Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
Become A Recreational Therapist
Share |

Become A Recreational Therapist  

 

What is the path to becoming a recreational therapist? Here is the information you need to know about becoming a recreational therapist.

 

Education

Recreational therapists need a bachelor’s degree, usually in recreational therapy or a related field such as recreation and leisure studies with an emphasis or concentration in recreational therapy/therapeutic recreation.Recreational therapy programs include courses in assessment, human anatomy, medical and psychiatric terminology, characteristics of illnesses and disabilities, and the use of assistive devices and technology. Bachelor’s degree programs usually include an internship. You can see if your state has a program here. 

 

What are a Recreational Therapist's Credentials?

A qualified recreational therapist is someone who is nationally certified as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), usually referred to as Recreational Therapists. Qualified professionals are certified through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), which requires a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university, a formal internship and the passing of a national certification examination. A CTRS must maintain their credential every five years through the NCTRC recertification process. Academic programs in Therapeutic Recreation or Recreational Therapy emphasize course work in the physical, biological, and behavioral sciences and recreation and leisure theory.

 

Most employers prefer to hire certified recreational therapists. The NCTRC offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential. Candidates may qualify for certification through one of three pathways. The first option requires a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy, completion of a supervised internship of at least 560 hours, and passing an exam. The other options also require passing an exam, but allow candidates with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated subject to qualify with various combinations of education and work experience. In order to maintain certification, therapists must either pass an exam or complete work experience and continuing education requirements every 5 years. Visit www.nctrc.org for more details.

The NCTRC also offers specialty certification in five areas of practice: behavioral health, community inclusion services, developmental disabilities, geriatrics, and physical medicine/rehabilitation. Therapists also may earn certificates from other organizations to show proficiency in specific therapy techniques, such as aquatic therapy or aromatherapy.

As of 2017, only a small number of states require licensure or otherwise regulate the work of recreational therapists. For specific requirements, contact the state’s medical board. We have additional information on licensure here.

 

Important Qualities of a recreational therapist

Compassion. Recreational therapists should be kind and empathetic when providing support to patients and their families. They may deal with patients who are in pain or under emotional stress.

Leadership skills. Recreational therapists must plan, develop, and implement intervention programs in an effective manner. They must be engaging and able to motivate patients to participate in a variety of therapeutic activities.

Listening skills. Recreational therapists must listen carefully to a patient’s problems and concerns. They can then determine an appropriate course of treatment for that patient.

Patience. Recreational therapists may work with some patients who require more time and special attention than others.

Resourcefulness. Recreational therapists customize treatment plans for patients. They must be both creative and flexible when adapting activities or programs to each patient’s needs.

Speaking skills. Recreational therapists need to communicate well with their patients. They must give clear directions during activities or instructions on healthy coping techniques.

 

What do Recreational Therapists do?

A recreational therapist utilizes a wide range of activity and community based interventions and techniques to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and leisure needs of their clients. Recreational therapists assist clients to develop skills, knowledge, and behaviors for daily living and community involvement. The therapist works with the client and their family to incorporate specific interests and community resources into therapy to achieve optimal outcomes that transfer to their real life situation.

 

 

What clients do Recreational Therapists serve?

Recreational Therapists may work with a wide range of individuals requiring health services including geriatric, mental health, addictions, general medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, developmental disabilities and pediatric clients.

 

 

Where can you find Recreational Therapists working?

Most recreational therapists are employed by health care agencies and work in traditional inpatient hospitals or health facilities but an increasing number are being hired in residential facilities, community mental health centers, adult day care programs, substance abuse centers, hospice care, community centers, and in school systems. There is a growing trend for recreational therapists to work in private practice providing services in the home and community as well.

 

Here is some information about Recreational Therapists and the different settings where you can find them working:

Behavioral Health
Children and Adolescents
Community Based Services
Management of Recreational Therapy
Older Adults
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
School Systems
Military Service Members and Veterans

 



 
more Calendar

7/24/2018 » 7/26/2018
VA Wheelchair Prescription Workshop - Category B Workshop

Featured Members

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal