Kind Reader, if you have an interest in working with individuals with disabilities or illnesses, a therapeutic recreation degree program may be the perfect fit for you. These degree programs provide the knowledge and skills needed to help individuals improve their physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities through leisure activities. Therapeutic recreation degree programs offer a variety of courses that cover topics such as human development, disability studies, and recreation therapy techniques. With a therapeutic recreation degree, you could go on to work in a range of settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or community centers.
What is Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic recreation, also known as recreation therapy, is a healthcare profession that utilizes recreation, experiential education, and leisure as a form of treatment for individuals with illnesses and disabling health conditions. The goal of therapeutic recreation is to improve physical, emotional, and social functioning, enhance independent living skills, and ultimately improve the quality of life of individuals living with disabilities.
The Importance of Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic recreation plays a vital role in the healthcare industry as it provides individuals with disabilities and illnesses the opportunity to improve their overall wellbeing. Through various recreational activities, individuals can increase their physical activity, develop new skills, and engage in social interactions.
According to the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), therapeutic recreation can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to:
|1||Autism Spectrum Disorder|
|4||Depression and Anxiety|
|6||Physical Disabilities and Impairments|
|8||Spinal Cord Injuries|
The Benefits of Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic recreation provides many benefits to individuals with disabilities and illnesses. Some of the benefits include:
- Increased physical activity and overall fitness
- Improved cognitive abilities
- Enhanced social interactions and improved socialization skills
- Reduced stress and anxiety levels
- Improved quality of life and overall wellbeing
Types of Therapeutic Recreation Degree Programs
Therapeutic recreation is an interdisciplinary field that uses recreational activities to help people with disabilities, illnesses, or other challenges. It is often used in conjunction with other healthcare services to help patients achieve their health and wellness goals. If you are interested in pursuing a career in therapeutic recreation, there are several types of degree programs that can help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
A bachelor’s degree is a four-year undergraduate degree that provides a comprehensive education in therapeutic recreation, as well as general education in other fields such as natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Many bachelor’s degree programs require students to complete an internship or practicum in order to gain hands-on experience in the field.
Master’s Degree Programs
A master’s degree is a graduate-level degree that provides advanced education in therapeutic recreation and related fields. Master’s degree programs offer specialized coursework and research opportunities that can prepare students for leadership roles in the field, such as program directors or researchers. Many master’s degree programs also require students to complete a thesis or project as part of their degree requirements.
Doctoral Degree Programs
A doctoral degree is the highest level of academic degree and typically takes several years of study to complete. Doctoral degree programs in therapeutic recreation prepare students for careers in academia, research, or leadership positions in healthcare organizations. These programs often require students to complete original research and a dissertation.
Continuing Education Programs
Continuing education programs are designed for professionals who already have a degree in therapeutic recreation or a related field. These programs offer continuing education courses and workshops to help professionals stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in the field. Continuing education programs can be completed online or in person and may be offered by professional organizations or academic institutions.
Certification programs provide formal recognition of a professional’s knowledge and skills in therapeutic recreation. Certification programs are typically offered by professional organizations and require professionals to meet certain education and experience requirements and pass a certification exam. Many employers prefer or require certification for employment in therapeutic recreation.
Specialization programs provide additional education and training in a specific area of therapeutic recreation. Examples of specialization areas include geriatric recreation therapy, adaptive sports, and pediatric recreation therapy. Specialization programs can be completed as part of a degree program or as a standalone program for professionals already working in the field.
Online Degree Programs
Online degree programs provide flexibility for students who need to balance their education with work or family responsibilities. Online programs in therapeutic recreation are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels and offer the same coursework and requirements as traditional on-campus programs. Online programs may be fully online or offer a hybrid of online and on-campus coursework.
|1||Therapeutic Recreation degree programs are undergraduate or graduate level programs that prepare students to become Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS).|
|2||The curriculum for therapeutic recreation degree programs often includes courses in human anatomy and physiology, psychology, therapeutic recreation research, assessment and documentation, and program planning and evaluation.|
|3||Some universities offer online therapeutic recreation degree programs, allowing students to earn their degree from anywhere.|
|4||Graduates of therapeutic recreation degree programs can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, and community-based organizations.|
|5||According to the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), there are over 80 accredited therapeutic recreation programs in the United States.|
|6||The requirements for becoming a CTRS include earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited therapeutic recreation program, completing an internship, and passing the certification exam.|
Therapeutic Recreation Degree Programs: Bachelor’s
Bachelor’s degree programs in therapeutic recreation provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to work with individuals with disabilities and illnesses. These programs typically take four years to complete and involve coursework, field experience, and internships.
