Kind Reader, if you’re looking for the best schools for recreational therapy, then you’ve come to the right place. Recreational therapy is an emerging field that focuses on improving the physical, social, and emotional well-being of individuals through leisure and recreational activities. As such, it is important to find an institution that offers comprehensive and high-quality training programs to become a qualified recreational therapist. In this article, we will explore some of the top schools for recreational therapy in the United States.
Top Recreational Therapy Schools in the US
Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, helps individuals with disabilities, illnesses, or injuries use recreation and leisure activities as a form of therapy to improve physical, emotional, and mental well-being. If you are interested in pursuing a career in recreational therapy, it is important to find a top-ranked program that will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to excel in this field. In this article, we have compiled a list of some of the best schools for recreational therapy in the US.
1. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa offers a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation (TR) and a Master of Arts in TR with a specialization in behavioral health. The TR program at UI is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and offers comprehensive courses, clinical experience and research opportunities for students.
2. Clemson University
The recreational therapy program at Clemson University is recognized as one of the premier programs in the country and is offered at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate degree is a BS in parks, recreation, and tourism management – therapeutic recreation concentration, while the graduate program is a Master of Science in parks, recreation, and tourism management – therapeutic recreation concentration. Both programs prepare students to work as highly skilled and competent recreational therapists in a variety of settings on graduation.
3. Temple University
The recreational therapy program at Temple University boasts a high job placement rate for graduates, and the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in therapeutic recreation draw students from across the country. Students have access to unique opportunities to work with older adults, such as a geriatric internship and a dementia care elective.
4. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse offers a Bachelor of Science in therapeutic recreation and a Master of Science in recreation management with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation. Both programs are accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT). The undergraduate program includes extensive clinical experience, which prepares graduates for the Board Certification exam and eventual careers in Recreational Therapy.
5. Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University’s recreational therapy program is another highly regarded program in the US. The undergraduate program is a Bachelor of Science in recreational therapy, and students can choose to pursue a traditional or honors track. The graduate program is a Master of Science in recreational therapy and prepares graduates for advanced roles in the field, including administration or teaching positions.
Top Recreational Therapy Schools in California
California is one of the best states to study recreational therapy due to the numerous universities that offer quality programs. Here are some of the best recreational therapy schools in California.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University (SDSU) is located in southern California and offers a recreation and tourism management program. The program has a 120-hour recreation therapy internship where students get hands-on experience in recreation therapy. SDSU is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions (COAPRT).
California State University, Sacramento
Another top California school for recreational therapy is California State University, Sacramento (CSUS). The school offers a recreation, parks, and tourism administration program that includes a concentration in therapeutic recreation. Students at CSUS get the opportunity to work with special needs populations, which can help them gain valuable experience in the field. CSUS is accredited by COAPRT.
Top Recreational Therapy Schools in Texas
Texas is another great state to study recreational therapy. Here are some of the top schools for recreational therapy in Texas.
University of North Texas
The University of North Texas (UNT) is located in Denton, Texas and offers a therapeutic recreation program. The program includes coursework in areas such as group dynamics, assessment, and program planning. UNT also offers a minor in disability studies, which can help students gain a more well-rounded education in the field. The program at UNT is accredited by COAPRT.
Stephen F. Austin State University
Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) is located in Nacogdoches, Texas and has a recreation, park and tourism sciences program that includes a therapeutic recreation track. The program at SFA includes coursework in areas such as adapted physical education, kinesiology, and leisure education. SFA is accredited by COAPRT.
|No||Name of School||Location||Ranking||Degree Offered||Tuition (in-state)|
|1||University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA||1||BS, MS||$9,267 (BS), $11,336 (MS)|
|2||Temple University||Philadelphia, PA||2||BS, MS||$16,970 (BS), $16,080 (MS)|
|3||University of Wisconsin-La Crosse||La Crosse, WI||3||BS||$9,380|
|4||East Carolina University||Greenville, NC||4||BS, MS||$7,238 (BS), $5,865 (MS in-state), $20,142 (MS out-of-state)|
|5||Western Michigan University||Kalamazoo, MI||5||BS, MS||$13,017 (BS), $21,100 (MS in-state), $33,255 (MS out-of-state)|
Top 5 Best Schools for Recreational Therapy in the US
If you have a passion for helping people through recreation, pursuing a degree in recreational therapy can be fulfilling. Recreational therapy is an interdisciplinary field of study that uses activities, games, and other interventions to improve the well-being of individuals who experience disabilities or illnesses. Here are the top 5 best schools in the US for recreational therapy.
