Hands on Learning is Key
Opportunities to apply theory to practice and bridge classroom-based academic learning to practice environments are some of the most important components of the professional preparation for all students studying the health care professions. The Recreation Therapy program places great value on providing students in the major with these applied learning opportunities at various stages throughout their curriculum. In addition to the service learning built into the majority of the Recreation Therapy courses, students must engage in professional development activities at specific stages of their curriculum.
As students enter the program, they will immediately begin Professional Development Hours. These hours are an important enhancement to the academic training of students, as they provide a reference point for not only classroom learning, but more importantly, for the personal development of insights, attributes, and skills needed to be an effective helping professional. With the guidance of faculty, students will complete a minimum of 70 professional development hours aimed at helping the students grow professionally in the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. The Program also places great value on the diversity of experiences. Students are encouraged to explore the variety of settings within which recreation therapists work as well as the variety of populations with whom we work.
In their Junior year, students will complete their first credit-bearing internship experience, TR 3185: Internship I. This three credit course provides initial exposure to students to the organization and delivery of Recreation Therapy services and provides students the opportunities for supervised leadership in Recreation Therapy interventions with a variety of clients. There are two main foci of this internship experience. First, students will enhance their assessment and documentation skills which are critical to developing, implementing, and evaluating a client’s treatment plan. Secondly, students will be provided opportunities for demonstrating and receiving guidance and feedback on basic interaction skills and facilitation techniques needed to work with clients both individually and in group interventions. This internship is a minimum of a 150 hour experience under the supervision of a qualified recreation professional.
Finally, students will participate in an advanced level internship experience that represents the culmination of their program of study in Recreation Therapy. This final internship, TR 4185: Internship II ensures that students have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of an entry-level Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Internship requirements are guided by Recreation Therapy Program goals as well as guidelines mandated by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification and the Committee on Accreditation of Recreation Therapy Education. TR 4185 is a 600 hour internship experience that must be completed under the supervision of an active Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.