Recreational Therapist Career

recreational-therapist-500Recreational Therapists are essential to helping their patients not with only physical needs, but with their overall well being which includes their social and emotional health. Courses of treatment are planned and organized by the therapists. Treatments can include a large array of activities from arts and crafts to sports and even community excursions.

The goal of a Recreational Therapist is to help their patient, which likely has a disability, illness or sustained an injury, reintegrate into the community as well as helping them prevent further injury. Recreational Therapists work very closely with each of their patients; getting to know them, their habits, capabilities and needs.

Recreational Therapist Career Snapshot

Recreational Therapists often work in some kind of institution such as a nursing home, rehab center or hospital. Due to the close interaction needed to help their patients, they often work as a full time employee with some even working nights and weekends.

Further details on a career as a recreational therapist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for recreational therapists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Bachelor’s degree while 8% have a Master’s degree.

Recreational Therapist Education

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is usually required to become a Recreational Therapist. Although, many employers require a certification as well. The certification (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist) requires the passing of an exam as well as an internship of a minimum of 560 hours. In order to keep the certification, therapists must take continuing education classes. Statistics show that 88% of Recreational Therapists have a bachelor’s degree, while 8% have a master’s degree.

Recreational Therapist Job Outlook

Recreational Therapists are such an essential part of the medical field, that outlook is very strong. From 2014 to 2024, the need for Recreational Therapists is expected to increase 12%, which is a faster incline than average.

Recreational Therapist Salaries

The salaries received range according to education, experience and location of the Recreational Therapist from the lowest 10% earning about $28,020 a year to the top 10% earning around $71,790. The median annual wage, determined in 2015 by, was approximately $45,890.

Recreational Therapist Job Duties

The job duties of a Recreational Therapist include a wide range of tasks. They provide one-on-one sessions with patients geared toward assessing the psychological health of the patient. They help guide and counsel patients to emotional, mental and physical health. Recreational therapists also plan and direct activities designed to improve the patient’s well being. They utilize and create a large array of tools and technology simply to help their patient is any way they can.

Recreational Therapist Skills & Traits

Recreational Therapist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Recreational Therapists:Typical Work Activities:
• Service Orientation
• Social Perceptiveness
• Active Listening
• Coordination
• Speaking
• Oral Comprehension
• Oral Expression
• Problem Sensitivity
• Speech Clarity
• Deductive Reasoning
• Canoes or kayaks
• Cassette players or recorders
• Patient lifts or accessories
• Pianos
• Wheelchairs
• Caring for Others
• Documenting Information
• Scheduling Work and Activities
• Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
• Getting Information

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