Kind Reader, if you have an interest in helping people with disabilities or illnesses improve their quality of life, then obtaining a degree in therapeutic recreation may be the perfect path for you. A degree in therapeutic recreation prepares individuals to use recreational activities as a tool for promoting health and wellness.
What is a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation?
A degree in therapeutic recreation is an academic degree program that prepares students for a career in the healthcare industry. The degree is designed to teach students how to use leisure activities and recreation to help individuals overcome physical, emotional, and mental challenges. Graduates can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, senior living facilities, or other healthcare settings. Most degree programs require students to complete internships or clinical experiences to gain hands-on experience in therapeutic recreation.
Career Opportunities with a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
Graduates of a degree program in therapeutic recreation can choose from a variety of career opportunities in the healthcare industry. Some common job titles include recreational therapist, activity director, program coordinator, and leisure specialist. Graduates can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities, community centers, and schools.
Skills Acquired in a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation Program
A degree in therapeutic recreation program equips students with the skills they need to help patients overcome physical, emotional, and mental challenges. Graduates learn how to assess patient needs, develop treatment plans, and implement therapeutic interventions. They also learn how to design recreational activities that are safe and effective for patients of all ages and abilities. Students in a therapeutic recreation program also develop skills in communication, leadership, and critical thinking. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families, work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, and adapt their treatment plans as patients’ needs change.
What Can You Do with a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation?
Graduating with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation opens up many opportunities in the healthcare industry. Here are different types of in-demand healthcare jobs that can be taken:
1. Recreational Therapist
Recreational Therapists are specialists in leisure activities that help individuals with disabilities, injuries, or diseases lead a fulfilling life. They engage patients in activities such as sports, arts, crafts, yoga, and other hobbies that may be beneficial to their mental and physical health. These specialists integrate their knowledge of different therapies like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy to develop programs that target patients’ specific needs.
2. Activity Director
An Activity Director in long-term care facilities is responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing programs and activities for residents. They work closely with health professionals, staff, and families to develop schedules that cater to the interests and abilities of the residents. These events may range from wellness classes, music therapy, memory games, holiday parties, and other social events.
3. Program Coordinator
Program Coordinators in Therapeutic Recreation are responsible for supervising the implementation of programs in a hospital, mental health facility, nursing home, or rehabilitation center. They work with recreational therapists to determine appropriate programs, improve care services, and maintain specific standards. Program coordinators also provide training and supervision of volunteers and work with community partners and sponsors to organize special events and fundraising activities.
4. Adaptive Sports Specialist
Adaptive Sports Specialists are certified recreation therapists that provide training, instruction, and support for people with disabilities to participate in sports activities. These specialists work with individuals, teams, schools, and other organizations in developing sports programs and building equipment for individuals with disabilities. They also educate coaches, volunteers, and athletes about the strategies and rules that may benefit all participants.
5. Community Outreach Coordinator/Hospitality Manager
Community Outreach Coordinators or Hospitality Managers are responsible for creating programs and events to promote public awareness of healthcare services in their community. They plan, analyze, and evaluate different marketing strategies to support various services, special events, or fundraising programs in healthcare facilities. The role of these professionals involves developing a positive relationship with the community by providing excellent customer service, managing volunteers for events, and supervising daily activities in facilities with recreation.
6. Assisted Living Activities Director
Assisted Living Activities Directors are specialized health professionals in assisted living environments. They create and execute resident programs that promote mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Activities may include music and art therapy, gardening, spiritual activities, and community events such as holiday parties and field trips. The director coordinates with other healthcare professionals to assess the residents’ needs and plan activities that are best suited for each resident.
7. Transition Specialist
Transition Specialists in Therapeutic Recreation work with individuals or groups of individuals to facilitate life skills, vocational planning, and socialization processes in a specific environment. These specialists work with people of all ages, from children to seniors, and help them improve their daily lives in different scenarios such as schools, hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities. They work on periods of transition, such as job placement, changing jobs, or transfer to new environments to make the process smoother for their clients.
