Kind reader, if you are considering a rewarding career in recreation therapy, there are many opportunities available in this exciting field. Recreation therapy careers involve using leisure activities to help individuals deal with physical, emotional, or mental health issues and improve their overall quality of life. From working with children with autism to helping seniors recover from a stroke, recreation therapists play a crucial role in helping people of all ages and abilities to live full and fulfilling lives.
Job Outlook for Recreation Therapy Careers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of recreation workers, including recreation therapists, is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to increased demand for professionals who can help people with disabilities, injuries, and illnesses improve their physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Career Options for Recreation Therapists
Recreation therapists can work in a variety of settings, including:
- Hospitals and rehabilitation facilities
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Community centers and parks
- Schools and universities
- Non-profit organizations and government agencies
Salary Expectations for Recreation Therapists
According to the BLS, the median annual wage for recreation workers, including recreation therapists, was $25,060 as of May 2020. However, salaries can vary depending on factors such as years of experience, level of education, and location.
|No||State||Employment per 1,000 Jobs||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage|
Education & Certification Required for Recreation Therapy Careers
Recreation therapy careers require a bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy, therapeutic recreation, or recreation and leisure studies. The course curriculum teaches students theories, processes, and guidelines related to recreation therapy. Students learn how to assess clients’ needs and develop treatment plans to promote physical, emotional, and social development in individuals. The program also trains students in therapeutic interventions, including art, dance, and music.
Bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy
A bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy is mandatory for most recreational therapy careers. Students study content such as integrative recreational therapy methods, lifespan development, special populations, and ethical practice. Additionally, students will have the chance to experience clinical practice via internships or practicums that will help them gain practical experience.
After becoming a graduate, a recreation therapist may then get certified by regional boards like the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) and receive a “Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist” credential. Becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) requires finishing an internship program and passing a certification exam relating to foundational and behavioral sciences. Certification ensures that any therapeutic recreation intervention you provide follows the NCTRC’s ethical standards and guidelines.
|1||Bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy or a related field||CTRS certification by NCTRC|
Some related academic backgrounds for this field include sports science, nutrition, kinesiology, and exercise science. However, those without a bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy or a related program must undergo additional therapeutic recreation coursework to qualify to sit for the certification exam given by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
|1||Job Title: Recreation Therapist|
|2||Education Required: Bachelor’s degree in Recreation Therapy or related field|
|3||Certification: Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS)|
|4||Job Description: Develop and implement recreational activities to improve physical, emotional, and mental well-being of patients|
|5||Work Settings: Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and community centers|
|6||Average Salary: $47,680 per year|
|7||Job Outlook: Employment of recreation therapists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations|
Career Opportunities in Recreation Therapy
Recreation therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation or TR, has become an increasingly popular field of study for students who want to help people with disabilities, illnesses, or injuries recover through leisure activities and other fun pastimes. This holistic approach to patient care utilizes a variety of therapeutic techniques and activities to improve patients’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning.
Career Paths for Recreation Therapists
Graduates of recreation therapy programs may choose to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, mental health clinics, community centers, and private practices. Below are some of the most common career paths for recreation therapists:
|1||Rehabilitation therapist for people with physical injuries or disabilities|
|2||Recreation leader for senior living communities, schools, camps, and other group settings|
|3||Park ranger or outdoor recreation specialist|
|4||Special education teacher with a focus on recreation therapy and adaptive physical education|
|5||Therapeutic recreation director or program manager|
Average Salaries for Recreation Therapy Professionals
As with any career choice, one of the most important factors to consider is salary. For those who are considering a career in recreation therapy, here are some average salaries for different job titles:
- Median annual salary: $49,080 (According to the BLS, as of May 2020)
- Top 10% annual salary: $74,730
- Bottom 10% annual salary: $30,960
Therapeutic Recreation Directors/Program Managers
- Median annual salary: $57,420 (According to the BLS, as of May 2020)
- Top 10% annual salary: $93,590
- Bottom 10% annual salary: $32,160
Salary Expectations for Recreation Therapy Careers
One of the crucial parts of a career is how much it pays, and recreation therapy is no exception. Recreational therapists, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, had an average salary of $50,130 as of May 2020. However, wages for employment vary based on several factors, such as location, years of experience, and employer size, among others.
