Unlocking the Exciting World of Recreational Therapist Job

Kind reader, if you’re interested in a career that involves helping people find joy and happiness in life through leisure activities and play, then you may want to consider becoming a recreational therapist. A recreational therapist job involves creating and implementing various programs and activities tailored to the specific needs and interests of individuals who are facing physical and emotional challenges. Whether it’s working with elderly patients in a nursing home setting, or helping children with disabilities in a school setting, a recreational therapist job can be both rewarding and fulfilling.

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Job Description

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A recreational therapist uses activities and exercises to help people who are ill, disabled or suffering from mental health problems. They work with patients to develop treatment plans based on their needs and interests, and help them to improve their physical and cognitive functioning, as well as their ability to manage stress and emotional problems.


Recreational therapists are responsible for the following:

No Responsibilities
1 Assessing patients’ physical and emotional needs, interests, and abilities
2 Developing treatment plans and choosing appropriate activities to meet patient needs
3 Monitoring and documenting patients’ progress towards goals
4 Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to ensure quality patient care
5 Modifying treatment plans as necessary to meet changing patient needs
6 Evaluating the effectiveness of treatment plans and making adjustments as needed
7 Providing education and support to patients and their families


To become a recreational therapist, you will typically need:

No Qualifications
1 A bachelor’s or master’s degree in recreational therapy or a related field
2 Certification from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)
3 Licensure, depending on your state’s requirements

Career Outlook

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The career outlook for recreational therapists is positive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.


The median annual wage for recreational therapists was $50,610 in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,950, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,920.

Recreational Therapist Job Description

recreational-therapist-job,Recreational Therapist Job,thqRecreationalTherapistJob

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a recreational therapist’s primary task is to assist patients in improving or maintaining their functional capacity, improving their emotional well-being and overall health as well. They utilize leisure and recreational pursuits and meaningful activities to achieve their patient’s therapeutic objectives. RTs should first evaluate their patients’ requirements and interests and then choose interventions or activities that will help enhance their physical and mental outlook.

Responsibilities of Recreational Therapist Job

A recreational therapist’s responsibilities include creating and implementing therapy plans in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, mental health facilities, rehabilitation facilities, and nursing homes. They should be able to come up with creative ideas and execute them by using tools and techniques to assist patients in achieving their potentials. The following are some of the responsibilities of a recreational therapist:

No Responsibilities
1 To create and execute therapy programs.
2 Recorded and analyzed patient progress and made changes to therapy activities as required.
3 Consulted with healthcare personnel, such as doctors, nurses, and therapists.
4 Enclosed community, cultural, and social events into therapy programs.
5 Used various interventions and exercises to improve patients’ physical, social, and mental abilities.
6 To develop and execute individualized therapy plans that are customized to the patient’s unique situation.
7 To train and guide staff and volunteers.
8 To maintain updated patient records and reports.

Types of Recreational Therapist Job

A recreational therapist can work in a variety of locations, such as hospitals, psychiatric and substance abuse facilities, and elderly care facilities. Different types of RTs do various job-related activities. A brief summary of the various kinds of recreational therapist positions is given below:

Geriatric Recreational Therapist

Geriatric RTs work primarily with the elderly and focus on maintaining and enhancing their physical, mental, and emotional health. They adapt and create activities that meet each patient’s unique requirements, including illnesses like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, that are linked to aging.

Psychiatric Recreational Therapist

Psychiatric RTs work with patients who have mental health issues and assist in managing their symptoms through leisure and recreation therapies. They could work with people suffering from conditions such as depression anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. They aim to improve the patients’ emotional and social well-being and boost their cognitive abilities by offering activities that aid memory, problem-solving, communication, and positive behavior.

No Information
1 Job Title
2 Job Description
3 Salary Range
4 Education and Training Requirements
5 Work Environment
6 Employment Outlook

Job Outlook for Recreational Therapists

recreational-therapist-job,Job Outlook for Recreational Therapists,thqjoboutlookforrecreationaltherapists

Recreational therapists have a positive job outlook and are expected to experience growth in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The aging baby boomer population is expected to increase demand for recreational therapists, as they will need therapy to help manage age-related conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the use of recreational therapy as a treatment for mental health issues is becoming more widely recognized, which may also contribute to the growth of the profession.