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Online Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
With advancements in technology and the ever-growing demand for distance education, online degree programs have become popular over the years. Many universities offer online courses and degree programs in various fields, including therapeutic recreation. Online degree programs provide students with the flexibility to study and complete assignments at their own pace and convenience while still getting access to world-class education.
Benefits of Pursuing an Online Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
There are several benefits of pursuing an online degree in therapeutic recreation, including:
|1||Flexibility and Convenience: Students can complete their coursework at their own pace, which is particularly beneficial for those with work or family obligations.|
|2||Lower Costs: Online degree programs tend to be more affordable than traditional on-campus programs as there are no expenses for accommodation, commuting, or meals.|
|3||Access to Top-Tier Programs: Online degree programs allow students to enroll in universities and programs that they might not have been able to attend in person due to factors like distance while still receiving quality education from top institutes.|
|4||Increased Comfort Level: Some students may prefer the online learning environment as they have more control over their educational experience and can learn more effectively.|
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Degree Program
When selecting an online degree program in therapeutic recreation, there are a few essential factors to keep in mind:
Check if the university offering the program is accredited, which ensures that the degree you earn is recognized by employers. Picking a non-accredited online degree program can lead to limitations while applying for jobs.
Research the qualifications and experience of faculty who will be teaching in the program is also crucial. Ensure they have the expertise and experience in the field, including hands-on experience in real-world practice.
Determining the curriculum’s suitability is also an important consideration. Make sure it covers all essential areas and topics and has updated the content with the latest trends and advancements in the field.
Careers with a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic recreation specialists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools, and community centers. They help patients with disabilities or illnesses take part in activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional wellness.
Possible job positions
Jobs for graduates of a degree in therapeutic recreation include Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Recreational Therapist, Activity Director, Recreation Supervisor, and more.
The median annual wage for recreational therapists in May 2020 was $50,610, according to the BLS. In general, the salary potential for a therapeutic recreation graduate typically varies by the type of facility, the location of the job, and the level of academic degrees that have been earned.
Today, the field of therapeutic recreation is booming with opportunities.
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Top Universities for a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
Choosing the right university to pursue a degree in therapeutic recreation can be overwhelming. It is best to consider factors such as the program curriculum, cost, location, and accreditation. Here are some universities that offer excellent degree programs in therapeutic recreation:
1. Clemson University
Clemson University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and prepares students for careers in a variety of settings such as rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, and community programs.
2. Temple University
Temple University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation with an emphasis on clinical practice. The program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions and provides students with hands-on clinical experience and an understanding of human anatomy, physiology, and disabilities.
3. University of Toledo
The University of Toledo offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Therapy. The program is certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification and provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. The program emphasizes clinical experiences in various healthcare settings.
4. California State University, Sacramento
California State University, Sacramento offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Administration, with a concentration in Therapeutic Recreation. The program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions and provides students with the skills and knowledge needed to work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings.
5. Indiana University
Indiana University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Therapy, which is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism, and Related Professions. The program prepares students to work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, mental health facilities, and rehabilitation centers. The program emphasizes the importance of evidence-based practice and experiential learning.
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Career Paths with a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
When you earn a degree in therapeutic recreation, you gain not only a certification, but also the experience and skills required to pursue professional careers in the field of medicine and social services.
A recreational therapist, or therapeutic recreation specialist, designs and implements treatment plans for patients with disabilities or illnesses. These specialists ensure the physical, mental, and emotional welfare of their patients and manage group activities. In the United States, the average annual salary for recreational therapists is approximately $50,000.
An activities director in a nursing home or residential care facility plans, organizes, and supervises a variety of activities to keep residents engaged and entertained. These activities can include games, crafts, music, and exercises. An average salary for activities directors is around $42,000 per year in the United States.
