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Recreational Therapist

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What Do Recreational Therapist Do?

Position 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

  • Develop treatment plan to meet needs of patient, based on needs assessment, patient interests, and objectives of therapy.
  • Observe, analyze, and record patients’ participation, reactions, and progress during treatment sessions, modifying treatment programs as needed.
  • Develop discharge plans for patients.
  • Conduct therapy sessions to improve patients’ mental and physical well-being.
  • Obtain information from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients themselves to assess patients’ capabilities, needs and interests.
  • 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.

Recreational Therapist Required 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

  • Recreation Therapist
  • Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
  • Therapist
  • Ecotherapist
  • Child Life Therapist

What Kind of Recreational Therapist Job Opportunities Are There?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 19,200 jobs in the United States for Recreational Therapist. 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. 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 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 Salary

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

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 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 to Become a Recreational Therapist

What education is needed to be a Recreational Therapist?

Recreational Therapist Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Recreational Therapist?

Recreational Therapist Work Experience

Where Recreational Therapists Are Employed

Recreational Therapist Sectors

Recreational Therapists work in the following industries:

Recreational Therapist Industries

Those thinking about becoming a Recreational Therapist might also be interested in the following careers:

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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