Recreational Therapists

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Therapist
  • Therapeutic Specialist
  • Therapeutic Riding Instructor
  • Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
  • Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Recreational Therapy Technician
  • Recreational Therapy Aide
  • Recreational Therapist
  • Recreation Therapist
  • Recreation Director

What They Do

  • 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.
  • Instruct patient in activities and techniques, such as sports, dance, music, art or relaxation techniques, designed to meet their specific physical or psychological needs.
  • Counsel and encourage patients to develop leisure activities.
  • Obtain information from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients themselves to assess patients' capabilities, needs and interests.
  • Prepare and submit reports and charts to treatment team to reflect patients' reactions and evidence of progress or regression.
  • Develop treatment plan to meet needs of patient, based on needs assessment, patient interests and objectives of therapy.
  • Plan, organize, direct and participate in treatment programs and activities to facilitate patients' rehabilitation, help them integrate into the community and prevent further medical problems.
  • Observe, analyze, and record patients' participation, reactions, and progress during treatment sessions, modifying treatment programs as needed.
  • Conduct therapy sessions to improve patients' mental and physical well-being.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Things They Need to Be Able to 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.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $45,520 with most people making between $27,120 and $68,950

Outlook

0.00%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 22,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 26,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 0 openings due to growth and about 11,000 replacement openings for approximately 11,000 total annual openings.