Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) Education

Certified therapeutic recreation specialists develop recreation programs designed to help people improve their physical and emotional well-being. Find out the education options and certification requirements for becoming one of these specialists. Schools offering Allied Health degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) Education Is Available?

If you intend to earn certification, you need at least a bachelor's degree. You can also earn a master's degree, which usually takes about two years. Your program may rely on hands-on training for recreational or leisure activities. You also gain interpersonal experience by communicating with and assisting patients. Since your program may require clinical work or internships, you won't be able to find any schools offering distance education or online programs.

Requirements for CertificationBachelor's degree, optional master's degree, internships
Common Course TopicsTherapeutic interventions, wellness education, health research, patient needs, disabilities and adaptations
CertificationCan obtain certification through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation
Job Outlook (2016-2026)7% growth (for recreational therapists)*
Median Salary (2018)$47,860 (for recreational therapists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics'

What Courses Can I Expect?

Your education can teach you how to interact with patients, work with various types of disabilities, recognize patient needs, tailor plans to patient needs and work in different environments. You may also study sports and outdoor recreation.

If you are pursuing a bachelor's degree, you might complete courses in human development, medical terminology, disabilities and adaptation, human anatomy, physiology, therapeutic interventions, arts and crafts, physical fitness, professional foundations and wellness education. In a master's degree program, you might study topics like quality of life, administration, health research, program development, philosophy, agency promotion, health statistics and leisure issues.

How Do I Earn Certification?

You can find certification through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) offering the CTRS designation. In order to take the certification exam, you're required to have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited program. If you decide to apply for certification while still in school, you need at least 90 credit hours. You also must complete at least 480 hours of practice under professional supervision.

When you take the CTRS exam, you may be asked questions regarding theories, concepts, plan development, plan implantation, documentation, group interaction, therapeutic strategies, patient assessment, anatomy, legislation, patient testing and administration tasks. After five years of maintaining certification, you are required to renew your certification by retaking the exam or completing continuing education requirements.

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:

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