Recreational therapists, also known as therapeutic recreation specialists, plan, organize, direct, and monitor medically approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, clinics, and various community settings. These therapists use recreational activities to assist patients with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities to achieve the maximum possible functional independence. Recreational therapists hold about 19,800 jobs in the United States.
Minimum Education Level
Salaries of recreational therapists vary according to educational background, experience, certification, and region of the country. Recreational therapists had median earnings of $48,220 in May 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $30,880 a year, while the highest paid 10 percent earned more than $77,970 annually. Employment setting is als...
Working conditions vary, but recreational therapists generally work in a ward, a specially equipped activity room, or at a nursing home. In a community setting, recreational therapists may interview subjects and plan activities in an office, but they might work in a gymnasium, swimming pool, playground, or outdoors on a nature walk when leading activities. Therapists may also work on horse ranc...
The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment for recreational therapists will grow faster than the average for all careers through 2028. Increased life expectancies for the elderly and for people with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome will create opportunities for recreational therapists. Most openings for therapists will be in health care and assisted living facilities ...