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Outdoor Recreation and Education

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Outdoor Recreation and Education

About the Major

Outdoor Recreation and Education focuses on preparing the next generation of professionals for the outdoor industry. The outdoor recreation economy generated $862 billion in consumer spending and 4.5 million jobs in the United States in 2021 (Outdoor Industry Association, 2023). Career opportunities in the outdoor industry can be found in the areas of conservation leadership in both the public and private sectors, nature-based travel and tourism, and outdoor adventure education, to name a few.

The major blends traditional classroom and field-based learning opportunities to create a unique educational experience for students in the major. General content areas in the major include outdoor leadership, environmental interpretation, parks and protected areas management, ecotourism, and adventure programming. In addition to these key content areas, students have opportunities to develop technical proficiency in various outdoor adventure pursuits, expeditionary and wilderness travel experience, and leadership and teaching ability that can be applied in a wide variety of professional contexts

Why OHIO's Outdoor Recreation and Education Major?



    The Outdoor Recreation and Education major combines traditional classroom experience with hands-on learning that aims to enhance students’ employability and connect students with outdoor recreation and education organizations within the industry.



    OHIO's location in Athens, Ohio, offers students a picturesque college town experience with abundant year-round recreational activities such as hiking, cycling, backpacking, bouldering (indoor and outdoor), mountain biking, stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, camping, wildlife viewing, and swimming. The program is conveniently situated in a region teeming with outdoor adventures, including nationally acclaimed spots like Bailey's Trail System (15 minute drive from campus) for mountain biking, Hocking Hills State Park (45 minute drive from campus) for hiking, and New River Gorge National Park (3 hour drive from campus) for climbing and whitewater paddling.


    Graduate Success

    Nearly 100% of OHIO Outdoor Recreation & Education majors find employment within the Outdoor Industry post-graduation. Employers of OHIO alumni include the National Parks Service, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, U.S Forest Service, Outward Bound, NOLS, YMCA, Camp Joy, Scouting USA, Naturalists At Large, Adventure Treks, Columbus Metro Parks, and many more!

Career Opportunities

Graduates from the Outdoor Recreation Recreation and Education major are prepared to lead and excel in their profession!

Example Job Titles:

  • Recreation Planner
  • Adventure Program Coordinator
  • Environmental Educator
  • Assistant Director of Outdoor Pursuits
  • Interpretive Guide
  • Camp Director
  • Challenge Course Program Coordinator
  • Mountain Guide
  • Ecotourism Resort Manager
  • River Manager
  • Outdoor Recreation Specialist 
  • Trail Director
  • Outdoor Educator
  • Naturalist (after interpretive guide)


The Outdoor Recreation and Education major is complimented by a variety of certificate programs depending on an individual Bobcat’s interests. Potential pairings include:

Costs and Financial Aid

When you choose OHIO, you’re getting the competitive tuition rates of a state university, but with the personalized attention and support you might expect from a private school. In fact, for the second consecutive year we were named the best value among Ohio’s public universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Tuition and fees are assessed based on the number of credit hours of enrollment, Ohio residency and program. 


The Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT). As an accrediting body, COAPRT is accredited by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

2023 Annual Report
2022 Annual Report
2021 Annual Report

More Information on the Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies Programs' Accreditation


If you have any questions, please reach out to:

Dr. Bruce Martin
Program Coordinator,
Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies
Patton College of Education
Patton Hall 202Q
Athens, OH 45701