What is a Recreational Therapist?

What is the RT Scope of Practice?

“The primary purpose of recreation therapy practice is to improve health and quality
of life by reducing impairments of body function and structure, reducing activity
limitations, participation restrictions, and environmental barriers of the clients
served. The ultimate goal of recreation therapy is to facilitate full and optimal
involvement in community life. The scope of recreation therapy practice includes all
patient/client services of assessments, planning, design, implementation, evaluation and
documentation of specific therapeutic interventions, management, consultation, research,
and education, for either individuals or groups that require specific therapeutic recreation
or recreation therapy intervention.
This scope of practice represents, at a minimum, the
process and knowledge base delineated in the most recent National Council for
Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) Job Analysis Study (Job Tasks and
Knowledge Areas for the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist) and delivered by a
CTRS consistent with professional standards of practice, and codes of ethics with the
intent of enhancing consumer safety.” (NCTRC)

Are there any state requirements/protections?

  • State licensure is required in:
    • District of Columbia
    • Utah
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • North Carolina
    • Oklahoma
  • States that offer Recreation Therapy as part of their medicaid waiver system
    • Delaware
    • Indiana
    • Oregon
    • Texas

How do I become a Recreational Therapist (CTRS)?

  • Earn a Bachelor or higher degree in Recreation Therapy (RT) or Therapeutic Recreation (TR) or minor/specialization in RT/TR from an accredited college or university that includes the following coursework:
    • 1 course (3 hours) in Recreation
    • 6 courses (18 hours) in RT/TR
    • 1 course (3 hours) in Anatomy & Physiology (or a course in Anatomy + a course in physiology)
    • 1 course (3 hours) in Human Growth & Development Across the Lifespan
    • 1 course (3 hours) in Abnormal Psychology
    • Complete a 560 hour & 14 consecutive week academic internship under the supervision of a CTRS at the internship site and at the academic institution.
    • Pass the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) exam from the NCTRC.
  • Please note that these are just the minimum requirements to take the CTRS exam. Many universities have additional requirements based on CARTE or COAPRT accreditation requirements.
  • Additionally, you should actively participate in recreation! You should be confident in at least 3 activity modalities. You should be confident enough to teach them to others, and adapt them for individuals with disabilities.

Looking for an educational program? Try Southern Illinois University’s RT Program!