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Occupational Profile

Recreation Facility Operator

Recreation facility operators maintain and supervise the use of recreational facilities ranging from ice arenas and swimming pools to sports fields and tennis courts.

  • Avg. Salary $21,794.00
  • Avg. Wage $15.19
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
Also Known As

Facility Operator, Indoor Arena Operator, Outdoor Recreation Facility Operator, Sports Field Operator, Swimming Pool Operator

NOC & Interest Codes
The Recreation Facility Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Attendants in Amusement, Recreation and Sport
NOC code: 6671.2
METHODICAL

Interest in comparing to collect tickets and fees; to rent or sell sports and accessory equipment; to monitor recreational equipment to detect wear and damage; and to schedule the use of recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts, bowling alleys, fitness clubs and other similar facilities

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating recreational facility equipment such as ski lifts, ice rink equipment and snow making machines; and in securing and releasing safety belts and bars

SOCIAL

Interest in speaking - signalling to assist patrons on and off ski lifts and amusement park rides; and in attending to the requests of patrons

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Recreation facility operators are responsible for the smooth, safe and efficient operation of recreation facilities, such as swimming pools, arenas, curling rinks, indoor soccer facilities, indoor courts and outdoor facilities. They are sometimes responsible for programming as well as facility operation and maintenance (for more information, see the Recreation Co-ordinator profile).

Recreation facility operators' duties depend on the type and number of facilities they operate, and their degree of involvement with programming and maintenance. For example, a swimming pool operator may:

  • maintain water quality and mechanical operations (for example, test water and backwash filters)
  • perform building maintenance and custodial duties
  • run swimming lesson programs
  • be responsible for public relations and planning
  • oversee pool administration
  • supervise lifeguards
  • prepare budgets
  • handle cash.

In the same community, duties of an ice rink operator may be limited to supervising an outdoor rink during hours of operation and maintaining the ice surface.

In general, recreation facility operators:

  • perform routine maintenance themselves or supervise general maintenance staff and, when required, tradespeople, such as painters, plumbers and electricians
  • perform specialized tasks related to the nature of the facility (for example, resurface ice, keep records regarding ice thickness, repair rink boards and replace glass)
  • enforce safety regulations
  • ensure good public relations
  • schedule the use of facilities and collect fees.

In large complexes that may include ice rinks, swimming pools or other facilities, facility operators must manage life cycle and risk management issues as well as ensure the efficient, safe operation of:

  • building systems (boilers, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems)
  • architectural and structural components (door hardware, paint finishes, floor finishes, furniture, windows, roofing systems)
  • life, fire and safety systems (fire panels, fire extinguishers, concession range hood systems, wet and dry sprinkler systems, first aid stations).
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Recreation facility operators may work primarily indoors or outdoors depending on the type of facility. They often work shifts that include evenings, weekends and holidays.

Some recreation facility operators occasionally must lift materials and equipment weighing up to 20 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Recreation facility operators need the following characteristics:

  • flexibility and a sense of humour
  • a willingness to acquire a broad range of skills
  • the ability to work effectively in a team environment
  • the ability to work effectively with patrons and clients
  • time management skills.

They should enjoy working with people and machines and having responsibilities that change frequently.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

In the past, many facility operators worked their way up, but this is becoming increasingly difficult as more specialized skills, training and education are required.

  • Indoor ice arena operators need to know how to make and maintain artificial ice to a safe and efficient standard, make minor repairs to ventilation and refrigeration systems, and do custodial work. A minimum Arena Operator Level 1 certificate from the Alberta Association of Recreation Facility Personnel (AARFP) is recommended. An Arena Operator Level 2 or Building Maintenance Level 1 or 2 certificate may be required (see below).
  • Swimming pool operators must know how to operate low-pressure boilers and filtration systems, maintain the water and facilities at a level that satisfies health regulations, understand chlorine safety and water testing, and clean facilities. A minimum Swimming Pool Operator Level 1 certificate is recommended (see below).
  • Outdoor facility operators responsible for sports fields, tennis courts, playgrounds and parks have to know about the maintenance of sports fields, playgrounds and courts, irrigation systems, plants and equipment. A Park and Sports Field Operator Level 1 certificate is recommended (see below).

The Alberta Association of Recreation Facility Personnel (AARFP) offers short courses related to the operation and maintenance of swimming pools, arenas, buildings, parks and sport fields. These courses can be taken in various locations throughout the province. Course graduates receive Level 1 or Level 2 certification.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Most municipalities in Alberta employ facility operations personnel. Some positions (for example, arena operator, parks operator) are seasonal.

Advancement opportunities depend on the nature of the employing organization and the qualifications of the facility operator.

Recreation facility operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6722: Operators and attendants in amusement, recreation and sport. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,700 Albertans are employed in the Operators and attendants in amusement, recreation and sport occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.0% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 114 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As recreation facility operators form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for recreation facility operators.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Recreation facility operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6722: Operators and attendants in amusement, recreation and sport. 

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Operators and attendants in amusement, recreation and sport occupational group earned on average from $14.05 to $17.93 an hour. The overall average wage was $15.19 an hour. For more information, see the Operators and attendants in amusement, recreation and sport wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Alberta Association of Recreation Facility Personnel (AARFP) website: www.aarfp.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jul 01, 2011. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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