Also called: Activity Director, Recreation Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Rehabilitation Therapist
Produced by CareerOneStop
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While the word “therapist” might conjure up images of either an armchair in a quiet office, or treadmills in a clinic, recreational therapists actual work settings may include theaters, athletic fields, and swimming pools. Recreational therapists plan and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses. They use activities, such as drama and dance or sports and community outings, to improve a patient’s well-being. Their efforts help people reduce symptoms like depression and anxiety, and improve physical and mental abilities. Recreational therapists lead active lives— often meeting with clients at different locations. They lift heavy objects such as wheelchairs, and often physically assist patients. Treating patients with long-term, or complicated conditions takes resourcefulness, patience and above all— good communication skills. The difficulties their patients experience can sometimes weigh heavily on these therapists; they must be both compassionate and resilient. Recreational therapists are employed by hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, substance abuse treatment facilities, and parks and recreation departments. You will need a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy or a related field to enter this career. Many employers prefer to hire candidates with a certification. Providing their clients the opportunity to live with greater enjoyment and well-being is one of the meaningful rewards of being a recreational therapist.
What they do: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.
On the job, you would:
- Obtain information from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients, themselves, to assess patients' capabilities, needs and interests.
- Conduct therapy sessions to improve patients' mental and physical well-being.
- 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.
Math and Science
- sociology and anthropology
- therapy and counseling
- medicine and dentistry
- customer service
Arts and Humanities
- English language
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- talking to others
- looking for ways to help people
- understanding people's reactions
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
- notice when problems happen
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
- do two or more things at the same time
- pay attention to something without being distracted
People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Concern for Others
- Self Control
You might use software like this on the job:
Music or sound editing software
- Avid Technology Sibelius
- Patient electronic medical record EMR software
- Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School
- Educational, Guidance, School, & Vocational Counselors
- Occupational Therapists
- Preschool Teachers
- Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselors
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