Career Awareness

Recreational Therapist

 Daily Tasks
Recreational therapists work with patients to reduce or eliminate barriers to participation in healthy recreational activities. They utilize a wide variety of techniques including arts and crafts; animals; sports and games; dance and movement; drama; music; and community outings. Recreation Therapists aim to reduce depression, stress and anxiety while restoring lost function associated with illness or injury. The recreational therapist works closely with the patient, family and other healthcare providers to achieve and maintain the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their patients.
 
 Skills/Talents
Recreational therapists should be comfortable working with persons who are ill or who have disabilities. Therapists must be patient, tactful, and persuasive when working with people who have a variety of special needs. Ingenuity, a sense of humor, and imagination are needed to adapt activities to individual needs, and good physical coordination is necessary to demonstrate or participate in recreational activities.
 
 Work Setting
Hospitals, long-term care facilities, personal care facilities, residential faculties, community health centers, adult day care programs, park and recreation departments, school systems, correctional facilities, community centers for people with disabilities, and substance abuse centers.
 
 Work Hours
Monday - Sunday, primarily day hours. Some evenings.
 
 Education
The recreational therapist enters the field with an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in therapeutic recreation from an accredited college or university.
 
 Qualifications
Once a degree has been obtained and a clinical internship completed, the therapist should gain certification from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation.
 
 Recommended High School Classes
College prep, business, public speaking, food and nutrition, dance and fine arts, healthcare sciences, advanced sciences (biology and chemistry), anatomy/physiology, humanities, physical education, second language, and psychology