Improving Lives Through Recreational Activities: Recreational Therapy Degree

Are you the type of person who enjoys working closely with others and offering assistance to those who are in need? Would you like to help bring about positive changes in the lives of people suffering from disabilities, illnesses or other health issues? One of the ways in which this can be accomplished is by completing a recreational therapy degree and working as a recreational therapist. It is an exciting career path where you get to be part of a team that works towards the rehabilitation of your clients. Thanks to the tireless work done by recreational therapist people who suffer from different types of disabilities and other ailments can once again become involved in the community or even regain their independence.

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Recreational Therapy Degree Information

Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy

A bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy is typically the minimum requirement for employment as a recreational therapist. This degree is available as a campus based program as well as fully online as a concentration when completing a bachelors degree in recreation and sports management. The degree can take up to four years to complete and may include courses such as Inclusive Recreation Services, Introduction to Recreational Therapy, Program Planning in Recreational Therapy, as well as Trends, Issues and Managerial Aspects of Recreational Therapy.

Master of Science in Recreational Therapy

The Master of Science in Recreational Therapy degree takes about four years to complete and can typically be done on a full-time or part-time basis. Typically this type of degree program also adheres to all the curriculum standards that are required by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. In order to enroll for this type of degree program a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution is required. Courses may include Conceptual and Contemporary Issues in Therapeutic Recreation, Therapeutic Recreation Administration, as well as specialization courses, such as Recreation Therapy and Assistive Technology and Child Life Interventions.

Licenses And Certification

Only a few states in America require licensure for recreational therapists. However, recreational therapists who are certified are often favored by employers. Certification can be obtained via the NCTRC in a number of ways. Some do so by earning a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy, completing supervised internship and then passing an exam. However, it may also be possible to qualify when a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated subject if you have enough work experience. Recertification is done every five years by either passing an exam or adhering to the work experience as well as continuing education requirements.

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Recreational Therapy Degree FAQ

Is It Possible To Study For A Recreational Therapy Degree Online?

Recreational therapy is a very hands-on field of study, which makes it difficult to find degree programs that are available fully online. However, there are options available at the masters degree level as well as hybrid programs, which allows for certain courses to be completed online. Balancing work and family as well as education can be very difficult for many students, which makes online courses an ideal solution. Students are able to study when and where it is most convenient for them, which means it is much more flexible than trying to adhere to a campus based schedule. For online courses, students only require a computer or laptop with an internet connection.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study For A Recreational Therapy Degree?

Before studying recreational therapy it is obviously important that you enjoy working with people and helping others. It is a career path that requires a lot of patience, empathy as well as compassion. Being very organized and observant will also be useful in this line of work. Being creative and possessing a good sense of humor is not essential, but will make your work a lot easier. You need to have good speaking skills as well as listening skills as you’ll be dealing with issues that are very important to your patients. Because you’ll be required to motivate people and plan intervention plans, it is vital that you have good leadership skills. Finally, it will help a lot if you are physically fit as you may need to spend a lot of time on your feet or assist patients with their wheelchairs or other heavy objects.

What Type of Duties Might I Have When Employed As A Recreational Therapist?

When working as a recreational therapist you might be required to observe patients and assess their needs, come up with treatment plans based on these needs and then implement the plans. You would also have to keep track of the progress made by your patients and evaluate whether your interventions have been effective or need more adjustments.

What Type Of Intervention Plans Are Typically Performed by Recreational Therapists?

There are a number of intervention plans that recreational therapists can employ to assist their clients. These can range from relaxation or massage to exercise or even spiritual guidance. Rikki therapy and acupuncture is also not uncommon. In addition, intervention plans may include a myriad of other activities, such as music, games and crafts. For individuals who struggle with group activities, animal therapy might be used while intergenerational programming may be used for older individuals. Recreational therapists typically base all of their plans around the six health domains, which consists of the emotional, physical, vocational, spiritual, social and cognitive.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn When Employed As A Recreational Therapist?

Information published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median annual wage for those employed as recreational therapists was about $48,220 in 2019. Recreational therapists at the higher end of the pay scale earned in excess of $72,340, while those in the lowest ten percent took home less than $28,010. The industry in which you end up finding employment can play a large role in your salary as recreational therapists who work for the government tend to earn more than those working at hospitals or ambulatory healthcare services. In terms of employment, a projected growth of about seven percent until 2026 is expected for this industry, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations that are listed by the BLS. Due to the aging population in the United States, recreational therapists who special in working with older people may have better job opportunities available to them.

What Type of Work Environment Does Recreational Therapists Typically Have?

When employed as a recreational therapists you’ll typically operate out of an office where patient assessment as well as administrative activities take place. The actual therapy can either provided in a clinical setting or may involve traveling as well as taking patients out into the community. As a recreational therapist you might be required to work as part of a team with other professionals, such as social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and more.

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