Recreational Therapists

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Also known as:
Certified Recreational Therapist, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, CTRS, Drama Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

ABOUT RECREATIONAL THERAPIST CAREERS
Video transcript

A recreational therapist is rewarded with small successes that make big differences in a patient's life: the smile of a stroke victim, who finds she can move her stiff, cramped hand; the pride of a patient in a psychiatric ward, who creates a work of art.

With America's aging population, there is a new focus on long-term care. As a result, more physical and psychiatric rehabilitation will be needed in the years ahead. They use a variety of techniques to help people with disabilities, illnesses, or other problems use their minds, hands, feet, and whole bodies.

Through movement, games, art, and music, a recreational therapist can renew the spirit of someone discouraged by a daunting challenge. Though a background in some aspect of recreation is helpful, this is a health care profession. Employment is found in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, adult day service centers, or in school districts helping special education departments, or you might be assigned by a physician to visit a recovering patient at home.

Certified therapeutic recreation specialists must have a bachelor's degree, pass an exam, and complete an internship of at least 360 hours. College programs often include the internship placements as part of the course work. If you are patient, tactful, persuasive, and creative, this career choice offers the opportunity to make a positive difference in many lives.

SNAPSHOT
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 crafts. May assess a patient condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
LOW
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Develop discharge plans for patients.

Prepare and submit reports and charts to treatment team to reflect patients' reactions and evidence of progress or regression.

Confer with members of treatment team to plan and evaluate therapy programs.

Counsel and encourage patients to develop leisure activities.

Obtain information from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients, themselves, to assess patients' capabilities, needs and interests.

Observe, analyze, and record patients' participation, reactions, and progress during treatment sessions, modifying treatment programs as needed.

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.

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.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Scheduling Work and Activities Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Therapy and Counseling Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
TOP SKILLS
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.
Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.