Salary Expectations

The median annual wage for recreational therapists in the United States was $50,520 in May 2019, according to the BLS. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,230. Recreational therapists who work in nursing care facilities or home healthcare services tend to earn higher wages than those who work in hospitals or state or local government agencies. Job location and level of experience also play a role in determining salary.

Employment Settings

Recreational therapists can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing care facilities, schools, and government agencies. Some recreational therapists also work in private practice or as consultants. According to the BLS, the largest employers of recreational therapists in the United States are nursing care facilities, followed by state and local government agencies and general medical and surgical hospitals. The type of employment setting can also affect job duties and responsibilities.

Work Environment of Recreational Therapist

recreational-therapist-job,Work Environment of Recreational Therapist,thqWorkEnvironmentofRecreationalTherapist

A recreational therapist is responsible for performing physical therapies that aim at improving the physical and mental health of a person. If you are interested in exploring various work environments for recreational therapy, then this section is for you.

Medical Centers

Recreational therapists are vital in medical centers. They work in a clinical setting to help patients overcome health challenges such as strokes, heart diseases, paralysis, and different kinds of disabilities. They design and implement programs that enable patients to recover quickly and return to normal life. The medical centers can be in the form of hospitals, long-term care facilities, and rehabilitation centers.

Community Centers

Community centers are other excellent work environments for recreational therapists. The centers’ environment is more relaxed and informal, and recreational therapists work directly with people from the community. They design and run programs that enable individuals to cope with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other forms of stress. Recreational therapists in community centers use art and music therapy alongside other techniques to help people interact socially and improve self-esteem.

Schools and Camps

Recreational therapists work in schools and camps where they offer services that help students to become more active, engaged and restore their emotional equilibrium. They provide services such as extracurricular activities, adaptive physical education, individual interventions, and before or after-school care.

Private Practice

Some recreational therapists opt to work as entrepreneurs by opening a private practice clinic. In this work environment, recreational therapists provide personalized therapies that target specific patient problems. They work independently and flexible because they make their schedules and decide the therapy’s intensity and frequency.

Outdoor Environment

Recreational therapists may also work in an outdoor environment, such as in parks, wilderness areas, resorts, and at beaches. They work closely to enable clients to reconnect with nature and participate in physical and mental wellbeing activities. Some of the activities that these therapists provide include adventure sports, nature walks, canoeing, and bird watching.


Recreational therapists can also offer home-based services. This work environment may suit patients that have mobility issues, making it hard to travel to medical centers. Recreational therapists design and offer personalized rehab programs in patients’ homes. They work flexibly, allowing the patients to receive the therapy services in their homes’ comfort and support.

Virtual Environment

Recreational therapists can use technology to improvise a virtual environment for therapy sessions. The virtual environment is ideal for people who are not comfortable with face to face sessions and accommodate remote areas or those with mobility problems. The virtual environment has a lot of potentials because added features can be customized to enhance the therapy sessions.

Work Environment

recreational-therapist-job,Work Environment,thqRecreationalTherapistEnvironment

Recreational therapist may work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, community centers, correctional facilities, and schools. As a recreational therapist, they need to be flexible and able to adapt to various work environments. Their responsibilities may vary according to their workplace, but the basic fundamentals of the job remain the same.


Recreational therapists working in hospitals involve creating positive experiences for patients. Patients have limited mobility during their hospital stay, which can lead to a state of depression. Recreational therapists, through the use of play, art, music, or other recreation activities, can provide patients with new hobbies or interests to keep them engaged and motivated.

Nursing Homes

As a recreational therapist in nursing homes, their goal is to provide opportunities for residents to stay engaged, maintain skills, and develop new interests. This can include individual or group recreational activities such as games, exercise, crafting, or music. A recreational therapist must take into consideration residents’ cognitive and physical limitations when planning activities so that they can perform and enjoy their activities.

Rehabilitation Centers

Recreational therapists in rehabilitation centers oversee patients’ physical and mental recovery. Their purpose is to help individuals regain their functionality and independence through exercise, socialization, and other recreational therapy activities. Patients with a history of drug and alcohol addiction may also benefit from a recreational therapist in rehabilitation centers.

