Recreational therapist essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $42,280
- 2012, number of jobs: 19,180
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 17 percent
- Entry-level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Recreational therapists; what they do:
A recreational therapist career attracts extremely patient people who enjoy being active and gain a great sense of accomplishment by helping people.
Recreational therapists organize and implement recreational and therapeutic programs for people with disabilities or illnesses. Recreation therapists use many techniques such as drama, dance, relaxation methods, sports, and music to help maintain or improve a patients’ psychological and physical health.
Recreational therapist careers include reviewing a patient’s medical chart, history and interests as well as discussing objectives with the patient’s medical team and family members to develop a recreation therapy plan to quickly aid the client in becoming healthier and more independent. Recreational therapist careers also involve submitting reports and reviews to the medical and treatment team to demonstrate a patient’s progression or regression.
Recreational therapists job titles:
- Recreation Therapist
- Activity Assistant
- Certified Recreational Therapist
- Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
- Activities Director
- Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS)
- Music Therapist
Recreational Therapists Education, Certification and License Requirements
Typically, people seeking a recreational therapist career need a Bachelor in Therapeutic Recreation degree and certification. However, in some cases, recreation therapists may qualify for certification with a different form of combined education, training, and experience. Some students also gain internship experience working in local clinics and hospitals.
A Master in Recreation Therapy degree helps individuals obtain an administrative position in the recreation therapy field.
Hospitals and clinics often require recreational therapists to attain certification from the NCTRC (National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification). The organization offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential to individuals who pass a written exam and complete an internship of at least 480 hours.
NCTRC also offers specialized certification in different areas such as behavioral health, physical rehabilitation and developmental disabilities. In addition, some states also require a recreational therapist to obtain a license.
Recreational therapists programs cover subjects such as:
- Recreational and group dynamics
- Therapeutic recreation
- Abnormal psychology
- Medical terminology
- Inclusive Recreation
Recreational Therapists Job Outlook
Forecast: 17 percent employment growth for recreational therapists from 2010 to 2020.
The large baby-boom generation and their need for treatment of age-related injuries and illnesses increase the demand for recreational therapists. Recreational therapists who specialize in geriatric therapy have the best job outlook; residential care facilities hire almost a third of these professionals.
Government funded programs for disabled students encourage the need for recreational therapists in school settings. In addition, third party payers need the services of recreational therapists to drive down the costs for patient recovery.
Patients receiving help from recreational therapists in outpatient settings instead of recovering in expensive hospital units lowers healthcare costs.
Recreational Therapists Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $42,280
- 2012, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $54,530
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $33,040
- Individual, vocational, family and community services
- Medical and surgical hospitals
- Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals
- Nursing care facilities
- Community care facilities for the elderly