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Recreational Therapist Training

Most recreational therapists need a bachelorís degree in therapeutic recreation or a related field. Though less common, associateís, masterís, or doctoral degrees are also available.

Therapeutic recreation programs include courses in assessment, human anatomy, medical and psychiatric terminology, characteristics of illnesses and disabilities, and the use of assistive devices and technology. Bachelorís degree programs usually include an internship.

Most employers prefer to hire certified recreational therapists. Hospitals and other clinical settings often require certification by the NCTRC. The council offers the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential to candidates who pass a written certification exam and complete a supervised internship of at least 480 hours. 

NCTRC also offers specialty certification in five areas of practice: geriatrics, behavioral health, physical medicine/rehabilitation, developmental disabilities, or community inclusion services. Although therapists typically need at least a bachelorís degree in recreational therapy, in some cases therapists may qualify for certification with an alternate combination of education, training, and experience.

Some states require recreational therapists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. As of 2010, only Oklahoma, North Carolina, Utah, and New Hampshire required recreational therapists to hold a license. For specific requirements, contact the stateís medical board.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

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Recreational Therapist Training
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