Work Environment of Recreational Therapists

recreational-therapist-job,Work Environment of Recreational Therapists,thqWorkEnvironmentofRecreationalTherapists

Recreational therapists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and community-based organizations like parks and recreation departments. They mainly work indoors, but some outdoor activities may be a part of their sessions. Their work schedule varies depending on the specific job and work setting, but many recreational therapists work full-time and some may work weekends and holidays.


Recreational therapists in hospitals mainly work with patients who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. They may use art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, and other types of exercises to help patients recover from their health conditions. They may work with patients individually or in group settings.

Nursing Homes

Recreational therapists in nursing homes may work with elderly residents who have dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other chronic health conditions. They develop therapy plans to help residents improve their cognitive abilities, maintain physical mobility, and socialize with other residents.

Rehabilitation Centers

Recreational therapists in rehabilitation centers provide therapy to patients who are recovering from strokes, injuries, or surgeries. They work with physical therapists and occupational therapists to create treatment plans for patients to help them recover from their injuries or surgeries.

Parks and Recreation Departments

Recreational therapists in parks and recreation departments develop, coordinate, and implement community recreation programs. They work with community members to identify their needs and plan recreational activities that accommodate those needs. Their goal is to promote health and wellness through recreation.

Private Practice

Some recreational therapists work in private practice. These therapists provide services to individuals, families, and communities. They may also work with specific populations, such as children, veterans, and people with disabilities.

Schools and Universities

Recreational therapists may also work in schools and universities to provide therapy services to children and young adults. They may work with students with disabilities or mental health conditions to help them improve their academic performance and social skills.

Correctional Facilities

Recreational therapists in correctional facilities work with inmates to develop skills and behaviors that will help them reintegrate back into society. They provide therapy sessions that focus on improving social and coping skills, physical health, and emotional well-being.

No Work Environment of Recreational Therapists
1 Hospitals
2 Nursing homes
3 Rehabilitation centers
4 Parks and recreation departments
5 Private practice
6 Schools and universities
7 Correctional facilities

Recreational Therapist Job: Duties and Responsibilities

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Recreational Therapists (RTs), also known as therapeutic recreation specialists, are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating recreational activities for individuals with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. The following are some of the primary duties and responsibilities of an RT:

Develop treatment plans

Upon conducting an assessment of a client’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs, an RT develops a treatment plan that includes goals and objectives and outlines a program of recreational activities that will help the client meet those goals.

Lead recreational activities

RTs plan and organize a variety of recreational activities such as arts and crafts, music therapy, sports and games, dance, and drama. They determine appropriate activities for their clients based on their abilities and interests and lead clients through each activity.

Evaluate clients’ progress

RTs also evaluate clients’ progress regularly and reassess their treatment plans as needed. They record client progress and share their findings with other therapists and healthcare professionals involved in a client’s treatment plan.

Collaborate with healthcare professionals

RTs work as part of a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and collaborate with them to ensure the most effective treatment plan for each client’s needs. They may also communicate with clients’ families or caregivers to ensure they understand the treatment plan and the clients’ progress.

The Importance of Recreational Therapeutics in Mental Health

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Recreational therapy has been proven to be a valuable treatment for people suffering from mental health disorders. Here are some reasons why recreational therapy is essential for mental health:

Increases motivation and confidence

Engaging in recreational activities can improve an individual’s self-esteem and confidence, which can motivate them to set and achieve goals in other areas of their life.

Fosters socialization

Recreational therapy often involves interacting with others, which encourages socialization and can help individuals develop and maintain social skills.

Provides a sense of accomplishment

Through recreational therapy, individuals can develop new skills, such as painting or playing a musical instrument, which can provide a sense of accomplishment and help build confidence.

Improves overall well-being

Participating in recreational activities, such as physical exercise, has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health by lowering stress and anxiety levels and promoting relaxation.

Reduces symptoms

Engaging in recreational therapy can help reduce the symptoms of mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, making it a valuable addition to a holistic treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions about Recreational Therapist Job

Here are some commonly asked questions about the job of a recreational therapist.

1. What does a recreational therapist do?

A recreational therapist helps individuals with disabilities or illnesses to participate in activities that improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

2. Who can benefit from recreational therapy?

Recreational therapy can benefit people of all ages with various conditions such as mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, and physical disabilities.

3. What are the requirements to become a recreational therapist?

A bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy or a related field is typically required. Some states also require certification or licensure.

4. What kind of settings do recreational therapists work in?

Recreational therapists can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, community centers, and other healthcare facilities.

