, also referred to as recreation therapy
and therapeutic recreation
, is a treatment
This is a list of types of therapy .* Adventure therapy* Animal-assisted therapy* Aquatic therapy* Aromatherapy* Art and dementia* Art therapy* Authentic Movement* Behavioral therapy* Bibliotherapy* Buteyko Method* Chemotherapy...
service that provides treatments and recreation activities to individuals with illnesses or disabling conditions to improve or maintain physical, mental and emotional well-being and help reduce depression, stress and anxiety.
Recreational therapies help patients recover basic motor functioning and reasoning abilities, build confidence and socialize more effectively. Treatments may incorporate arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music and community outings.
A bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...
in recreational therapy is required for most entry-level positions. These programs typically cover areas such as treatment and program planning, human anatomy
Human anatomy is primarily the scientific study of the morphology of the human body. Anatomy is subdivided into gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy. Gross anatomy is the study of anatomical structures that can be seen by the naked eye...
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...
, and professional ethics
Professional ethics encompass the personal and corporate standards of behaviour expected of professionals.- Professional ethics :Professional people and those working in acknowledged professions exercise specialist knowledge and skill...
. Some programs offer the opportunity to specialize in the treatment of mental or physical disabilities. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who are Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS). Therapists become certified through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). To qualify for certification
Certification refers to the confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit...
under the Academic Path, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in TR, complete an internship under the supervision of a CTRS, and pass a written exam. There is also an Equivalency Path A and B for certification. The requirements are slightly different and include a bachelor's degree outside of TR, paid work experience, and successful completion of the written exam.
The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) and the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) are the largest national membership organizations representing the interests and needs of recreational therapists in the U. S. and Canada. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, a charter member of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), also provides a certification that expires after 5 years. Those who are certified must apply for re-certification at the end of the expiration period. Specialty certification is now available in 5 areas. Health and human service professionals who acquire a higher level of knowledge and and more advanced skills provide the consumer with a greater depth of service compared to individuals who practice at less advanced levels. Specialization is well recognized within professional practice and has become the norm within the health and human service delivery system today. The median salary for recreational therapists in the United States was estimated $44,839 a year in 2011. This number may vary slightly based on specific geographic region, years of experience, and type of employing agency. Academic programs in recreational therapy can be found throughout the USA and Canada.