Career Detail

Recreational Therapist
Recreational therapists, also referred to as therapeutic recreation specialists, provide treatment services and recreation activities for individuals with disabilities or illnesses.
The Job
Recreational therapists assess clients using information from observations, medical records, standardized assessments, the medical staff, the clients' families, and the clients themselves. They then develop and carry out therapeutic interventions consistent with the clients' needs and interests. For example, they may encourage clients who are isolated from others or who have limited social skills to play games with others, and they may teach right-handed people with right-side paralysis how to use their unaffected left side to throw a ball or swing a racket.
Work Environment
Recreational therapists provide services in special activity rooms but also plan activities and prepare documentation in offices.
College Majors
bachelor's degree
Minimum Qualifications
A bachelor's degree with a major or concentration in therapeutic recreation is the usual requirement for entry-level positions. Some States regulate recreational therapists, but requirements vary.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Therapists must be patient, tactful, and persuasive when working with people who have a variety of special needs.
Quick Facts
  • Recreational therapists will experience competition for jobs.
  • A bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation is the usual requirement for entry-level positions.
  • Recreational therapists should be comfortable working with persons who are ill or who have disabilities.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of recreational therapists were $38,370 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $29,660 and $49,140. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $60,280.
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