5. What are the job outlook and salary for recreational therapists?

The job outlook for recreational therapists is expected to grow at a rate of 7% from 2019 to 2029. The median annual salary for recreational therapists was $48,220 in May 2020.

6. What skills are important for a recreational therapist to have?

Good communication, interpersonal, problem-solving, and planning skills are essential for a recreational therapist to have. Compassion and empathy are also important traits for working with patients.

7. What are some common activities used in recreational therapy?

Some common activities include sports, art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, outdoor recreation, and social activities.

8. What kinds of assessments do recreational therapists use?

Recreational therapists use assessments such as leisure interest and participation, functional abilities, and behavioral assessments to determine the appropriate activities for their patients.

9. How do recreational therapists work with other healthcare professionals?

Recreational therapists work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physicians to create an individualized treatment plan for their patients.

10. Can recreational therapists work with people of all ages?

Recreational therapists can work with people of all ages, from children to seniors.

11. Is it necessary to have experience in a healthcare setting before becoming a recreational therapist?

Though experience in a healthcare setting can be helpful, it is not always necessary. Some recreational therapy programs offer internships or clinical rotations to gain hands-on experience.

12. Can recreational therapy be done remotely?

Some recreational therapy activities can be done remotely, but others may require in-person interactions. It depends on the specific therapy and the patient’s needs.

13. Is there room for advancement in a recreational therapy career?

Recreational therapists can advance to supervisory or management positions. Some may also choose to specialize in working with certain populations or conditions.

14. What are some challenges that recreational therapists may face in their job?

Some challenges include dealing with patients who may be uncooperative, working with limited resources, and dealing with the emotional toll of caring for patients with serious illnesses or disabilities.

15. How do recreational therapists ensure patient safety during activities?

Recreational therapists assess patients’ abilities and limitations and use appropriate safety equipment and techniques during activities to ensure patient safety.

16. Can recreational therapists work with patients who have multiple conditions or disabilities?

Yes, recreational therapists can work with patients who have multiple conditions or disabilities. They will need to design activities that are appropriate and safe for each patient’s individual needs.

17. What is the role of family members in recreational therapy?

Family members can be involved in the therapy process and provide support and encouragement for the patient. They can also help the therapist better understand the patient’s needs and preferences.

18. Are there any legal or ethical concerns to be aware of in recreational therapy?

Recreational therapists must follow legal and ethical guidelines in terms of patient privacy, informed consent, and treatment methods. They must also comply with any regulations and standards set by their governing board or agency.

19. Is it possible to specialize in a specific type of recreational therapy?

Yes, recreational therapists can specialize in areas such as art therapy, music therapy, and dance therapy. Specializing in a specific area may require additional education or certification.

20. How can recreational therapy benefit recovery and rehabilitation?

Recreational therapy can improve physical function, increase social interaction, reduce depression and anxiety, and improve overall quality of life for patients during recovery and rehabilitation.

21. Are there any risks associated with recreational therapy activities?

Some activities may come with risks such as injury or exacerbating a medical condition. Recreational therapists assess patients’ abilities and limitations to minimize these risks.

22. How can recreational therapy benefit mental health?

Recreational therapy can improve mood, reduce anxiety and stress, and increase self-esteem and confidence for patients with mental health conditions.

23. How do recreational therapists measure the effectiveness of treatment?

Recreational therapists use assessments and feedback from patients, family members, and other healthcare professionals to measure the effectiveness of treatment plans.

24. Can recreational therapists work in schools?

Yes, recreational therapists can work in schools to help children with disabilities or developmental delays to participate in activities and improve their social and emotional skills.

25. How important is documentation in recreational therapy?

Documentation is essential for recreational therapists to record patient progress, treatment plans, assessments, and any risks or concerns. It also helps in communication between healthcare professionals and insurance companies.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in recreational therapy, recreational therapist job is a good place to start exploring the field.

Thank You, Kind Reader

I hope that you have gained a deeper understanding of what a recreational therapist job entails. It is rewarding work that allows you to make a difference in the lives of those who need it the most. If you are interested in pursuing this career path, don’t hesitate to take the necessary steps to get there. And if you ever want to learn more about healthcare careers or just want to keep up with the latest news in the industry, I invite you to visit our website again. Until next time, thank you for reading!

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