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How to Write a Recreational Therapist Job Description Sample

A Recreational Therapist, or Recreation Specialist, treats physical and mental disabilities and injuries by using the process of assessment, intervention, planning, termination, and evaluation. Common responsibilities of a Recreational Therapist include setting attainable goals for patients, designing rehabilitation programs, and conducting therapy sessions.

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What does a Recreational Therapist do?

Recreational Therapists play an important role in improving patients’ social, physical, and emotional well-being. They work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, educational institutions, and in the private sector.

A Recreational Therapist’s day-to-day duties may include creating a recreational therapy plan, reporting on each patient’s status, helping patients perform activities, and discussing treatment with their family members. They use techniques that involve drama, music, sports, and aquatics to improve their patients’ quality of life. For example, a Recreational Therapist may teach a patient who is paralyzed on one side how to swing a golf club with the other. Additionally, Recreational Therapists teach recreational activities to patients with disabilities to help involve them in the community.

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Recreational Therapist Job Description Examples:

Recreational Therapist duties and responsibilities

A Recreational Therapist is responsible for a range of duties that may vary depending on the institution. They sometimes consult with other healthcare professionals regarding a patient’s condition. Recreational Therapist duties and responsibilities include:

  • Recording patients’ assessment progress and discharge status according to the institution’s policy
  • Designing life skill programs, leisure activities, and special programs for therapy
  • Coordinating care intervention with recreational therapy in collaboration with other healthcare professionals
  • Assessing reports from physiotherapists, teachers, physicians, and counsellors to determine a patient’s functioning level
  • Employing music, art and dance activities and specialized aqua therapy sessions
  • Teaching clients about injury prevention, treatment and promoting overall health
  • Observing and analyzing patients during treatment sessions
  • Staying up-to-date with new treatments and research development

Recreational Therapist skills and qualifications

Good communication and interpersonal skills can help Recreational Therapists work with patients, team members, and volunteers and succeed in their roles. Additionally, a Recreational Therapist can benefit from computer skills to record observations efficiently. Some essential skills for Recreational Therapists include:

  • Ability to multitask
  • Openness and sensitivity to different cultures
  • Time consciousness and the ability to respond swiftly in a crisis
  • Objectivity in handling difficult situations
  • Ability to work within teams and independently
  • Demonstrated organizational skills
  • Strong assessment skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge of best leisure activities for recreational therapy

Recreational Therapist experience requirements

Entry-level Recreational Therapists can be employed with less than two years of experience, provided they meet the proper education and training requirements. Senior-level Recreational Therapists need more than three years of experience. Candidates who have worked in different institutions can transfer their skills, adapt to a new environment, and work with patients with different disabilities. However, directly related experience is beneficial. For example, a Recreational Therapist working in a pediatric hospital should have experience working with children, preferably in pediatric rehabilitation.

Recreational Therapist education and training requirements

Successful Recreational Therapists typically have an educational credential in recreational therapy or recreation and leisure studies from an accredited university or program. Closely related fields like recreational studies and leisure can be acceptable with specialization in therapeutic recreation. Look for candidates who have earned certifications from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NTCRC), as this can prove their competence in the field. The NTCRC has a partnership with both the Canadian and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association.

Recreational Therapist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Recreational Therapist is $45,777 per year, depending on the location, experience, education and hiring company.

Job description samples for similar positions

If a Recreational Therapist is not quite what you are looking for, some related job description samples include:

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Recreational Therapist job description FAQs

What qualities make a good Recreational Therapist?

Successful Recreational Therapists are kind, gentle, and compassionate, since they provide support to patients who may sometimes be in pain or under emotional distress. They should also be creative to adapt to different schedules, especially when a patient’s schedule needs a change abruptly. Other qualities that make a Recreational Therapist stand out include patience and excellent leadership skills that enable them to work on different patients’ needs.

What is the difference between a Recreational Therapist and a Physical Therapist?

Include details about the type of clients or common disabilities you treat at your facility. This can attract the most qualified candidates and those with specializations relevant to your therapy center. Include any specific academic or work experience you require, and the soft and hard skills you’re looking for in a candidate, such as communication and patience. Highlight a competitive salary and provide an overview of benefits like healthcare insurance or pension programs that your organization offers to draw more candidates.

Job Description Examples

Need help writing a job description for a specific role? Use these job description examples to create your next great job posting. Or if you’re ready to hire, post your job on Indeed.

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