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Recreational Therapist

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What Does it Take to Be a Recreational Therapist?

Recreational Therapist Job Description Plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions. Activities include sports, trips, dramatics, social activities, and arts and crafts. May assess a patient condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.

Life As a Recreational Therapist

  • Obtain information from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients themselves to assess patients' capabilities, needs and interests.
  • Counsel and encourage patients to develop leisure activities.
  • Instruct patient in activities and techniques, such as sports, dance, music, art, or relaxation techniques, designed to meet their specific physical or psychological needs.
  • Encourage clients with special needs and circumstances to acquire new skills and get involved in health-promoting leisure activities, such as sports, games, arts and crafts, and gardening.
  • Confer with members of treatment team to plan and evaluate therapy programs.
  • Conduct therapy sessions to improve patients' mental and physical well-being.

Recreational Therapist Needed Skills

When polled, Recreational Therapists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Types of Recreational Therapist

  • Activity Coordinator
  • Horticultural Therapist
  • Activities Therapist
  • Dance Therapist
  • Adventure Therapist

Is There Job Demand for Recreational Therapists?

In the United States, there were 19,200 jobs for Recreational Therapist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,300 new jobs for Recreational Therapist by 2026. The BLS estimates 1,200 yearly job openings in this field.

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The states with the most job growth for Recreational Therapist are Alaska, Colorado, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, Wyoming, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Recreational Therapists Salary

The salary for Recreational Therapists ranges between about $29,590 and $77,050 a year.

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Recreational Therapists who work in California, District of Columbia, or Nevada, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Recreational Therapists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $42,860
Arizona $49,440
Arkansas $50,170
California $75,810
Colorado $49,300
Connecticut $59,450
Delaware $46,320
District of Columbia $68,430
Florida $48,290
Georgia $43,950
Hawaii $55,470
Idaho $40,770
Illinois $46,620
Indiana $42,280
Iowa $52,470
Kansas $35,850
Kentucky $45,330
Louisiana $41,180
Maine $49,390
Maryland $48,690
Massachusetts $55,570
Michigan $51,280
Minnesota $54,660
Mississippi $38,470
Missouri $46,000
Montana $44,730
Nebraska $39,420
Nevada $58,480
New Hampshire $46,660
New Jersey $58,220
New Mexico $38,680
New York $55,370
North Carolina $47,600
North Dakota $43,910
Ohio $45,750
Oklahoma $37,760
Oregon $55,410
Pennsylvania $45,900
Rhode Island $49,310
South Carolina $42,240
South Dakota $50,480
Tennessee $41,660
Texas $43,070
Utah $48,230
Vermont $43,120
Virginia $47,590
Washington $59,860
Wisconsin $44,970
Wyoming $50,170

Tools & Technologies Used by Recreational Therapists

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Recreational Therapists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Data entry software
  • Email software
  • Patient electronic medical record EMR software
  • Avid Technology Sibelius
  • MakeMusic Finale
  • Speech recognition software
  • Musical instrument digital interface MIDI software

How do I Become a Recreational Therapist?

Are there Recreational Therapists education requirements?

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What work experience do I need to become a Recreational Therapist?

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Where Recreational Therapists Work

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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You May Also Be Interested In…

Those interested in being a Recreational Therapist may also be interested in:

References:

Image Credit: Barbara E. Carver via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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