Factors That Affect Recreational Therapy Salaries
The following are the factors that will influence how much a recreational therapist earns:
- The legislation of the state on practice licensure in recreational therapy
- The recreational therapist experience
- The recreational therapist education level
- The geographic location of the employer
- The type of employer
Typical Salaries Across Industries
Although it is acknowledged that the healthcare industry has a higher median salary, the recreational therapy industry is also a rewarding occupation that pays well enough for the level of education (a bachelor’s degree) required. According to Salary.com, the median salary for a recreational therapist in the United States in 2021 is $54,900.
Types of Recreation Therapy Careers
Recreation therapy is a discipline that uses leisure and recreational activities as intervention to improve the overall well-being of individuals with disabilities, illnesses, or injuries. Here are some of the careers in the field of recreation therapy:
1. Recreation Therapist
A recreation therapist is responsible for developing and implementing treatment plans for individuals with physical, emotional, cognitive or social limitations. They assess clientsâ€™ needs, establish goals, and design interventions using recreational activities to help improve physical and emotional well-being.
2. Activity Director
An activity director is responsible for planning, organizing, and coordinating activities for individuals in residential facilities, such as nursing homes, group homes, and assisted living facilities. They design programs that match the physical, mental, emotional, and social needs of the residents.
3. Recreation Program Director
The recreation program director is responsible for developing and managing recreation programs that meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, illnesses, or injuries. They develop and implement the policies, procedures, and standards for the program, and direct a team of recreation therapists and other staff members.
4. Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
A therapeutic recreation specialist is responsible for assessing the needs of individuals with disabilities, illnesses, or injuries to develop and implement therapeutic recreation programs that help to improve their physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. They work with individuals one-on-one or in group settings.
5. Expressive Therapist
An expressive therapist is responsible for providing therapeutic services to individuals with mental illnesses, emotional disturbances, or developmental disabilities. They use art, music, dance, or drama to help individuals improve their communication, self-expression, and emotional regulation.
6. Outdoor Recreation Therapist
An outdoor recreation therapist is responsible for using the outdoors as a therapeutic tool to help individuals improve their physical and emotional well-being. They design activities, such as hiking, camping, rock-climbing, and kayaking that challenge individuals to step outside their comfort zone, promote physical activity, and encourage socialization and teamwork.
7. Aquatic Therapist
An aquatic therapist is responsible for designing and delivering therapy sessions in a pool or aquatic environment. They use water to provide a low-impact, highly supportive environment that helps individuals with various injuries or disabilities improve their strength, range of motion, flexibility, and overall well-being.
Recreation Therapy Careers: Job Outlook and Salary
The field of recreation therapy is rapidly growing, and the job outlook for recreation therapists is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of recreation therapists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due in part to the aging baby boomer population, which is expected to increase the demand for recreation therapists in nursing homes, adult day care programs, and other healthcare settings. In addition, recreation therapists are becoming increasingly recognized as essential members of healthcare teams, leading to more job opportunities in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and mental health facilities.
The median annual salary for recreation therapists was $50,830 as of May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, education, geographic location, and work setting. For example, recreation therapists working in nursing care facilities tend to earn higher salaries than those working in outpatient centers.
Certification and Licensure
While certification and licensure are not universally required for recreation therapy careers, many employers prefer to hire therapists who are certified or licensed. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential to eligible candidates who pass an exam. While certification is voluntary, many states require recreation therapists to be licensed to practice. Before pursuing a career in recreation therapy, it is important to research the licensure requirements in your state.
Salary and Job Outlook for Recreation Therapy Careers
When considering a career as a recreational therapist, salary is an important factor to consider. Like most healthcare professionals, the salary range can vary depending on a few key factors. These factors are:
The geographic location is one of the most vital factors to consider when looking at salaries. Urban areas often pay more than rural areas. Therefore, the cost of living in a particular area can also affect how much the employer can pay. In the US, the top paying states for recreational therapists are California, Nevada, New Jersey, Maryland, and Illinois.
Experience and Education
Experience and education are two factors that directly affect the potential earning potential of a recreational therapist. Those who have years of experience and more advanced degrees are often paid more than those who have just entered the field. Recreational therapists who possess additional certifications, such as Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, typically earn a higher salary compared to those who don’t hold this accreditation.
|No||Salary Range||Job Outlook|
|1||The median annual income for recreational therapists in the United States is $48,220, with the top 10 percent earning more than $80,000 per year.||In the US, the job outlook for recreational therapists is expected to grow significantly over the next decade by over 7%, much faster than the average job growth rate.|
Job Outlook for Recreation Therapy Careers
The job outlook for recreational therapists is expected to grow significantly over the next decade by over 7%. This rate of growth is much faster than the average job growth rate. This growth is due in part to the aging baby boomer generation, which will increase demand for healthcare and related services. The demand for recreational therapists is also rising among other populations, including those with disabilities or mental illness – as the increased recognition of the role of leisure in improving physical and mental health. The job outlook for recreational therapists is promising, with ample opportunity for long-term career fulfillment with advancement opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions – Recreation Therapy Careers
1. What is a career in recreation therapy?
A career in recreation therapy involves working with individuals to enhance and improve their physical, emotional, and social well-being through engagement in recreational activities.
