Recreational Therapist Salary

Recreational Therapist Salary

Recreational therapists are skilled professionals who use various arts and art-related techniques in order to improve the emotional and the psychological state of their patients. It often happens that recreational therapists rely on sports and games to do that, and they commonly work in nursing homes, state owned hospitals as well as psychiatric hospitals and private clinics. The media yearly salary of a recreational therapist in the United States of America is of just under $43,000 a year, although some of them can make as much as $65,000 or even more.

Pay Scale In Different Parts Of The United States of America

It is a known fact that recreational therapists earn different wages across the United States of America, and it is said that these professionals earn the highest salary in the District of Columbia, where the median yearly wage is of $58,000. The states of California and Oregon are also paying their professionals very rewarding salaries: while California rewards them with over $57,000 a year, the state of Oregon offers them just over $51,000 a year. At the opposite end, there are the states of Montana and Mississippi, where recreational therapists tend to earn salaries that are just under the national averages.

Recreational Therapist Job Description

These professionals usually rely on the use of recreation activities, in the attempt to help those who suffer from various disabling conditions or illnesses to overcome their problem. That being said, you can find recreational therapists in a variety of different settings, from rehabilitation clinics, hospitals and assisted living facilities to private agencies as well as non-profit organizations.

Commonly known as therapeutic recreation specialists, the recreational therapists use a variety of techniques and treatment methods that involve drama, music, animals, crafts and arts and a plethora of other relaxing activities in order to improve the mental, emotional as well as the physical status of their clients. Most of the time, recreational therapists work with people who suffer from chronic depression or high levels of stress, as well as with those who have low self-esteem issues. Through arts and relaxation techniques, these specialists can help them overcome their personal problems and live a healthier, better, more satisfying life.

The duties and responsibilities of the recreational therapist can vary greatly depending on the work environment, given the fact that those who work for various rehab centers and hospitals tend to do it closely with nurses, social workers and other types of therapists, in order to provide patients with the utmost level of care.
These professionals may need to perform additional tasks as well, such as observing the behavior of the patients, using standard assessments or updating the medical records of patients. In most cases, recreational therapists teach their patients how to use different techniques and methods to relax and let off some steam, in order to cope with their problems and to get rid of the stress which can affect both their mental and their emotional state, in the long run.

How To Become A Recreational Therapist?

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recreational_therapyBecoming a reputable recreational therapist does require at least a Bachelor’s Degree in leisure studies or in any related field, although most of these professionals choose to take their career a mile further. Generally speaking, it is highly recommended to have some in-depth training in fields like human anatomy, psychiatric and medical terminology and the use of different high-end medical equipment.

In some cases, your employer might require you to also complete a CPR and a first aid certification, and to undergo some degree of specialized training in patient assessment.


Although certification is not necessary in order to work as a recreational therapist in the United States of America, some employers might ask you to be certified and besides, the job outlook is considerably better as well. The certification is provided by the NCTRC or the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, and in order to be eligible for the certification you must have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in the field and to complete an internship under the close supervision of the CTRS. Only after that you can sit for the final written exam.

Recreational Therapist Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom

In Canada, a recreational therapist makes around Ca$49,000 a year, while in Australia they have a median yearly wage of around Au$50,000 a year, followed by a salary that varies between 20,000 and as much as 40,000 pounds a year in the United Kingdom.

Verdict On Recreational Therapist Salary

To conclude, recreational therapists have a very rewarding salary for their work volume and for their education.