the Triangle and Yellowstone National Park.

Why are Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management graduates important?

  • Our graduates help plan, organize and lead sports tournaments and special events, which not only generate direct revenue from fees and charges but also significant indirect revenues to local and regional economies through hospitality, retail and transportation.
  • Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and is a major source of income for many countries and local communities. Our alumni play a critical role in supporting a thriving economy and the more than 1.1 billion people who travel globally each year.
  • Our graduates help create, improve and promote places for youth and adults to be physically active, which results in an increase in residents who exercise at least three times per week and provides positive lifestyle choices to youth.

What can you do with a Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management degree?

The Parks, Recreation and Tourism industries are growing. Employment of people working in recreation professions is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Outdoor recreation alone contributes 6.1 million jobs and $645 billion to the U.S. economy annually. That means our students graduate with options.

Sample Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Careers

  • Community Event Planner – Coordinate and implement meeting and event logistics for a specific community. Recent employers include the Special Olympics and the Girl Scouts of America.
  • Environmental Educator – Give talks to schools and other community groups about environmental issues. Lead outdoor walks and field trips. Recent employers include Yellowstone National Park.
  • GIS Specialist – Use geographic information systems to solve problems, present data and store information. Recent employers include ProStar, Inc.
  • Youth Director – Manage and implement programing specifically for youth. Recent employers include the YMCA of the Triangle.
  • Eco-Tourism Guide – Give impact tours of fragile, pristine or undisturbed natural areas. Recent employers include The National Ecotourism Society.
  • Superintendent of Recreation – Lead planning, development and operation of a comprehensive public recreation program for the community. Recent employers include Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation.
  • Park or Trail Planner – Research, analyze and interpret data related to park use to perform strategic planning, design and development of parks, trails and recreational facilities. Recent employers include the U.S. Forest Service.
  • Tourism Marketing Analyst – Gather and analyze data on tourism, consumers and competitors, study market conditions and trends. Recent employers include the Raleigh Convention and Visitor Center.
  • Nature Center Manager – Plan, coordinate and manage all program activities. Recent employers include the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Park Ranger – Patrol park grounds to make sure campers, hikers and visitors follow park rules and fire safety regulations. Give presentations or guided park tours. Recent employers include the National Park Service.
  • Resort and Hotel Operations Director – Oversee daily hotel or resort operations, including supervising staff and interacting with guests. Recent employers include Disney Resorts.


Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Careers