Recreation therapists are responsible for planning, directing, and coordinating recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and government parks and recreation departments.
These therapists use a variety of modalities, including arts and crafts; drama, music, and dance; sports and games; aquatics; and community outings to help maintain or improve a patient's physical, social, and emotional well-being. Educational requirements to qualify for the position include a bachelor's degree in recreational therapy or a related field such as art therapy and physical therapy.
It usually takes a person four to five years to become a recreation therapist. A small number of states within the United States require licensing. While you may not need a license in your state, most employers prefer to hire recreation therapists with the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential.
Recreation therapists' employment is projected to grow 8% in the coming years, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median pay for a normal workweek is $23.18 an hour, which equates to $48,220 a year. The position is highly rewarding, both emotionally, monetarily, and physically.