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Recreation Therapy
Associate in Applied Science
Curriculum code 1259
Course Requirements                   Public Service Web Site


The Recreation Therapy Program is for students interested in working with individuals with special needs. Students in this program gain hands-on experience and will be able to:

  • Assess patients based on information from medical records, medical staff, family and patients

  • Develop, carry out and evaluate therapeutic activity programs consistent with patient needs and interests

  • Observe and record patients' participation, reactions and progress

  • Plan and organize public relations techniques and strategies

  • Maintain, purchase and utilize equipment, supplies and facilities for special populations

Nature of Work—Recreation therapists work with individuals who have mental, physical or emotional disabilities. Treatment modalities are utilized to treat or maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well- being of consumers served. These interventions help individuals remediate the effects of illness or disability and achieve an optimal level of personal independence. The goals of interventions include improving physical, cognitive and social functioning.

Recreation therapists work as members of an interdisciplinary team. Relevant information about the patient is gathered from client assessment medical records, medical staff and family members. Individual treatment plans and programs are developed consistent with client need, abilities, and interests.

Employment OutlookOverall employment of recreational therapists is expected to grow by 15% from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations. In nursing care facilities the largest industry employing recreational therapists employment will grow slightly faster than the occupation as a whole, as the number of older adults continues to grow. However, employment is expected to decline in hospitals as services shift to outpatient settings and employers emphasize cost containment. Fast employment growth is expected in the residential and outpatient settings that serve disabled persons, the elderly, or those diagnosed with mental retardation, mental illness, or substance abuse problems. Residential facilities may include community care facilities for the elderly (which includes assisted-living facilities); residential mental retardation, mental health, and substance abuse facilities; and individual and family services (which includes daycare centers for disabled persons and the elderly). Opportunities should be best for persons with a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation or in recreation with an option in therapeutic recreation.

Health services facilities will support a growing number of jobs in adult daycare and outpatient programs offering short-term mental health and alcohol or drug abuse services. Rehabilitation, home healthcare, and transitional programs will provide additional jobs. The rapidly growing number of older adults is expected to spur job growth for recreational therapy professionals and paraprofessionals in assisted-living facilities, adult daycare programs, and other social assistance agencies. Continued growth also is expected in community residential care facilities, as well as daycare programs for individuals with disabilities.

Related Job TitleRehabilitation counselors, therapeutic recreation specialist, recreation and fitness workers, program specialist, activity director, program coordinator, director of activity services, therapeutic recreation supervisor, recreation therapist outreach coordinator, leisure education coordinator.

Earnings—Median annual earnings of recreational therapists were $39,410 in 2010. Source Bureau of Labor statistics, 2010-2011: www.bls.gov/oco (Recreational Therapists) The median salary in Chicago for recreation therapy is $51,561. Salaries range between $37,831 to $74,783. Source: Salary.com

For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Student Services Center, S202, (708) 974-5737, www.morainevalley.edu/jrc.

 
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