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Recreational Therapists

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Life As a Recreational Therapist

Job Description & Duties 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.

What do Recreational Therapists do On a Daily Basis?

  • Prepare and submit reports and charts to treatment team to reflect patients’ reactions and evidence of progress or regression.
  • Counsel and encourage patients to develop leisure activities.
  • 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.
  • Develop discharge plans for patients.
  • Plan, organize, direct, and participate in treatment programs and activities to facilitate patients’ rehabilitation, help them integrate into the community, and prevent further medical problems.
  • Obtain information from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients themselves to assess patients’ capabilities, needs and interests.

Things a Recreational Therapist Should Know How to Do

Below is a list of the skills most Recreational Therapists say are important on the job.

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

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

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.

Types of Recreational Therapists

  • Child Life Therapist
  • Horticultural Therapist
  • Certified Recreational Therapist
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Activity Coordinator

Recreational Therapist Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 19,200 jobs for Recreational Therapists in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.5% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,300 new jobs for Recreational Therapists by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,200 job openings in this field each year.

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

The states with the most job growth for Recreational Therapists are New York, Texas, and California.

Watch out if you plan on working in Alabama, Wyoming, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Recreational Therapists Make A Lot Of Money?

The salary for Recreational Therapists ranges between about $29,590 and $77,050 a year. The median salary is $47,860.

Salary Ranges for Recreational Therapists

How much do Recreational Therapists make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$75,810

District of Columbia

$68,430

Washington

$59,860

Connecticut

$59,450

Nevada

$58,480

New Jersey

$58,220

Massachusetts

$55,570

Hawaii

$55,470

Oregon

$55,410

New York

$55,370

Minnesota

$54,660

Iowa

$52,470

Michigan

$51,280

South Dakota

$50,480

Wyoming

$50,170

Arkansas

$50,170

Arizona

$49,440

Maine

$49,390

Rhode Island

$49,310

Colorado

$49,300

Maryland

$48,690

Florida

$48,290

Utah

$48,230

North Carolina

$47,600

Virginia

$47,590

New Hampshire

$46,660

Illinois

$46,620

Delaware

$46,320

Missouri

$46,000

Pennsylvania

$45,900

Ohio

$45,750

Kentucky

$45,330

Wisconsin

$44,970

Montana

$44,730

Georgia

$43,950

North Dakota

$43,910

Vermont

$43,120

Texas

$43,070

Alabama

$42,860

Indiana

$42,280

South Carolina

$42,240

Tennessee

$41,660

Louisiana

$41,180

Idaho

$40,770

Nebraska

$39,420

New Mexico

$38,680

Mississippi

$38,470

Oklahoma

$37,760

Kansas

$35,850

Tools & Technologies Used by Recreational Therapists

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

  • Data entry software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

Where Recreational Therapists Are Employed

Recreational Therapist Sectors

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

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

  • Special Education Teachers, Secondary School

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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