Therapeutic recreation is a rewarding field through which you’ll be able to help improve the physical, social, and emotional well-being of individuals living with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses through a variety of interventions.

What does it take to become a recreational therapist? We’re happy to share.

What type of educational background do I need to have?

To work in the field, you’ll need to have a bachelor's degree so you can qualify to take the national exam through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). After you pass the exam, you’ll be allowed to work as a practitioner and be considered a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, which also means you get to include CTRS after your name. Most organizations require their recreational therapy staff to be certified. 

What type of licenses and certifications are required to work in therapeutic recreation?

  • Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) National Certification
  • Only four states currently require a license: Utah, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Oklahoma

What types of jobs can I hold in this field?

The most common roles found in this field are recreation therapist, recreation supervisor, and recreation director.

What types of qualities are required to succeed in the field?

Successful professionals in the field usually have a genuine interest in helping others, enthusiastic attitude, friendly disposition, and the ability to listen. It’s also helpful if you’re organized, have well-developed time-management skills,  and can communicate well in verbal and written format. Luckily for you, those are all skills you can work on and develop at Springfield College. 

Why should someone come to Springfield College for their education in this field?

Students at Springfield College work with local organizations to gain hands-on experience in providing therapeutic programming. We currently have relationships with the City of Springfield and the Center for Human Development. Small class size allows students to work closely with professionals in the field and to hone their skills in program planning, interventions, evaluation, and documentation. 

Are there internship opportunities?

Yes!

Internship opportunities are available in several areas. Each year our department accepts new affiliation agreements with various organizations. Below are some areas in which students could receive an internship or career opportunity.

  • Long-term care and assisted living facilities
  • Hospitals and outpatient
  • Rehabilitation
  • Community centers
  • Corrections
  • Parks and recreation offices and departments (town, city, and state level)
  • Special Olympics
  • Paralympics
  • Adaptive Sport

What type of employment opportunities or advanced education have Springfield College alumni pursued in this field? 

Alumni have found employment in a variety of unique industries that require recreational therapy needs, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, parks and recreation offices, and the Special Olympics.

Some of our alumni go on to earn advanced degrees in behavioral health, recreational therapy, psychology, child-life studies, and occupational therapy. 

As a Springfield College therapeutic recreation student, you’ll be able to choose the career path that most interests you, with the ability to continue on to advanced education if you’re interested. Regardless of the field you choose, you’ll be making a difference in the lives of others daily. What can be better than that?

Studying Recreation Management At Springfield College