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Recreational Therapists

Recreational Therapists
Quick Facts : Recreational Therapists*
2010 Median Pay$39,410
Entry Level EducationBachelor's degree
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 201222,400
Job Outlook17% (About as fast as average)
Employment Change3,800

Recreational therapists plan, direct, and coordinate recreation programs for people with disabilities or illnesses. They use a variety of techniques, including arts and crafts, drama, music, dance, sports, games, and field trips. They work with patients of all ages and abilities to help them maintain or improve their physical and emotional well-being.

What Recreational Therapists Do

  • Work with other healthcare professionals to form treatment plans
  • Create programs that meet clients' needs and interests
  • Engage clients in activities, such as games, drama, and field trips
  • Help clients learn social skills needed to become or remain independent
  • Explain to clients ways to cope with anxiety or depression

Work Environment

Recreational therapists work in a variety of settings and may arrange to have activities both indoors and outdoors. Most therapists work full time.
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Job Outlook

Employment of recreational therapists is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2010 to 2020, as people age, their declines in general physical ability, and sometimes mental ability, which may call for recreational therapy services.
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In May 2010, the average salary of recreational therapists was $39,410.
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Recreational Therapists*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Recreational Therapists


Healthcare Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Recreational Therapists*
Percent Change in Employment

Recreational Therapists


Healthcare Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Recreational Therapists

Most recreational therapists need a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation or a related field. Though less common, associate's, master's, or doctoral degrees are also available, and bachelor's degree programs usually include an internship.
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