In the Air Force:
Occupational Therapist; Physical Medicine; Physical Medicine Apprentice; Physical Medicine Apprentice, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Craftsman, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Helper; Physical Medicine Helper, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Journeyman, Orthotic; Physical Medicine Manager; Physical Medicine Superintendent; Physical Therapist
In the Army:
Medical Specialist Corps Officer; Occupational Therapy; Occupational Therapy Specialist; Physical Therapy
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 crafts. May assess a patient condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.
On the job, you would:
Instruct patient in activities and techniques, such as sports, dance, music, art, or relaxation techniques, designed to meet their specific physical or psychological needs.
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
Education and Training
teaching and course design
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
looking for ways to help people
changing what is done based on other people's actions
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
use rules to solve problems
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.