The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa’s recreational therapy program is ranked number one in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The program provides hands-on experience through fieldwork opportunities, enabling students to apply what they learn in real-world settings. Graduates from the program have high job placement rates and a reputation for excellence in the workforce.
The University of Utah
The University of Utah’s recreational therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students are provided with opportunities to work with professionals in the field and to conduct research. The school also offers clinical internships to students to gain experience in a clinical environment.
Temple University’s Department of Therapeutic Recreation is a leader in recreational therapy education. The university offers a Bachelor of Science in therapeutic recreation, as well as a Master of Science in recreational therapy. Students are exposed to a variety of settings, including rehabilitation and community-based programs. Graduates of the program have a high job placement rate and are employed in various settings, including hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and schools.
Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University offers a Bachelor of Science in recreational therapy, which prepares students to become Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS). The program emphasizes hands-on learning and provides students with opportunities to work with clients in a variety of settings such as community agencies, hospitals, and schools.
California State University, Sacramento offers both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in recreational therapy. Students benefit from the program’s strong emphasis on clinical experience and real-world learning. The university’s recreational therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and is recognized for its excellence in educating future professionals in the field.
|1||The University of Iowa||Undergraduate and Graduate programs in recreational therapy|
|2||The University of Utah||Bachelor of Science in recreational therapy|
|3||Temple University||Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in therapeutic recreation|
|4||Western Carolina University||Bachelor of Science in recreational therapy|
|5||California State University, Sacramento||Bachelor and Master of Science in recreational therapy|
Accreditation for Recreational Therapy Programs
Accreditation guarantees that the school offers high-quality education programs and maintains rigorous standards. It also ensures that the program meets the academic and clinical standards that qualify graduates to take the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam. Going to an accredited recreational therapy program can also help you qualify for internship and job opportunities. The NCTRC has requirements that schools must meet to ensure that its graduates have the necessary skills and knowledge to become competent and ethical practitioners.
What is NCTRC Accreditation?
The NCTRC sets the standards for therapeutic recreation curricula and accredits qualified institutions that offer degree or certificate programs in therapeutic recreation. Accreditation is based on a peer-review process and standards developed by the NCTRC. It is granted to therapeutic recreation degree or certificate programs that meet or exceed these standards. There are currently more than 80 NCTRC-accredited programs throughout the United States and Canada.
Importance of Accreditation
Accreditation by NCTRC is important for several reasons. First, an accredited program ensures that instructors meet minimum qualifications to teach, and courses meet minimum standards. Second, graduates of an NCTRC-accredited program can sit for the NCTRC national certification examination, which is necessary for many job opportunities. Third, employers and agencies that hire recreational therapists usually look for applicants who have been certified by the NCTRC.
Best Schools for Bachelor’s Degree in Recreational Therapy
Pursuing an undergraduate degree in recreational therapy can lead you to a variety of job opportunities. To advance your career to the next level, you must enroll in a school that offers a competitive and widely recognized recreational therapy program. Some of the best schools for pursuing a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy are:
1. Clemson University
Clemson University is a public research institution, that offers a bachelor of science in recreational therapy, with courses in therapeutic recreation, medical terminology, physical assessment, pediatric recreation, leisure and positive psychology, and outdoor recreation. Students who complete the program are eligible to sit for the NCTRC national certification examination.
2. Temple University
Temple University is a public research institution that offers a bachelor of science in therapeutic recreation. Students take courses in human anatomy and physiology, lifespan development, psychiatric illness, creative arts therapy, and health promotion. After completing the program, students can sit for the NCTRC national certification examination.
Enrolling in an NCTRC-accredited recreational therapy program can open up career opportunities. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy at a reputable institution like Clemson University or Temple University can give you the necessary training to become a competent and successful recreational therapist.
Best Schools for Recreational Therapy in the South
The Southern region of the United States has some of the best schools for recreational therapy. Students can choose from a variety of schools that offer degree programs in recreational therapy. These schools provide students with a strong foundation in the field and give them the tools they need to succeed in their careers.
Texas State University
Texas State University is located in San Marcos, Texas, and offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Administration with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. The program includes courses in therapeutic recreation assessment, program planning, and intervention strategies. Students also complete an internship in the field.
University of Alabama
The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and includes courses in therapeutic recreation management, leisure education, and clinical techniques in therapeutic recreation.
Best Schools for Recreational Therapy in the West
The Western region of the United States is home to some of the best schools for recreational therapy. These schools offer degree programs that prepare students for successful careers in the field.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University in San Diego, California, offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Administration with a concentration in Recreation Therapy. The program provides students with a strong foundation in therapeutic recreation and includes courses in areas such as assessment and evaluation, program planning, and leadership.
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation. The program includes courses in therapeutic recreation principles and techniques, recreation programming, and administration. Students also complete an internship in the field.
Best Schools for Recreational Therapy in California
If you want to specialize in recreational therapy and California is your chosen state, there is no shortage of colleges and universities that offer programs in the said field. Note that schools with accredited and approved recreational therapy programs ensure students are well-trained and equipped to take on real-life scenarios.
San Diego State University
San Diego State University offers a recreational therapy program that prepares students for careers in a clinical or community-based setting. The curriculum includes courses in assessment and documentation, human anatomy, and physiology, and therapeutic recreation interventions. The program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education.
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda University has a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy, preparing students for entry-level positions in recreational therapy, with a curriculum offered from the School of Allied Health Professions. The coursework covers principles of healthcare ethics, theories and models of human development and behavior across the lifespan, and seminar in clinical applications of recreational therapy, to name a few.
California State University – Chico
California State University – Chico offers a therapeutic recreation program to students and boasts over 250 hours of practicum experience. The curriculum includes topics such as clinical foundations for therapy practice, disability studies, and an introduction to recreation and leisure studies. The program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education.
|1||San Diego State University|
|2||Loma Linda University|
|3||California State University – Chico|
Accredited Schools Offering Recreational Therapy Programs
When pursuing a career in recreational therapy, attending an accredited institution is crucial. Accredited schools meet certain standards of quality education and training. They ensure that the curriculum meets the requirements of the profession and has undergone thorough and comprehensive review. Attending an accredited school will expose students to quality education and prepare them to deliver excellent services in the field of recreational therapy.
1. Temple University
Temple University offers a Bachelor’s degree program in Therapeutic Recreation that is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE). The program provides comprehensive training in evidence-based practices, practical experience, and quality instruction in the field of recreational therapy. The program also includes the opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience through internships and experiential learning opportunities.
2. California State University, Chico
The Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management Department at California State University, Chico, offers an accredited Bachelor of Science in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation. The program provides students with the necessary skills and knowledge to develop and deliver therapeutic recreation interventions to diverse client populations. The curriculum includes courses in topics such as therapeutic communication, behavioral health, and inclusive recreation.
Top Online Schools for Recreational Therapy Programs
Online learning has become a popular option for students who want to pursue a career in recreational therapy. Online degree programs offer a flexible schedule that allows students to balance work, family, and other commitments. They utilize technologies that allow students to interact with instructors and peers from various locations. The following are some of the top-ranked online schools for recreational therapy programs.
1. University of Iowa
The University of Iowa offers a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation online degree completion program. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE). The program is designed for students who have already completed an associate’s degree in recreational therapy or a related field. The online program allows students to complete the final two years of their studies entirely online.
2. Concordia University – Saint Paul
Concordia University – Saint Paul offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Services with a concentration in therapeutic recreation. The program provides students with the knowledge and skills to develop recreational programs to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities or illnesses. The curriculum includes courses in ethical issues, leadership, human development, and other topics related to therapeutic recreation.
Best Schools for Recreational Therapy FAQ
1. What is recreational therapy?
Recreational therapy is a type of therapy that uses leisure and recreational activities to improve the physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being of individuals with disabilities or illnesses.
2. Why is it important to attend a school for recreational therapy?
Attending a school for recreational therapy will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to become a certified recreational therapist and be able to provide therapy to individuals in need.
