RECREATIONAL THERAPISTS provide treatment and medically approved recreational, social, and cultural activities to people with disabilities or illnesses. They treat the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of clients through exercise, sports, dance, drama, arts and crafts, music, and outings. They help people reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. They also help people recover basic motor functioning and reasoning abilities, build confidence and self esteem, and reduce the effects of illness or disability. They help people with disabilities use community resources and recreational activities. They also help patients to express their feelings in positive and effective ways.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $43,000 average per year ($20.75 per hour)
- A small occupation (20,800 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.5% per year)
A bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation, or recreation and concentration in therapeutic recreation, is required for entry-level RECREATIONAL THERAPISTS. Persons may qualify for paraprofessional positions with an associate degree in therapeutic recreation or in a health care related field. An associate degree in recreational therapy; training in art, drama, or music therapy; or qualifying work experience may be sufficient for activity director positions in nursing homes. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who are certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS).
- Counselor (Rehabilitation)
- Director (Social Service)
- Fitness Trainer
- Health Educator
- Occupational Therapist
- Physical Therapist
- Recreation Leader