How to Become a Recreational Therapist

Recreational Therapists work with patients with disabilities or who have been diagnosed with an illness.

These professionals use a variety of techniques to help patients with their emotional, physical and mental health.

Recreational Therapists work in a wide range of health locations such as hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation centers.

These professionals work constantly with individuals who are ill or disabled and must be able to work comfortably in this type of setting.

Recreational Therapists must also be able to work with a several other professionals in order to determine the best treatment plan for their patients.

If you are interested in a career where you can work with people and help patients improve their lives, consider the following related professions:

  • Child Psychologist
  • Family Counselor
  • Herbal Therapist
  • Music Therapist
  • Pediatric Therapist
  • Wellness Coordinator

Continue reading the information below to learn how to become a Recreational Therapist , a general job description, salary and wage data and the future job outlook through the year 2018.

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Education Requirements to Become a Recreational Therapist

The minimum educational requirement to become a Recreational Therapist is a four year Bachelor’s degree.

In addition, there are some states that require candidates to attain licensure, a title or register with the state.

You will need to research your state’s medical board in order to determine whether you need to fulfill any of the aforementioned prerequisites.

Students who want to become a Recreational Therapist should major in Therapeutic Recreation or in Recreation with a specialization in Therapeutic Recreation.

A candidate can become a Recreational Therapist if they have a combination of training, education and experience in a similar field.

There are currently more than 100 programs that offer a degree in Therapeutic Recreation.

The level of degree depends on the educational institution.

Some schools may offer a range of degrees including Associate, Bachelor, Master or Doctoral level.

A typical Therapeutic Recreation program will offer courses in physiology, anatomy, psychology and ethics.

Courses students will take that are related to the profession include teaching how to use technical devices, assessment protocol, evaluation techniques, organizing a treatment plan and designing interventions.

Some Therapeutic Recreation Bachelor programs may also offer the opportunity to complete an internship in order to earn the degree.

Recreational Therapist Job Description

Recreational Therapists work in a health care including facilities such as hospitals, clinics or rehabilitation centers.

They are responsible for meeting with other healthcare professionals to determine the best type of treatment for their patients.

Recreational Therapists use a combination of recreational activities and treatment plans in order to improve a patient’s physical, mental and emotional health and well being.

The type of techniques they implement may include the following:

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Games
  • Sports

These types of activities are geared to treat and rehabilitate a patient.

Recreational Therapists are experienced at easing patients’ depression, anxiety and stress.

In addition, these techniques can help improve patients’ basic motor functions and teach them how to manage the physical effects of a disability.

These techniques are geared to help the patient outside of treatment and help them build confidence while out in public.

Recreational Therapist Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for Recreational Therapists was approximately $38,370 per year.

The national salary range for these professionals during the same year was approximately $23,150 to 60,280 per year.

Exact wages for these professionals will be determined by the industry they are employed in, the geographical location and years of experience.

The employment outlook for Recreational Therapist looks promising and is expected to grow at a faster than average pace.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment opportunities for these professionals is expected to grow by about 15 percent through the year 2018.

This growth is attributed to a growing elderly population that may require the help of a Recreational Therapist.

As a whole, health care careers are expected to grow faster than in most other industries.

Even with an expected growth in employment opportunities, those who want to become a Recreational Therapist should expect some stiff competition.

Employers are more likely to hire candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and who also hold a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist license.

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