3. What are some of the best schools for recreational therapy?
Some of the top schools for recreational therapy include Temple University, Clemson University, Indiana University Bloomington, and California State University Northridge.
4. What kind of degree do I need to become a recreational therapist?
You will need a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy or a related field, as well as completing the necessary certification and licensing requirements.
5. Is it necessary to attend a school that specializes in recreational therapy?
While it’s not necessary to attend a school that specializes in recreational therapy, it may provide you with more specialized training and opportunities to gain experience in the field.
6. Are there online programs for recreational therapy?
Yes, there are online programs available for recreational therapy, however, it’s important to ensure that the program is accredited and meets the necessary certification requirements.
7. What should I look for when choosing a school for recreational therapy?
Some important factors to consider include the school’s accreditation, reputation, faculty expertise, available resources and facilities, and opportunities for practical experience.
8. How long does it take to complete a degree in recreational therapy?
Most bachelor’s degree programs in recreational therapy take four years to complete, while master’s degree programs may take an additional two years.
9. What kind of job opportunities are there for recreational therapists?
Recreational therapists can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, schools, and mental health facilities.
10. What is the average salary for a recreational therapist?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for recreational therapists was $47,860 in May 2020.
11. What kind of certification do I need to become a recreational therapist?
You will need to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) and obtain any necessary state licenses.
12. Can I become a recreational therapist if I already have a degree in another field?
Yes, it’s possible to become a recreational therapist with a degree in another field, however, you will still need to complete the necessary certification and licensing requirements.
13. What kind of courses will I take in a recreational therapy program?
You will take courses such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, human development, counseling, and leisure and recreation programming.
14. What kind of skills do I need to be a successful recreational therapist?
Some important skills for recreational therapists include empathy, creativity, communication, problem-solving, and organizational skills.
15. Are there any scholarships or financial aid available for recreational therapy programs?
Yes, there are scholarships and financial aid available for students pursuing degrees in recreational therapy or related fields.
16. Can recreational therapists work with children?
Yes, recreational therapists can work with individuals of all ages, including children.
17. What kind of challenges do recreational therapists face in their profession?
Some challenges recreational therapists may face include working with individuals who have challenging or complex conditions, managing large caseloads, and dealing with the emotional toll of working with individuals who may be struggling with physical or emotional pain.
18. What kind of practical experience will I gain in a recreational therapy program?
You will gain practical experience through internships and clinical rotations, where you will work with real patients and individuals in need of therapy.
19. Are there any professional organizations for recreational therapists?
Yes, there are several professional organizations for recreational therapists, such as the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association.
20. Is there a demand for recreational therapists?
Yes, there is a growing demand for recreational therapists, particularly in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and mental health facilities.
21. Can recreational therapy be used to treat mental health conditions?
Yes, recreational therapy can be used as an effective treatment for individuals with mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
22. What kind of equipment and materials will I need for recreational therapy?
You may need equipment such as art supplies, games, and sports equipment, as well as general office supplies and a computer for record-keeping and documentation.
23. What kind of continuing education opportunities are available for recreational therapists?
There are several continuing education opportunities available for recreational therapists, such as workshops, seminars, and online courses.
24. Can recreational therapists work with individuals with physical disabilities?
Yes, recreational therapists can work with individuals with a wide range of physical disabilities, such as spinal cord injuries, amputations, and cerebral palsy.
25. What kind of advancement opportunities are there for recreational therapists?
Recreational therapists can advance to supervisory or managerial positions, as well as pursue specialized certifications and areas of expertise, such as pediatric or geriatric recreational therapy.
Looking for the best schools for recreational therapy? Check out our list of top schools offering degrees in therapeutic recreation. Don’t miss the chance to explore this exciting career path and find your perfect match today with recreational therapy schools.
Thank You for Being a Kind Reader!
It was a pleasure sharing the top schools for recreational therapy with you. We hope that this article has been helpful in providing you with valuable information about the best options for pursuing a degree in this field. Remember to keep the listed criteria in mind while selecting a school and conduct additional research to ensure you find the best fit for your needs. Thanks again for reading, and we look forward to sharing more helpful information with you soon. Do visit us again!