Recreational Therapist


  • This is work that helps people with injuries and illnesses.
  • You will enjoy this type of work if you are someone who likes to be creative and adapt to different situations.
  • There is a lot of variety to this work, and many recreational therpists work part-time, having multiple jobs.


  • There is a good amount of competition for jobs in this occupation.
  • You need to comfortable working with people who are ill or have a disabling condition.
  • Many recreational therapists spend time doing physical activities and need to be on their feet.


A recreational therapist is someone who provides treatment to those who are disabled otr have an illness by planning recreational activities. The goal of these activities is to help patients improve their physical and mental condition. Recreational therpists use a variety of activities to help improve their patient’s lives. This can include sports, arts and crafts, games, music, dance and outings such as field trips.

When a patient first sees a recreational therapist, an assessment is performed to determine a course of treatment. This is done through an interview session coupled with a review of the patient’s medical history. Often times a recreational therapist will set a therapeutic plan for the patient based on his or her interests so that the activities are enagaing and rewarding to them. While carrying out a therapy plan for a patient, a recreational therapist needs to have a lot of patience as well as creativity in order to properly execute the plan in order to keep their patients interested.

One can find recreational therapists working in a variety of settings. Many of them are employed in hospitals or private rehabilitation centers working along with doctors and nurses to care for patients that have specific medical problems. Quite often, they will be working in long-term care facilities helping people to maintain their health by planning group activities. They can be found in a school special education program or in a municipal recreation department that promotes programs for the community.


Those interested in becoming recreational therapists will generally need to obtain a bachelor’s degree with a concentration related to recreational therapy. While it is possible to find employment with special training and related work experience, competition for jobs in this field dictate that in order to guarantee work one should attempt to graduate with a four year degree. A small amount of states also require that recreational therapists become licensed.

Job Prospects

Recreational therapists can expect to see that there is job growth in this field with the increasing trend of the population living an active lifestyle. However, it is possible that there will be a good amount of competition for work. Often times to save money, an organization will hire recreational aides that are willing to work part time which make it harder to find high paying full time jobs with good benefits as a result. Nevertheless, the population is aging and there is an increasing need for personnel that can plan and manage activities, especially in long-term managed care facilities.

Advancement Opportunities

The prospects for advancement in this field are much better for those who obtain a bachelor’s degree. With that being said, there are good opportunities for recreational therapists for administrative or managerial roles. Some may decide to take training for a specialized certification in some activities such as physical fitness or art. This is a way for a recreational therapist to become specialized in a certain therapy treatment work and as a result are able to gain more influence and salary in the field because of their particular expertise.