Special Education Teacher
A degree in therapeutic recreation also qualifies you to become a special education teacher, with a focus on students with disabilities who require specific accommodations. Special education teachers help students develop important life skills and achieve academic goals. The average annual salary of a special education teacher is around $60,000.
Social and Community Service Manager
With sufficient experience and educational background, you can progress in your career path as a social and community service manager. In this role, you will manage and coordinate social service programs and community organizations. The average salary for social and community service managers is about $67,000 per year in the United States.
Other Career Paths
Further paths that one can progress to include child life specialist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and speech-language pathologist which are all related to professions that require knowledge in understanding how people interact with and respond to stimulation. Additionally, recreation managers who oversee parks, community centers, and recreation facilities also require knowledge in therapeutic recreation to coordinate programs.
|1||Effective communication, organization, and leadership skills|
|2||An attention to detail and the ability to tailor programs and activities to specific individuals and groups|
|3||Flexibility, creativity, and adaptability in designing and implementing programs and activities for patients and clients.|
Note: while salaries vary depending on the location, specific employer, and level of experience, these figures provide a general salary range for each profession.
Job Outlook for Graduates with a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation
Graduates with a degree in therapeutic recreation have a range of employment opportunities available to them. Some of these opportunities are in residential institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities, while others are in community settings such as schools, community centers, and rehabilitation centers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Therapeutic recreation specialists are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing programs that help individuals with illnesses or disabilities improve their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning. They assess the abilities and needs of individuals, develop intervention plans, and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. They provide interventions that use activities and recreation to improve individuals’ overall well-being. Therapeutic recreation specialists work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and community settings.
Rehabilitation counselors are professionals who work with individuals who have disabilities or illnesses to live more independently. They provide counseling and guidance to help individuals cope with their disabilities or illnesses and to develop the skills necessary to live independently. They also work with individuals to help them find employment and to make vocational and career decisions. Rehabilitation counselors may work in schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and other community settings.
Degree in Therapeutic Recreation: Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a degree in therapeutic recreation?
A degree in therapeutic recreation is an undergraduate or graduate program that focuses on using recreation and leisure activities to improve the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning of individuals with disabilities or illnesses.
2. What kind of jobs can I get with a degree in therapeutic recreation?
Graduates with a degree in therapeutic recreation can work in a variety of settings, including healthcare facilities, rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics, long-term care facilities, and community recreation programs. Job titles may include recreational therapist, activity director, program coordinator, and community recreation specialist.
3. How long does it take to get a degree in therapeutic recreation?
The length of time it takes to complete a degree in therapeutic recreation depends on the program and level of degree. Bachelor’s degree programs typically take four years to complete, while master’s degree programs can take one to two years.
4. Do I need to be licensed to work as a recreational therapist?
Many states require a license or certification to practice as a recreational therapist. Requirements vary by state, but typically include completion of a degree in therapeutic recreation, supervised clinical experience, and passing a national exam.
5. What kind of courses are included in a degree in therapeutic recreation?
Coursework typically includes human anatomy and physiology, therapeutic communication and counseling, psychology, disability studies, programming and evaluation, and leisure and recreation theory.
6. Can I pursue a degree in therapeutic recreation online?
Yes, many colleges and universities offer online degree programs for therapeutic recreation. However, it’s important to ensure that the program is accredited and meets licensing requirements in your state.
7. What kind of skills do I need for a degree in therapeutic recreation?
Skills needed for a degree in therapeutic recreation include excellent communication and interpersonal skills, creativity, empathy, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work well in a team.
8. Is there a demand for recreational therapists?
Yes, the demand for recreational therapists is expected to grow as the population ages and there is an increased need for long-term care facilities and rehabilitation services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a job growth of 7% for recreational therapists from 2019-2029.
9. Can I work in pediatric therapy with a degree in therapeutic recreation?
Yes, a degree in therapeutic recreation can prepare you for a career in pediatric therapy by providing you with the necessary skills to work with children with disabilities or illnesses.
