The field of Recreational Therapy is steadily becoming more popular with those who are looking to enter into the job market. The reason is that this is a therapy that is unlike many other therapies in that it works to better the patient on a emotional, physical and mental level, instead of just focusing on one aspect only.
This is an ideal field for those that have a nurturing side and can communicate well with others as communication is a huge key in being a successful Recreational Therapist.
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What can you expect to study when going into Recreational Therapy?
Most of those who wish to make a career out of recreational therapy should strive to get their Bachelors degree. However, there are many certification programs out there that enable you to work in the field. But, for those that are wanting to fully experience the field and not be restricted on what they can and cannot do, then a full blown four year degree is best. Once you find a school, there are many courses that you are going to be taking. You will need to take the basic science courses that deal with biology and human anatomy in order for you to truly understand how the body works. However, on top of these you can expect to take classes that deal with Physiology, Abnormal Psychology, Ethics and Communication. You will also have to take many medical terminology classes as many times the therapist will be working one on one with the doctor in order to find the best route to treat a patient.
What to look for in a school that offers Recreational Therapy degrees
When looking for a school that offers a program in Recreational Therapy, you will want to make certain that the school is accredited. If you do attend a non-accredited school you cannot count on getting a job after graduation simply because an accredited school is making sure that students are learning that tasks that they will need in order to survive in the real world. Regional accreditation for the school is something that most people automatically assume when searching for a post secondary school. However, there are a few accrediting counsels that you should look for in regard to the Recreational Therapy program. For example, National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification will more times than not be the council that is accredited those certificate programs at a school. Since recreational therapy is a fairly new therapy, there are more accrediting councils that are popping up everywhere. The most commonly accepted accreditation is the National Recreation and Park Association’s Council on Accreditation. However, to be certain that you can work in the state of your choice, ask around to see where other people received their degree from and who was the accrediting committee for them.
In addition to schooling, there may be certain tests and license that one must obtain in order to work in the state of their choosing. This varies from state to state, so be sure to check with the governing authority on the matter.
Overview of Recreational Therapist
The interesting thing about becoming a Recreational Therapist is that the person will use unique ways in which to get these patients to respond to therapy. For example, a child who may have a learning disability may not respond to traditional therapy. It would be the job of the Recreational Therapist to seek a new way in which they could make the therapy more appealing to that individual patient. Therefore, in the field there is no set way on how to deal with one certain condition. Each patient is a new case in which the therapist must figure out just what to do for that person in order for them to succeed.
The work environment of a Recreational Therapist will vary. Many of these therapists work in independent offices and have the regular nine to five hours of work. However, other recreational therapists visit individual homes and work with the person there. There are also those that work in the school system with children that need the extra help. The most common complaints in regard to the work is the stress that the therapist endures, however, this is to be expected with any job in the health care system. Other complaints included back and neck injuries, as the therapist usually travels with quite a lot of equipment that they must lift back and forth to use with patients.
In general, salary wise, a Recreational Therapist can expect to earn around $34,000. Many people may earn as little as $17,000 when they are just starting. While others who have been in the field for many years may earn as much as $55,000.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
For those that have an interest in becoming a Recreational Therapist they should consider just how much they want to help someone. These people work everyday of the week and come up with new and unique ways in which to help people able to live a normal life.