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Working as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

A therapeutic recreation specialist plans and implements therapeutic recreation programs and interventions for patients with physical, mental, or social disabilities. They do this by incorporating certain therapeutic recreation activities such as arts and crafts, music, aquatics, drama, dance, sports, and games. Their ultimate objective is to help improve the patient's physical, social, emotional, and mental well-being.

Therapeutic recreation specialists usually work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and schools. They may decide to work with all patients or to specialize in specific demographics such as children, teenagers, or the elderly. A successful therapeutic recreation specialist should have patience, compassion, critical thinking skills, , , attention to detail, and interpersonal skills.

A therapeutic recreation specialist works 40 hours a week Monday to Friday from 9 to 5. Their work schedule is flexible, and they can work in shifts. Their schedule also depends on the availability of patients and can therefore work weekends.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a therapeutic recreation specialist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $17.63 an hour? That's $36,671 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 7% and produce 1,400 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many therapeutic recreation specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed compassion, listening skills and speaking skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a therapeutic recreation specialist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.4% of therapeutic recreation specialists included patient care, while 11.0% of resumes included ctrs, and 9.2% of resumes included group therapy. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the therapeutic recreation specialist job title. But what industry to start with? Most therapeutic recreation specialists actually find jobs in the health care and non profits industries.

How To Become a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a therapeutic recreation specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 62.3% of therapeutic recreation specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 30.0% of therapeutic recreation specialists have master's degrees. Even though most therapeutic recreation specialists have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a therapeutic recreation specialist. When we researched the most common majors for a therapeutic recreation specialist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on therapeutic recreation specialist resumes include associate degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a therapeutic recreation specialist. In fact, many therapeutic recreation specialist jobs require experience in a role such as internship. Meanwhile, many therapeutic recreation specialists also have previous career experience in roles such as recreation therapist or music therapy internship.

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Average Salary$36,671
Job Growth Rate7%

Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

Top Careers After Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

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Average Salary for a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

Therapeutic Recreation Specialists in America make an average salary of $36,671 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $48,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Salary
$36,671

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Los Angeles, CA
Salary Range37k - 66k$50k$50,288
New Haven, CT
Salary Range32k - 52k$41k$41,449
Minneapolis, MN
Salary Range33k - 48k$40k$40,421
Randolph, MA
Salary Range33k - 48k$40k$40,273
Nashua, NH
Salary Range33k - 46k$39k$39,117
Wyandotte, MI
Salary Range29k - 46k$37k$36,819
$23k
$66k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Therapeutic Recreation Assistant Program Specialist Seasonal)
Therapeutic Recreation Assistant Program Specialist Seasonal)
City of Henderson Nv
City of Henderson Nv
01/26/2021
01/26/2021
$19,91001/26/2021
$19,910
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist-As Needed-HEB
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist-As Needed-HEB
Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources
01/14/2021
01/14/2021
$45,05801/14/2021
$45,058
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
City of Miami
City of Miami
12/21/2020
12/21/2020
$53,23712/21/2020
$53,237
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Montereau Inc.
Montereau Inc.
11/07/2020
11/07/2020
$27,13111/07/2020
$27,131
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (PRN-As Needed)
Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (PRN-As Needed)
Montereau Inc.
Montereau Inc.
10/25/2020
10/25/2020
$27,13110/25/2020
$27,131
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Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Demographics

Gender

female

76.1 %

male

20.0 %

unknown

3.9 %

Ethnicity

White

68.0 %

Black or African American

15.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.6 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.5 %

German

7.7 %

Swedish

3.8 %
See More Demographics

Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Education

Degrees

Bachelors

62.3 %

Masters

30.0 %

Associate

4.4 %

Top Colleges for Therapeutic Recreation Specialists

1. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503

2. California State University - Sacramento

Sacramento, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,310
Enrollment
28,439

3. University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,222
Enrollment
23,396

4. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

5. Lehman College of the City University of New York

Bronx, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,210
Enrollment
11,559

6. SUNY College at Cortland

Cortland, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$8,536
Enrollment
6,325

7. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

8. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

9. University of Georgia

Athens, GA • Public

In-State Tuition
$11,830
Enrollment
29,474

10. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL • Public

In-State Tuition
$15,094
Enrollment
32,974
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.4% of therapeutic recreation specialists listed patient care on their resume, but soft skills such as compassion and listening skills are important as well.

Best States For a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

1. Nevada

Total Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Jobs:
26
Highest 10% Earn:
$85,000
Location Quotient:
2.19
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. North Dakota

Total Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Jobs:
10
Highest 10% Earn:
$57,000
Location Quotient:
2.05
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Idaho

Total Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Jobs:
85
Highest 10% Earn:
$61,000
Location Quotient:
13.06
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Employers

1. John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$30,462
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists Hired: 
8+
2. National Council on Aging
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$34,320
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists Hired: 
7+
3. Sholom Community Alliance
3.4
Avg. Salary: 
$34,685
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists Hired: 
5+
4. Minnesota Masonic Home
3.7
Avg. Salary: 
$41,395
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists Hired: 
5+
5. Hospital for Special Care
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$35,234
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists Hired: 
5+
6. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$33,511
Therapeutic Recreation Specialists Hired: 
4+
Updated October 2, 2020