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Recreational Therapist

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What Do Recreational Therapist Do?

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.

Recreational Therapist Responsibilities

  • Develop treatment plan to meet needs of patient, based on needs assessment, patient interests, and objectives of therapy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Develop discharge plans for patients.

Qualities of a Recreational Therapist

These are the skills Recreational Therapists say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Other Recreational Therapist Job Titles

  • General Activities Therapist
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Activity Coordinator
  • Adventure Therapist
  • Drama Therapist

Job Outlook for Recreational Therapists

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. There will be an estimated 1,200 positions for Recreational Therapist per 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 Average 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.

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

What Tools & Technology 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

How to Become a Recreational Therapist

Learn what Recreational Therapist education requirements there are.

Recreational Therapist Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Recreational Therapist Work Experience

Where do Recreational Therapists Work?

Recreational Therapist Sectors

Below are examples of industries where Recreational Therapists 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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