Therapeutic Recreation

Use leisure activities to enhance people's physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being.

As one of only a handful of institutions in the country to offer a distinct major in therapeutic recreation, selecting Ithaca College for your studies in this discipline will open the door to you for unique and impactful experiences to prepare you for your professional career. In our program, you will learn how a recreational therapist uses both client-focused intervention techniques and evidence-based practice to enhance people's physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being through recreation and leisure-based activities.

A distinctive feature of our program is the opportunity for hands-on practice prior to graduation. At a long-term care facility you may involve a person in recreational interventions to reduce depression and increase socialization. At a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility you may help a person in recovery discover healthy leisure alternatives that promote wellness and self-esteem. At a community recreation center you may help involve a person with a disability in programs that build leisure skills, develop friendships, and enhance quality of life. At a hospital or rehabilitation center you may help a person with a traumatic injury develop functional skills necessary for successful community reintegration.

Therapeutic Recreation B.S. - Final entry term: Fall 2021

Students currently enrolled in this major will be supported through completion of their degree. (For degree requirements, please refer to the Ithaca College catalog for the year in which you declared the major.)

Our Educational Philosophy

A variety of experiential activities accompany your in-class learning. Your early coursework combines disability studies with hands-on activities. For an entire semester you'll be paired with a child with a developmental disability, participating in a swim program. Watch and listen to the video for a glimpse of this experience:

Next you'll build on this real-life experience by engaging in a 120-hour, service-learning experience that emphasizes programming and administration. You will conclude your studies with a semester-long internship at places such as the National Institutes of Health or Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, where you'll learn to develop treatment plans and intervention strategies.

Interdisciplinary collaboration is a special feature of our program. In our Center for Life Skills, you will work in interprofessional teams with other allied health disciplines such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology to provide services to community participants recovering from a stroke.

National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)

Our program prepares you to be a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with the completion of your bachelors degree and a passing score on the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam. The CTRS designation is the unifying credential for recreational therapists throughout the United States, Canada, and 15 other countries with approximately 16,000 Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (who hold active, inactive, or eligible for re-entry status) in the NCTRC registry.


RLS Department Office
G40 Hill Center
Ithaca College • 953 Danby Road • Ithaca, NY 14850