Recreational Therapist

Occupation Information table
Overview: Recreational therapists plan, organize and direct medically approved exercises, crafts and social activities such as dancing, singing, etc. for patients in hospitals. Determine which activities have therapeutic benefits for patients.
Duties: They receive instructions from patients' physicians and psychologists suggesting what kinds of recreation will be most helpful for a patient.

They plan activities such as manual crafts, sculpting and social activities such as dancing and singing for individual patients or as a group activity.

They instruct the patients during the recreational activities and observes how receptive they are and what physical or emotional benefits they receive from the activities.

Prepare reports describing each patient's progress and response to recreational therapy. Meet with the medical team to review the patient's progress and future activities.

Degree(s): A.S. Music 
A.S. Dance 
Job Outlook: Employment in this field is projected to grow 9% to 13% from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average projected growth for all occupations.
Salary Range (National Average): $28,000 to $33,000
Education Level: Typically, a Bachelor’s Degree from a 4-year college (some are 5 years) is required to be considered for this occupation.
Additional Training/Education: A college degree in therapeutic recreation is the usual requirement for a hospital or clinic position. An associate degree with qualifying work experience is sufficient for recreational activity director positions in nursing homes, while a bachelor's is preferred by hospitals.
Recommended Skills:
  • Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.
  • Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.
  • Being aware of the reactions of others, and understanding why they react the way they do.
  • The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
  • Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.
  • Teaching others how to do something.
  • Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.
Recommended Values:
  • Being involved in helping other people in a direct way either individually or in a small group.
  • Doing something to contribute to the betterment of the world. Doing something for the greater good.
  • Having a job where you can spend a significant amount of time outside.

* National data collected by the Department of Labor in 2014 with projections through 2024. For New York green job information .

* For New York salary data information .

* For New York green job information .

Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.