Core coursework in therapeutic recreation bachelor’s degree programs typically explores the theories, principles, and practices of the therapeutic recreation profession. Students learn about human development, disability studies, recreation programming, assessment, and evaluation. They may also take classes in psychology, biology, and sociology.
Field Experience and Internships
Field experience and internships are essential parts of bachelor’s degree programs in therapeutic recreation. These experiences provide students with hands-on learning opportunities where they can apply their classroom knowledge and skills in real-world settings. Field experiences and internships may take place in hospitals, schools, community centers, or other settings where therapeutic recreation services are provided.
|No||Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Therapeutic Recreation||Location|
|1||Indiana University||Bloomington, IN|
|2||University of Utah||Salt Lake City, UT|
|3||East Carolina University||Greenville, NC|
|4||Western Carolina University||Cullowhee, NC|
|5||University of Wisconsin-La Crosse||La Crosse, WI|
Therapeutic Recreation Degree Programs: Master’s
Master’s degree programs in therapeutic recreation are designed for individuals who wish to advance their careers in this field. These programs typically take two years to complete and involve coursework, research, and a thesis or capstone project.
Coursework in master’s degree programs in therapeutic recreation builds upon the foundational knowledge learned in undergraduate programs. Students explore advanced topics in therapeutic recreation, such as program planning and evaluation, leadership, and research methods. They may also take classes in other areas of specialization, such as gerontology or mental health.
Research and Thesis/Capstone Project
Master’s degree programs in therapeutic recreation require students to engage in research and complete a thesis or capstone project. This research may involve studying the effectiveness of a particular therapeutic recreation intervention or exploring a new area of practice. The thesis or capstone project provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the material covered in their coursework and showcase their skills as a researcher and practitioner.
|No||Master’s Degree Programs in Therapeutic Recreation||Location|
|1||Temple University||Philadelphia, PA|
|2||Indiana University||Bloomington, IN|
|3||University of Iowa||Iowa City, IA|
|4||University of Wisconsin – La Crosse||La Crosse, WI|
|5||California State University, Chico||Chico, CA|
Job Opportunities with a Therapeutic Recreation Degree
Obtaining a degree in therapeutic recreation equips you with the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a variety of settings. The field is growing and there is a high demand for qualified professionals. Graduates with a degree in therapeutic recreation can work in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, mental health clinics, and other healthcare settings.
There is a multitude of career paths available for individuals who hold a degree in therapeutic recreation. A few examples of job titles include:
- Recreational Therapist
- Activity Director
- Rehabilitation Specialist
- Case Manager
- Community Center Program Director
- Director of Therapeutic Recreation
- Wellness Program Coordinator
The salary for individuals with a therapeutic recreation degree can vary depending on their career path, experience, and location. According to Payscale.com, recreational therapists earn an average of $48,850 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for recreational therapists was $48,220 as of May 2020.
â€œThe field of therapeutic recreation continues to grow and evolve, which creates more job opportunities for individuals with a degree in this field.â€
There are several professional organizations related to therapeutic recreation that graduates can join to enhance their career opportunities:
- The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)
- The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA)
- The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
|No||Top Employers of Recreational Therapists||Median Annual Wage of Recreational Therapists|
|1||Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)||$50,490|
|2||General Medical and Surgical Hospitals||$49,930|
|3||State Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals||$47,460|
|4||Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals||$44,620|
|5||Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals||$43,960|
Graduating from a therapeutic recreation degree program opens up a world of opportunities for individuals who want to help improve the quality of life of others. Therapeutic recreation specialists work in a variety of settings, including:
- Hospitals and rehabilitation centers
- Mental health facilities
- Nursing homes and long-term care facilities
- Community centers
- State, local, and federal government agencies
- Non-profit organizations
Professionals with a therapeutic recreation degree can work as:
- Recreation Programmers
- Activity Coordinators
- Recreation Therapists
- Therapeutic Activity Directors
- Leisure Education Specialists
- Developmental Disabilities Specialists
- Special Education Instructors
- Outdoor Adventure Leadership Specialists
“Recreation is not something separate; it is an essential part of our lives.” – Gerald R. Ford
Recreation programmers create affordable and inclusive programs that people can enjoy. Their responsibilities include planning, organizing, and leading various recreational activities for people of all ages and abilities.
Activity coordinators are responsible for organizing and leading a variety of activities and events. They work closely with clients, their families, and other team members to ensure that each activity is carefully planned and executed.
Career Opportunities with a Therapeutic Recreation Degree
Graduates with a degree in therapeutic recreation can find meaningful careers in various settings like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, and community health centers. Here are some of the common professions available for therapeutic recreation graduates:
Recreational therapists use leisure activities to treat individuals with illnesses or disabilities. They assess the needs of their clients and develop a treatment plan that includes various activities like games, arts, and sports to improve their mental and physical health. Therapeutic recreation graduates may also work in mental health and substance abuse centers, correctional facilities, and schools.
Activities directors organize and plan recreational activities for people living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or community centers. They may also work with elderly people, children, or people with disabilities. Therapeutic recreation graduates are well-suited for this position because they have the necessary skills to develop, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of the activities they organize.
Outdoor Recreation Specialist
Outdoor recreation specialists plan and supervise activities that take place outside, including hiking, camping, rock climbing, and water sports. Graduates with a degree in therapeutic recreation can find work as outdoor recreation specialists because they have the skills to help participants overcome any barriers or challenges they encounter during the activities.
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work under the supervision of physical therapists to help patients recover from injuries or illnesses. They perform exercises and activities that help patients regain their strength, mobility, and independence. Therapeutic recreation graduates may find work as PTAs because they have a strong foundation in human anatomy, physiology, and movement.
Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers work with students who have a range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They develop individualized education plans (IEPs) for each student and provide instruction in various subject areas. Therapeutic recreation graduates can work as special education teachers because they have the skills to design and implement effective educational programs that focus on the strengths and needs of each student.
Salary Expectations for Therapeutic Recreation Graduates
Graduates with degrees in therapeutic recreation can expect competitive salaries, with variation depending on the location, experience, and type of employer. Here are some of the average salaries for common professions in the field:
|No||Employment Setting||Average Annual Salary|
|2||Nursing Care Facilities||$45,110|
|4||Outpatient Care Centers||$45,220|
|5||Residential Care Facilities||$34,890|
The salary of an activities director varies depending on the type of employer, location, and experience level. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for recreation workers was $27,690 as of May 2020.
Outdoor Recreation Specialist
The average annual salary for outdoor recreation specialists varies depending on the employer and experience level. However, according to Indeed, the average annual salary for this position in the United States is around $40,000.
Physical Therapist Assistant
The salary of a physical therapist assistant also varies depending on the employer, location, and experience level. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physical therapist assistants was $49,910 as of May 2020.
Special Education Teacher
The average annual salary of special education teachers depends on factors like years of experience, the state and district’s education budget, and grade level and subject taught. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for special education teachers was $61,030 as of May 2020.
Flexible Learning Options
Students from all backgrounds can join therapeutic recreation degree programs in various formats, including on-campus, online, hybrid, and accelerated programs. This flexibility allows students to engage in coursework that fits their learning style and schedule. Some universities offer weekends and intensive sessions to accommodate students’ busy routines.
Therapeutic recreation degree programs offer online classes that allow students to learn remotely. Online coursework maintains the same requirements as a traditional classroom setup. Students can interact with their professors and peers through video conferencing, email, and discussion forums. Distance learning is an excellent option for students who live in remote areas, working students, and those who prefer to learn at their pace.
On-campus learning provides students with an opportunity to engage in hands-on learning experiences, access to campus resources, and interact with professors and peers directly. Students can participate in clubs, groups, and activities that enrich their degree program and lead to real-world opportunities.
FAQ about Therapeutic Recreation Degree Programs
1. What is Therapeutic Recreation?
Therapeutic recreation is a profession that provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in recreation and leisure activities to promote health and wellness.
2. What is a Therapeutic Recreation Degree Program?
A therapeutic recreation degree program is a course of study that prepares individuals to become certified therapeutic recreation specialists.
