Recreation Therapy Schools

Find out what training you might need to become a recreational therapist, also known as a therapeutic recreation specialist. Learn about degree options and professional certification, and get info on choosing a school for your recreation therapy studies. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Recreation therapy consists of coursework in areas like kinesiology, research and the assessment of clientele. Online options are available for degree programs at the master's level. Undergraduate programs can be found fairly easily.

What Do Undergraduate Programs in Recreation Therapy Entail?

Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation programs are widely available through 4-year colleges and universities. In addition to general education courses, these programs cover topics like kinesiology, client assessment, working with the disabled and research techniques. Completion of a clinical internship is usually required. In rare cases, you may be able to complete some required coursework online, but most programs are only offered in campus-based formats.

What Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Recreation Therapy?

Students can study recreation therapy via these bachelor's degree programs. Included is a program in therapeutic recreation which goes above and beyond the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) requirements.

  • Nova Southeastern University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in recreational therapy
  • East Carolina University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in recreational therapy
  • Temple University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in therapeutic recreation

Are Graduate Programs Available?

If you want to study beyond the undergraduate level, you might consider pursuing a Master of Science in Recreational Therapy. These programs take 2-3 years to complete and include courses in recreation administration, research methods and advanced therapeutic techniques. You can often tailor your curriculum to emphasize an area of interest. Most programs culminate in either a thesis project or an internship.

What Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Recreation Therapy?

Advanced degrees in recreation therapy are available at the graduate level in various formats.

  • Clemson University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in recreational therapy with an online option
  • California State University offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in recreation administration
  • The University of Wisconsin -La Crosse offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in therapeutic recreation

What Should I Look for in a School?

When researching recreation therapy programs, consider what kinds of hands-on experiences the school offers. For example, depending on your interests, you might select a school that allows you to work with the elderly or disabled. You should also make sure that the program you choose helps you meet all national certification requirements, since many professionals in this field are certified. Other considerations might include the reputations of recreation therapy faculty members or a school's location.

How Can My Education Lead to a Career?

After earning a bachelor's or master's degree in this field, you could work in a range of settings, from schools to juvenile facilities to psychiatric hospitals. If you specialize in working with children, you may help kids with special needs transition into adult life through the use of recreation. Recreational therapists also work with older adults who have limited mobility due to aging or disease.

In order to qualify for some positions, you may need to earn a professional credential through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. You can earn the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist designation by completing at least a bachelor's program in the field, a 480-hour internship and an exam. Licensure as a recreation therapist is required in a few states as well.

Interested individuals who want to study recreation therapy have the opportunity to do so at the undergraduate and graduate level. Therapeutic recreation is another name for the area of study.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

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    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master

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  • The George Washington University

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    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
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  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
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  • Kaplan University

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  • University of Delaware

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    • Master

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  • Capella University

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  • Indiana Wesleyan University

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    Popular programs at Indiana Wesleyan University:

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  • Herzing University

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  • Regent University

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  • Keiser University

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