Recreational therapists help people who are sick or hurt to get
active again. They use sports, games, arts, crafts, and music
to help patients build confidence and get back into life. These
therapists are not the same as the recreation workers who conduct
games and pastimes for fun.
Recreational therapists find out what patients need. They do
this by looking at medical records and talking to other staff.
They also listen to the patients and their families. They then
make up a program to help the person. For instance, they might
help a right-handed girl who can't use her right arm any more
to throw a ball with her left arm.
Recreational therapists often work in special rooms at hospitals.
They might also work with clients on a playing field or in a swimming
pool. They plan events and keep records in offices. They generally
work a 40-hour week. This may include some evenings, weekends,
A college degree in recreation therapy is usually required. There
are about 140 training programs in the U.S. Most programs offer
bachelor's degrees. Some offer other degrees, such as associate
A national board certifies therapeutic recreation specialists.
They must get a bachelor's degree. Then, they have to pass an
Recreational therapists should be at ease working with disabled
people. They have to be patient and tactful. They need imagination
to adapt games to a person's needs. They must have good physical
skills to show people how to do some activities.
|How much does this job pay?
The middle half of all recreational therapists made between $23,180
and $38,620 a year in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned
less than $18,130. The highest-paid 10 percent made more than
$47,180 a year.
Recreational therapists held about 27,000 jobs in 2002. Almost
a third worked in hospitals, and another third worked in nursing
care facilities. A small number of therapists were self-employed.
Employment of recreational therapists is expected to grow more
slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2012.
They will serve a growing number of older persons and persons
with disabilities. Hospitals and nursing homes will provide jobs.
Adult day care, assisted-living, social service, and physical
and psychiatric rehabilitation sites will also provide a lot of
|Are there other jobs like this?
- Art therapists
- Counselors (rehabilitation counselors)
- Dance therapists
- Drama therapists
- Music therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Orientation therapists for blind and visually-impaired persons
- Physical therapists
- Recreation and fitness workers (aerobics instructors, fitness
trainers, personal trainers)
|Where can you find more information?
More information about recreational therapists can be found in
the Careers Database.
Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau
of Labor Statistics