Recreational Therapist Career Guide

Recreational Therapist Career Ratings



Personal Growth




A recreational therapist is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating recreation-based treatment programs for those with disabilities, injuries or illnesses. Their work is crucial because they are responsible for improving the physical, social and emotional well-being of their patients.

Recreational therapists create treatment plans and programs, analyze their patients progress and evaluate interventions for effectiveness. Recreational therapists tend to use arts and crafts, drama, music, dance, sport and games in therapy to help patients reduce their depression, stress and anxiety. Therapy is also designed to help build confidence and socialization skills, so that people can get back into the community.

Recreational therapists tend to work for hospitals or nursing and residential care facilities. They can also work in places such as substance abuse centres, rehabilitation centres, special education departments or recreation departments. To become a recreational therapist, most will need to achieve a bachelor?s degree and they will then also need to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)

There are very few negatives to becoming a recreational therapist. Some say that, especially if they work in end of life care, seeing their patients pass away can be emotionally taxing. The field can also be quite competitive to get into, and once you are in, the work if often part time and relatively low paying.

However, the profession is competitive because it is popular with so many who want to join the career for its many benefits. Firstly, as a recreational therapist, you will get to help many different people to really improve their lives, which is rewarding, meaningful and leads to high job satisfaction. Recreational therapists also often have the advantage of a great working environment, where they get to work closely and cohesively with co-workers. Finally, as recreational therapist, there is lots of room for independent work and personal and skill development.

Successful recreational therapists tend to be compassionate, patient and gentle listeners. They have the ability to communicate with all kinds of patients, as well a show strong leadership and critical-thinking skills.


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