10. What kind of salary can I expect with a degree in therapeutic recreation?
The median annual salary for recreational therapists was $48,220 in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries can vary depending on experience, education level, and location.
11. Can I work internationally with a degree in therapeutic recreation?
Yes, a degree in therapeutic recreation can be valuable for working internationally, particularly in settings such as refugee camps, international aid organizations, or global health programs.
12. Can I specialize in a certain area of therapeutic recreation?
Yes, some degree programs offer concentrations or specializations in areas such as physical rehabilitation, mental health, geriatrics, and pediatrics.
13. What kind of practicum or internship experience is required for a degree in therapeutic recreation?
Many degree programs require students to complete supervised clinical experience through a practicum or internship. This allows students to gain practical experience working with clients in real-world settings.
14. Is there a professional organization for recreational therapists?
Yes, the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification is a professional organization that provides certification, continuing education, and networking opportunities for recreational therapists.
15. Can I pursue a graduate degree in something other than therapeutic recreation with a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation?
Yes, a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation can be a valuable foundation for pursuing a graduate degree in related fields such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or social work.
16. Can I work as a recreational therapist with a bachelor’s degree, or do I need a master’s degree?
While a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation can qualify you for some entry-level positions, many employers require a master’s degree for more advanced positions and for licensure/certification eligibility.
17. What kind of clients can I expect to work with as a recreational therapist?
Recreational therapists can work with a wide range of clients, including children with autism, adults with spinal cord injuries, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or seniors with dementia.
18. Is a degree in therapeutic recreation a good fit for someone who loves sports and recreation?
Yes, a degree in therapeutic recreation can be a great fit for someone who loves sports and recreation, as it allows you to use leisure activities to improve clients’ physical and mental well-being.
19. Can I work part-time as a recreational therapist?
Yes, part-time and per-diem positions are available for recreational therapists in many settings.
20. Can I volunteer or work as a recreational therapist before completing a degree program?
Many healthcare facilities and community programs offer volunteer or entry-level positions that allow you to gain experience in the field before completing a degree program.
21. Is a degree in therapeutic recreation a good fit for someone who wants to work in a non-clinical setting?
Yes, a degree in therapeutic recreation can be a good fit for someone who wants to work in a non-clinical setting, such as a community recreation program or outdoor adventure program.
22. Can I work as a recreational therapist without a degree in therapeutic recreation?
Some employers may accept a degree in a related field, such as exercise science or psychology, along with additional training or certification. However, a degree in therapeutic recreation is the most common and recognized qualification for this field.
23. How can I learn more about pursuing a degree in therapeutic recreation?
You can learn more about pursuing a degree in therapeutic recreation by researching accredited programs, speaking with academic advisors, and reaching out to professional organizations such as the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.
24. Is a degree in therapeutic recreation a good fit for someone who wants to make a difference in people’s lives?
Yes, a degree in therapeutic recreation can be a great fit for someone who wants to make a positive impact in people’s lives and help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve their quality of life and sense of well-being.
25. What kind of career advancement opportunities are available to recreational therapists?
Career advancement opportunities for recreational therapists may include becoming a supervisor or program director, pursuing a specialization or certification in a specific area of therapeutic recreation, or transitioning into a related field such as healthcare administration or public health.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in recreational therapy, consider earning a degree in therapeutic recreation. This type of degree program teaches students how to implement activities and programs that help individuals with disabilities or illnesses to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Thank You for Joining Us, Kind Reader!
We hope you found this article informative and helpful in your pursuit of a degree in therapeutic recreation. Remember, this field is both challenging and rewarding, and the skills you will learn can lead to a fulfilling career helping others every day. We encourage you to keep exploring your options and learning all you can about this exciting and important field. So, once again, thank you for reading, and we look forward to welcoming you back here soon.