Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

Therapeutic Recreation Specialist

Therapeutic recreation specialists assist people who are challenged by disabling conditions that interfere with their ability to participate independently in recreation and leisure. They help these individuals to overcome social, emotional, psychological or environmental barriers. Therapeutic recreation specialists may specialize in adapted
aquatics, wheelchair sports, outdoor adventure activities or horticulture therapy.

Therapeutic recreation specialists:
• assess clients’ needs and functional abilities.
• plan and implement goal-oriented programs.
• document clients’ progress.
• monitor and perform quality assurance activities.
• lead leisure awareness, skill development, resource identification
and community integration activities.
Therapeutic recreation specialists work in physical rehabilitation hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, mental health agencies, community recreation agencies, child and adolescent treatment centers, nursing homes and retirement communities, outpatient and day treatment programs, correctional facilities and long-term care hospitals.

Average Salary Range
$18,300 – $36,000
Educational Requirements
Students interested in the field of therapeutic recreation should take the most challenging high school courses available in science, math, English and psychology. Experience in a variety of recreational activities and in assisting persons with disabilities may be helpful. Students must complete a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation or recreation and leisure with an option from an accredited college, apply for certification and pass a national exam. Master’s and doctoral degrees also are available. Individuals should be creative, innovative and organized.

Professional Associations

American Therapeutic Recreation
1414 Prince St., Suite 204
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-9420

National Recreation and Park Association
22377 Belmont Ridge Road
Ashburn, VA 20148-4501
National Council for
Therapeutic Recreation Certification
7 Elmwood Drive
New City, NY 10956
(845) 639-1439