3. What can I do with a Therapeutic Recreation Degree?
You can work as a therapeutic recreation specialist, recreation therapist, activity coordinator, program director, or other related positions that work with individuals with disabilities.
4. What kind of courses are offered in a Therapeutic Recreation Degree program?
Coursework includes topics such as human growth and development, therapeutic interventions, activity analysis, program planning and evaluation, and principles and theories of therapeutic recreation.
5. Is it difficult to get accepted to a Therapeutic Recreation Degree program?
Admission requirements vary by program, but a strong academic record, letters of recommendation, and experience working with individuals with disabilities are typically required.
6. How long does it take to complete a Therapeutic Recreation Degree program?
Most programs take 4 years to complete.
7. Can I specialize in a certain area of therapeutic recreation?
Yes, some programs offer specializations in areas such as adaptive sports, geriatrics, mental health, or developmental disabilities.
8. Do I need to be physically fit to work in therapeutic recreation?
No, you do not need to be physically fit, but it is helpful to have an understanding of physical limitations and adaptations.
9. What types of facilities hire therapeutic recreation specialists?
Facilities that hire therapeutic recreation specialists include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, community centers, and schools.
10. Are there any certifications or licenses required to work in therapeutic recreation?
Yes, you need to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) in order to work as a therapeutic recreation specialist.
11. How do I become certified by the NCTRC?
You can become certified by passing the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) exam after completing a therapeutic recreation degree program.
12. What kind of salary can I expect with a Therapeutic Recreation Degree?
The salary ranges, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for recreational therapists was $48,220 in May 2019.
13. How do I find a Therapeutic Recreation Degree program?
You can search for programs on the NCTRC website or college and university websites.
14. Can I complete a Therapeutic Recreation Degree program online?
Yes, there are some online programs available, but make sure the program is accredited and meets the requirements for NCTRC certification.
15. Do I need to complete an internship or practicum as part of the degree program?
Yes, most programs require an internship or practicum to gain hands-on experience in the field.
16. How can I gain experience in therapeutic recreation before applying to a degree program?
You can volunteer at facilities that offer therapeutic recreation programs or work as a recreation leader or camp counselor.
17. Can I transfer credits from another degree program to a Therapeutic Recreation Degree program?
Yes, transfer policies vary by program, so check with the specific program for their policies.
18. Can I complete a Therapeutic Recreation Degree if I have a disability?
Yes, accommodations can be made to ensure equal access to the coursework and internship/practicum requirements.
19. What kind of skills are required to work in therapeutic recreation?
Skills needed include communication, problem-solving, creativity, adaptability, and empathy.
20. What is the job outlook for therapeutic recreation specialists?
The job outlook is good, with employment projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
21. What types of activities are offered in therapeutic recreation programs?
Activities offered include sports, arts and crafts, music, horticulture, and outdoor recreation.
22. How does therapeutic recreation benefit individuals with disabilities?
Therapeutic recreation helps individuals with disabilities increase their physical, emotional, and social well-being by promoting participation in leisure activities that match their abilities and interests.
23. Can therapeutic recreation be used for individuals with cognitive disabilities?
Yes, therapeutic recreation can help individuals with cognitive disabilities by promoting cognitive function and stimulating the brain through activities such as games, puzzles, and memory exercises.
24. What opportunities for advancement are there in therapeutic recreation?
You can advance to positions such as program director, department manager, or executive director.
25. How can I learn more about Therapeutic Recreation Degree programs?
You can search websites such as the NCTRC, college and university websites, or industry association websites for more information.
If you’re interested in a career in therapeutic recreation, check out this list of therapeutic recreation degree programs available from various universities and colleges. These programs offer students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge needed to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and long-term care facilities.
Thanks for joining me, Kind Reader!
I hope you’ve found this article helpful in understanding therapeutic recreation degree programs. Whether you’re considering pursuing a degree in this field or just curious about what it entails, I’m glad you took the time to read this. Remember, therapeutic recreation has the potential to change lives in meaningful and powerful ways. So if you’re looking for a career that combines your passion for helping others with your love for recreation, this could be the perfect fit for you. Thanks again for reading, and make sure to come back to our website for more informative and lifelike articles!