Careers in Therapeutic Recreation

Resources to support you in moving from college to the workforce.

Therapeutic Recreation Specialists

Therapeutic recreation specialists use recreation as an intervention to promote independence, quality of life, and functioning for individuals with disabilities and other health conditions. Therapeutic recreation specialists assess physical, social, emotional, and cognitive needs and abilities and, with this information, develop individualized treatment plans and intervention strategies to support the individual's goals toward health and wellness. Therapeutic intervention is delivered through the full range of recreational activities including the arts, horticulture, sports, games, adventure recreation, and interactions with pets, among many other leisure interests.

Watch and listen to the video from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification to learn more about a therapeutic recreation specialist career:

Work Settings

Therapeutic recreation specialists work with all ages, from preschoolers to older adults, in three kinds of settings:

  • Clinical (rehabilitation, hospital)
  • Community (public parks and recreation, schools, camps)
  • Residential (long-term care)

    Job Outlook

    Employment for recreational therapists is expected to grow 17% from 2010 to 2020. 

    ~ Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics