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Recreational Therapist

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What Do Recreational Therapist Do?

Recreational Therapist Definition 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.

A Day in the Life of a Recreational Therapist

  • Develop treatment plan to meet needs of patient, based on needs assessment, patient interests, and objectives of therapy.
  • Conduct therapy sessions to improve patients’ mental and physical well-being.
  • 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.
  • Instruct patient in activities and techniques, such as sports, dance, music, art, or relaxation techniques, designed to meet their specific physical or psychological needs.
  • Observe, analyze, and record patients’ participation, reactions, and progress during treatment sessions, modifying treatment programs as needed.
  • Develop discharge plans for patients.

Recreational Therapist Needed Skills

Recreational Therapists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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

  • Music Therapist (Rehabilitation)
  • Dance Therapist
  • Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
  • Child Life Therapist
  • Activity Therapist

Are There Job Opportunities 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.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Recreational Therapists in U.S.

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.

Recreational Therapist Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Recreational Therapists is somewhere between $29,590 and $77,050.

Salary Ranges for Recreational Therapists

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

How much do Recreational Therapists make in each U.S. state?

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

What Tools do Recreational Therapists Use?

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

Becoming a Recreational Therapist

Education needed to be a Recreational Therapist:

Recreational Therapist Degree Level

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

Recreational Therapist Work Experience

Where Recreational Therapists Work

Recreational Therapist Sectors

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

Recreational Therapist Industries

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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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