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Primary Speciality


Recreational Therapists plan, direct and coordinate treatment program based on recreation for patients with illness, injuries or disabilities. These therapists may use a variety of modalities; arts and crafts, music, dance, drama, games, sports, aquatics and community outings in order to help maintain or improve the patient’s physical, social and emotional well-being.

Most Recreational Therapists work full time in a variety of settings including nursing and residential care facilities, hospitals, substance abuse centers, special education departments, rehabilitation centers and parks and recreation departments. Some RT’s may spend a lot of time on their feet and may be required to lift heavy objects such as wheelchairs.



Employment outlook for the Recreational Therapists is projected to grow faster than the average of all occupations at the rate of 12% until at least 2024. As the Baby-boomer generation ages there will be more need for Recreational Therapists to help in the treatment of age-related illness and injuries as well as helping the elderly maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

Recreational Therapists job duties may include:

  • Assessing the patient’s needs through observation, medical records, testing and talking with other professionals, family members and the patient
  • Create a treatment plan and program to meet the patient’s needs and interests
  • Plan and implement interventions to prevent harm to the patient
  • Engage patients in therapeutic activities such as field trips and games
  • Help the patient with social skills to help them become or remain independent
  • Educate the patient on ways to cope with depression or anxiety
  • Evaluate treatments and interventions for effectiveness
  • Record and analyze the patient’s progress


Important Skills of the Recreational Therapist:

  • Leadership Skills: planning, developing and implementing intervention programs effectively as well as motivating patients to participate in therapeutic activities.
  • Compassion: therapist must be gentle, kind and sympathetic while providing support to patient and their family members. Patients may be under emotional stress or in pain.
  • Listening Skills: must be able to listen and comprehend the patient’s problems and concern. The therapist can then determine a program appropriate for that patient.
  • Critical Thinking Skills: Ability to think quickly about adaptations to activities when the patient’s plan requires adjustment.
  • Patience: may work with patients that require special attention and more time than others.
  • Speaking Skills: Good communication skills to communicate well with patients and be able to give clear, concise instructions during activities as well as instructions on healthy coping techniques.


To have a Nursing License is very Important. Following are the States which have Recreational Therapy License Boards and Associations.

Recreational Therapy - State Licensing Boards
•  Alabama •  Maine •  Puerto Rico
•  Alaska •  Maryland •  Rhode Island
•  Arizona •  Massachusetts •  South Carolina
•  Arkansas •  Michigan •  South Dakota
•  California •  Minnesota •  Tennessee
•  Colorado •  Mississippi •  Texas
•  Connecticut •  Missouri •  Utah
•  Delaware •  Montana •  Vermont
•  District Columbia •  Nebraska •  Virgin Islands
•  Florida •  Nevada •  Virginia
•  Georgia •  New Hampshire •  Washington
•  Guam •  New Jersey •  West Virginia
•  Hawaii •  New Mexico •  Wisconsin
•  Idaho •  New York •  Wyoming
•  Illinois •  North Carolina  
•  Indiana •  North Dakota  
•  Iowa •  Ohio  
•  Kansas •  Oklahoma  
•  Kentucky •  Oregon  
•  Louisiana •  Pennsylvania  
Recreational Therapy- Associations
•  Alabama •  Puerto Rico
•  Alaska •  Rhode Island

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