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prospective STUDENTS

If you are thinking of becoming a recreational therapist, here is some information for you:


what does a recreational therapist do?

Recreational therapists work with a variety of client groups such as individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, mental health issues, and individuals who are aging. Facilities include community RT/TR programs, correctional facilities, behavioral health agencies, physical medicine and rehabilitation hospitals or units, long term care facilities, and many others.

what's the job market like?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, there were approximately 19,200 jobs across the nation. "Employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom generation ages, they will need recreational therapists to help treat age-related injuries and illnesses and to help them maintain a healthy, active lifestyle." (Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016 Edition)

The median annual wage for recreational therapists was $46,410 in May 2016.(Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016 Edition)

For more information contact the national office at or contact, Chair(s), Student Development Committee.

educational requirements

The field currently requires a bachelor’s degree and nearly all positions require certification by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

Why join ATRA?


  • Opportunities to professionally network through conferences, ATRA members-only networking groups, workshops, and on social media
  •  Gain leadership experience by volunteering on ATRA committees and sections.
  • Participate in "Take a Student to Lunch Day" at the ATRA Annual Conference along with other student activities
  • Connect with other students, CTRS's and the profession
  • Free access to the Annual in Therapeutic Recreation, ATRA’s research journal
  • Eligibility for working scholarships at the annual fall conference
  • Reduced membership rates – students may join as a full member of ATRA for $65 per year while in school
  • Reduced membership the first year after graduation as a Provisional Professional member
  • Reduced conference rates – registration rates are often half-priced for students to attend conferences
  • Reduced rates on merchandise and books through the ATRA bookstore
  • Advocacy by the Student Development Committee on students’ behalf
  • Knowledge and networking through the Treatment Networks, such as Behavioral Health, Pediatrics and Geriatrics
  • Listing of potential internship opportunities
  • Listing of potential job opportunities



more Calendar

9/12/2020 » 9/15/2020
ATRA Annual Conference

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