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Recreational Therapy Certification and Certificate Program Info

Read about certificate programs and certification information that is related to recreational therapy. Examine the prerequisites, coursework and employment outlook statistics.

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Essential Information

A recreational therapist uses recreational activities and exercises to treat individuals suffering from debilitating illness and disease. Recreational therapy certificate programs are aimed at aspiring recreational therapy aides, since recreational therapists must hold at least a bachelor's degree.

These workers implement a recreational plan of rehabilitation treatments and activities determined by recreational therapists in hospitals, out-patient clinics and other health care facilities. Recreational therapies may involve taking walks, participating in light sports or even playing board games with recovering patients.

Students of certificate programs may participate in internships as well as clinical practica. In some instances, these programs require home health aide certification and undergraduate degrees prior to admission. Recreational therapy aides may earn professional certification by passing a national examination.

Education Prerequisites

Some recreational therapy aide certificate programs require that incoming students have some professional experience and certification as home health aides. Others require students to have a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience as an occupational therapist assistant.

Program Coursework

Lecture courses in a recreational therapy aide certificate program focus on the foundations and practices of recreational therapy. Such courses include:

  • Philosophy of rehabilitation
  • Patient care and communication
  • Wellness and leisure
  • Recreational implementation
  • Recreational programming
  • Common patient conditions

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Recreational therapy aides provide assistance to licensed recreational therapists in a variety of locations:

  • Outpatient care clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • General hospitals
  • Substance abuse clinics
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Government and community facilities

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't publish information about recreational therapy aides, it does have data pertaining to the closely related field of occupational therapy aides. As of 2012, these aides earned hourly median wages of $12.91, per the BLS. Employment opportunities for occupational therapy assistants and aides were projected to increase 41% from 2010-2020, which is a faster-than-average rate.

Certification Options

Each state has its own requirements for recreational therapist aides as well as recreational therapists. Some states have associations, such as the North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association, that are specifically devoted to recreational therapy and offer certification examinations for aides. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification also offers national certification for recreational therapy assistants.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics