Recreational Therapist Career Plan

There are multiple paths to becoming a recreational therapist; it depends on your background. If you’re in high school or if you’re seeking your first degree, you’ll probably want to enroll in a recreational therapy program at the baccalaureate level or higher. Here are some tips.

Become a Recreational Therapist

Recreational Therapy Resources…

  1. Take the college prep track in high school. You may want to take social science courses like psychology.

  2. Get some experience. You can begin with job shadowing or career fairs and move on to volunteering or internships. You may want to volunteer with a population that you’ll one day work with. Many recreational therapists are employed at nursing homes, others at hospitals. You can volunteer in either setting. Some large hospitals have a variety of volunteer programs to choose from. You might work in arts, for example, or read stories to children.

  3. Research bachelor’s programs in recreational therapy. Make sure that they meet standards set by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

  4. Fulfill admission requirements. There may be a secondary application process which is separate from university admission. The application will likely include an essay or professional statement. You may be asked for professional references. There may or may not be a formal admission test.

  5. Complete class work and field placement hours.

  6. Continue to seek out professional experiences. Consider joining the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. You will find internship opportunities listed on the site. You’ll get a chance to browse resources, apply for scholarships, and join volunteer teams.

  7. Fulfill state licensing requirements, if applicable. You may also opt for national board certification.

  8. It’s time for that first position. You will also find resources on the ATRA site.

Personality Traits: Recreational therapists are adept at developing human relationships and assessing needs. They consider scientific evidence when making decisions.