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Pennsylvania Recreational Therapist licensing

Recreational therapy is a career field that has a good job outlook for many sectors and a declining outlook for others.  The usual requirement for many of the jobs in this career path is that you obtain a bachelor’s degree in the therapeutic recreation major concentration but in some states there is the possibility of having to obtain a license to practice as well.  Many entry level positions also only require a bachelor’s degree but some other positions people desire to work in require more educational training than this.  In addition to this others can qualify with an equivalent degree of training that does not involve getting a degree but the amount who are eligible to take this path are few.  There are many programs available in the US that can prepare people to work in this career if they are willing to seek them out.  The first step that many take is to enroll into a bachelor’s degree program geared toward recreational therapy at a local college or university.  In addition to this others may decide to take courses online in order to reach the same end.  The courses that you will take when in school usually include those in the proper treatment of patients, assessment, program planning, and evaluation as well as intervention designing.   Students that are in the bachelor’s degree stage can also go through classes such as physiology, medical and psychiatric terminology, as well as anatomy to name a few.  These classes will all play a part in the licensing procedure you will eventually have to go through to practice in Pennsylvania.  For more specific requirements in reference to licensing in your area you can visit the state medical board’s site.

When it comes to getting certification to work in the field of recreational therapy some state’s make this voluntary but almost all jobs in the field require that you are certified in order to practice. If you have gone through your undergraduate stage of training and are looking forward to your certification procedure then there are a few additional things that are required including training in clinical settings.   This training can be as long as 480 hours which you must complete through taking an internship.  In addition to this a written exam is required as well.  Obtaining your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is usually required before applying for your certification as well even though there are cases where a person has an equivalent amount of training and therefore does not need to pursue a bachelor’s, but this is rare.  In addition to this you can contact the national recreational therapist board for additional requirements that you may need for continued certification.

In addition to getting certified to practice general recreational therapy, you can get certified for a specific type of therapeutic practice.  This can include things such as music therapy or art therapy.  Getting certification for a specific type of recreational therapy can exclude you from many job options in the field but on the positive side, when you concentrate your skills you may end up making substantially more as a specialist.  This can also be beneficial to your schedule as specialists can have more leeway when it comes to setting appointments to treat clients, but it is up to you whether you want to pursue this type of certification or not.

If you are planning on becoming a recreational therapist it is necessary to assess your personality type before going through the whole process and then deciding it is not right for you.  Recreational therapy requires that a person be comfortable working in close proximity to people that are disabled or that could be seriously ill.  Some other characteristics that it is good for a recreational therapist to have are patience and a good imagination.  This is because it may take some time to figure out how to best approach a situation with a client that is not improving using certain techniques.  You may need to also have a physical coordination skills in order to plan and participate in the various activities that you need to in order to help the patients you will eventually have after being licensed