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Becoming a Recreational Therapist

Step by Step on How to Become a Recreational Therapist:

If an individual thinks that he or she is ready to get started down the path to a long and fruitful career in recreational therapy, there are certain steps that simply must be followed in order to ensure success. The first step is, of course, to research this career. Individuals should read all the positive and negative information they can find about life as a recreational therapist, be aware of the salary of the average recreational therapist, understand the different types of work and work environments in which recreational therapists may work, and, if possible, talk to people who are already working in the field. If, after obtaining all of this information, one is still interested in becoming a recreational therapist, then it is time to start looking for the right school.

If an individual does not already possess a bachelor’s degree, he or she will need to obtain one. The individual should look for schools that have strong and well respected recreational therapy programs. It is possible to step into the field of recreational therapy with a related but not exact degree, though this can be extremely difficult. The absolute best option is to get a recreational therapy degree. If an individual already has a bachelor’s degree, he or she should speak with a college advisor or someone who is knowledgeable about the field of recreational therapy and assess how the degree would fit into a career in recreational therapy. Some individuals may be able to get into a master’s recreational therapy program, while others may need to start from scratch and obtain a new bachelor’s degree.

Education will be a long process, of course, but once it is over, individuals will need to become licensed if their state so requires. Most states in the US, however, will not require licensure, but it is important for individuals to know and understand the rules regarding the practice of recreational therapy in their areas. After licensure or directly after education, depending upon the state where one resides, individuals should consider seeking certification. Most employers will not hire those individuals who are not properly certified, so this can truly be a “make or break” step for one’s career in recreational therapy.

Once an individual has a degree and is licensed (if required) and certified, he or she can begin looking for work. Entry level positions may not always be the most highly paid jobs in the field, but everyone has to start somewhere. Careers in recreational therapy are highly competitive, so once a job is obtained, individuals will need to continue working hard in order to prove themselves and to progress professionally.

Personality Traits of a Recreational Therapist:

Almost anyone with a decent amount of intelligence and a bit of dedication can fulfill the requirements necessary for becoming a recreational therapist. However, the career in itself simply is not for everyone. Those individuals who are more likely to be successful in the field will usually possess common personality traits including dedication, patience, diligence, empathy, kindness, compassion, and general strength of character. Individuals should also be organized and observant. Having these qualities is a good indication that one will be successful in the sometimes challenging world of recreational therapy.