2. What qualifications do I need to become a recreation therapist?
Most employers require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in recreation therapy or a related field, as well as certification from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
3. Is it a growing field?
Yes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth rate in the employment of recreation workers, including recreation therapists, between 2019-2029.
4. What kind of skills do I need for this career?
You should have good communication and interpersonal skills, creativity, patience, and the ability to lead and organize group activities.
5. What kind of work settings do recreation therapists typically work in?
Recreation therapists may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, schools, or community centers.
6. What kind of population do recreation therapists typically work with?
Recreation therapists work with individuals of all ages and abilities, including children, adults, and seniors with physical, cognitive, or emotional disabilities.
7. What kind of activities do recreation therapists typically facilitate?
Recreation therapists may facilitate a variety of activities, such as sports, arts and crafts, music, dance, or outdoor recreation.
8. What are some benefits of a career in recreation therapy?
Some benefits include the opportunity to improve the lives of others, a diverse and rewarding work environment, and the potential for career advancement and growth.
9. What are some challenges that come with a career in recreation therapy?
Some challenges include working with difficult or uncooperative clients, managing challenging behaviors, and working in a fast-paced and often stressful environment.
10. Is a career in recreation therapy financially rewarding?
While the salary for recreation therapists varies depending on location and employer, it is generally considered a mid-level career in terms of pay.
11. What kind of job outlook can I expect in the field of recreation therapy?
As mentioned earlier, the job outlook for recreation therapists is projected to grow by 7% between 2019-2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
12. What kind of continuing education is available for recreation therapists?
Recreation therapists may pursue additional certification or training in specialized areas, such as aquatic therapy or dementia care.
13. How do I become certified for a career in recreation therapy?
To become certified, you must complete a degree program, a certain number of hours of supervised internship, and pass the NCTRC certification exam.
14. What kind of internships are available for recreation therapy students?
Internships may be available in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, or community organizations.
15. What kind of organizations offer resources for recreation therapists?
The National Recreation and Park Association, the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, and the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification are all organizations that offer resources and support for recreation therapists.
16. What kind of equipment is typically used in recreation therapy sessions?
Equipment may include sports equipment, art supplies, musical instruments, or outdoor gear.
17. Do recreation therapists work alone, or as part of a team?
Recreation therapists often work as part of a team, along with nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals.
18. Are there opportunities for recreation therapy jobs overseas?
Yes, there are opportunities for recreation therapy jobs in other countries, particularly in areas such as international aid and development.
19. What kind of work schedules do recreation therapists typically have?
Work schedules may vary depending on the facility and population being served, but could include evenings, weekends, and holidays.
20. Is it possible to work as a part-time recreation therapist?
Yes, part-time positions may be available in some settings.
21. What kind of advancement opportunities are available in this career?
Advancement opportunities may include supervisory positions, management roles, or specialized areas of practice.
22. What kind of personal qualities are important for success in this career?
Personal qualities such as empathy, patience, creativity, and a genuine interest in helping others are important for success in this career.
23. How can I enhance my chances of success as a recreation therapist?
Besides earning a degree and certification, gaining experience through volunteering, internships, or part-time work can enhance your chances of success in this career.
24. What kind of job search resources are available for recreation therapists?
Job search resources include online job boards, professional association websites, and networking with other professionals in the field.
25. How can I find out if a career in recreation therapy is right for me?
Talking to professionals in the field, volunteering or job shadowing in a recreation therapy setting, and doing research about the field can help you determine if a career in recreation therapy is right for you.
If you’re interested in a career in recreation therapy, there are plenty of educational options available, including degree programs that offer hands-on training and the chance to network with professionals in the field.
Thank You, Kind Reader!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about recreation therapy careers as much as I have enjoyed writing about it. Being able to make a difference in peoples’ lives while doing something you’re passionate about is truly rewarding. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in recreation therapy, don’t hesitate to do your research and find the right path for you. Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope to see you again soon!