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Therapeutic Recreation Specialist / Therapist Careers

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Therapeutic Recreation Specialist / Therapist CareersWhat Therapeutic Recreation Specialists do:
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists, also known as Recreational Therapists, provide treatment services for individuals with illnesses or disabilities.

Therapists improve and maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their clients through arts and crafts, sports, games, dance and movement, and community outings.

The main duties of a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist include: 

  • Providing recreational therapy to reduce stress, depression and anxiety
  • Assisting patients rehabilitate their basic motor skills
  • Building confidence and promoting independence
  • Educating patients on how to avail of community resources
  • Working closely with physicians, psychologists, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists
  • Promoting a clients general health and well-being
  • Providing interventions to prevent clients from suffering further medical problems

Education & Qualifications:
To become a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist/ Recreational Therapist you will need a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation, or in recreation with a concentration in therapeutic recreation.

Typical courses covered in a bachelor’s degree program include: treatment and program planning, assessment, intervention and evaluation, human anatomy, physiology, medical and psychiatric terminology, abnormal psychology, characteristics of illnesses and disabilities, professional ethics, and the use of assistive devices and technology.

Certification is voluntary in most stats, although most employers prefer to employ certified therapeutic recreation specialists. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) provides certification in this field to candidates who have passed a written certification examination, and completed a supervised internship of at least 480 hours. Continuing education is necessary to maintain certification.

Salary & Job Prospects:
Salaries in this field range from $25,000 to $50,000. The job prospects for Therapeutic Recreation Specialists is good, although some competition is expected in certain locations. Job opportunities in Residential and Outpatient centers will have the highest job growth. Also Therapists with a specialization such as aquatic therapy or meditation will have more job opportunities.



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