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What is Recreational Therapy?

Ever think about the connection between health and recreation? Consider this: children cope better with being hospitalized when given a chance to play. People recovering from physical injuries or adapting to disabilities stay healthier longer when they are physically and socially active. Older adults maintain a sharper mind and a higher level of social involvement when they recreate. Recreational therapy (RT) is an occupation that takes play and recreation very seriously. It is an established health related profession committed to promoting the connection between health and recreation involvement. It has a unique role in the health and human service system to promote play, recreation and leisure as a means to psychological and physical recovery, health and well-being among individuals with disabilities. Recreational therapists use individual and group counseling techniques and play, recreation and other activity-based interventions to maximize an individual's functioning and promote quality of life.

Is RT a career for me?

Recreational therapy is an exciting helping profession. It might be a good fit for you if you are interested in a health-related career and you have a strong interest in helping individuals with chronic illnesses and disabling conditions, especially through socially and physically active recreation.

What is the profession like?

Recreational therapy is an exciting helping profession. It might be a good fit for you if you are interested in a health-related career and you have a strong interest in helping individuals with chronic illnesses and disabling conditions, especially through socially and physically active recreation. You should also have an appreciation of the value of recreation and leisure in your own life.

Examples of RT Interventions:

Recreation therapists design interventions that include a wide range of modalities and facilitation techniques including: Adapted Aquatics * Aquatics Therapy * Therapeutic Horseback Riding * Wheelchair Sports * Exercise Programs * Medical Play * Adapted Fitness Activity * Animal Assisted Therapy * Horticulture * Social Skills Training * Music * Adventure Programming * Journaling * Creative Arts * Stress Management * Yoga * T'ai Chi Chuan * Leisure Education *

Will I have a professional title?

Your Temple coursework prepares you to take the national exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and to practice as a recreational therapist. Temple's RT alumni consistently score higher than the national average on this certification exam. Most health care and human services agencies require CTRS certification for employment.

What about Employment?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in recreational therapy positions is projected to grow faster than the average, with a more focused increase in the care needs of the aging population. An increase in opportunities is also expected with school aged children with disabilities corresponding to an increase in governmental funding. For more information on the employment outlook, please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website at http://www.bls.gov/OCO/.

Recreational therapists may be employed in a variety of settings, including:

Mental health agencies * pediatric facilities * nursing homes * physical rehabilitation hospitals * adult day programs * substance recovery programs * community recreation centers * outdoor recreation centers * adult retirement communities * skilled nursing facilities * developmental disability centers * home health care * * after school programs * assisted living centers * specialty schools for kids with hearing impairments, visual impairments and other physical and cognitive disabilities * Veterans Administration hospitals * correctional facilities

Credentialed recreational therapists (CTRS) occupy positions of varying responsibilities from program planner to Director. Examples of leadership positions include:

  • Recreation Therapist
  • Director of Recreational Therapy, Activity Therapy, Adjunctive Therapies
  • Program Specialist in Art, Music, Drama, Dance, Outdoor Recreation
  • Life Enrichment Coordinator
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Recreation Therapy Supervisor
  • Clinical Manager
  • Healthcare Consultant
  • Senior Therapist