Starting a Rewarding Career in Recreational Therapy

If you love helping people who are either disabled or suffering from the long-term effects of an illness or injury, then a career in recreational therapy could be for you.

Recreational therapists are an important part of the medical community and typically find their work very rewarding.

Demand for this position has increased, so for anyone interested in providing this valuable service, there is no better time than the present to enroll in schools and graduate to start in this important but underappreciated profession to work.

What Recreational Therapists Do

A typical job description may include assisting patients such as the physically and mentally challenged, elderly patients, developmentally disabled children, emotionally challenged, and more.

The main meaning of the work is to encourage an active and interested participation of the patient through leisure activities – games, handicrafts, dancing, sports, games, excursions and other activities.

These activities help improve and maintain physical strength, motor skills and coordination, social skills, and emotional well-being. By helping people in need learn the same things that everyone else is learning and by helping them feel included in society, therapists play an important role in helping people with many different challenges lead happier and more productive lives.

Nursing and specialist nursing facilities employ many recreational therapists. Others find jobs in regular hospitals and surgical facilities. In addition, many find employment in government and private mental health and substance abuse facilities.

Depending on the type of facility an individual is employed at, the salary ranges from about $25,000 per year to over $63,000 per year. Currently, the average salary for recreational therapists is just over $40,000 per year.

become a recovery therapist

The requirements have recently changed. Today, there are two ways to become a certified and licensed recreational therapist, either through completing accredited programs or through work experience certification, although the former is much more preferred.

Associate’s degree programs exist, but students should be warned that they are being phased out; Most employers are therefore looking for graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree.

There are also masters and doctoral programs for those who want to get the most out of their education, but professionals are not required to have this degree to be certified, licensed, and employed.

Although it is not possible to earn an undergraduate degree online, many programs offer online portions; Some further training and advanced courses can also be completed in online format.

As with almost any other medical and healthcare profession, it is important to only attend accredited programs so students can be assured that they are receiving the most desirable and up-to-date education.

Failure to attend an accredited facility can affect a prospective recreational therapist’s ability to obtain certification, which can then negatively impact their marketability for job opportunities. Most facilities seeking recreational therapists are interested in hiring only certified individuals.

For this reason, students are strongly encouraged to confirm a program’s accreditation status before enrolling. The Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE) oversees the accreditation of recreational therapy programs.

Certification and Approval

To be legally employed as a recreational therapist, individuals must obtain recreational therapy certification and then apply for a license in their state.

The certification of these professionals is coordinated and overseen by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), and there are several avenues that can be followed to earn certification as a recreational therapist.

Although most people go to college and complete one of the many educational programs available, some candidates can earn certification if they have a bachelor’s degree that is not specific to recreational therapy but includes a specified number of recreational therapy courses and you also have work experience in this area.

Students who meet the certification requirements and pass the certification exam are then awarded the title of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. At this point, they can apply for a license and then seek employment.

Job growth is slightly faster than overall job supply, with estimates that the occupation will grow by 17 percent over the next few years (vs. 14 percent for jobs overall).

This means that students who meet their educational requirements and are certified and licensed as needed should have little trouble finding employment in their careers.

For those who are compassionate and enjoy helping those who need help in their daily lives, a career in recreational therapy can be a great option.

Thanks to James O Kirk | #Starting #Rewarding #Career #Recreational #Therapy

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