Job Outlook: Recreation Therapy

Job Outlook for Recreation Therapists

As the number of people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, grows, recreation therapists will be needed to help patients maintain their mobility, to teach patients about managing their conditions, and to help patients adjust recreational activities to meet physical limitations. Therapists will be needed also to plan and lead programs designed to maintain overall wellness through participation in activities such as camps, day trips, and sports.

Helping veterans manage service-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or injuries such as the loss of a limb. Recreational therapists can lead activities that help to reintegrate veterans into their communities and help them to adjust to any physical, social, or cognitive limitations. Therapists will also be needed to help healthy seniors remain social and active in their communities. Recreational therapy services can help the aging population to maintain their independence later in life.

Finally, as the U.S. population ages, more people will need recreational therapists to help treat age-related injuries and illnesses. Older people are more likely to suffer from stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and mobility-related injuries that may benefit from recreational therapy. Growth is expected in nursing care facilities, adult daycare programs, and other settings that care for geriatric patients.

—Source: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics


Job Availability and Salary

Nationally, jobs in recreation therapy are expected to grow faster than average job growth (United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).

“Employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. As the baby-boom generation ages, they will need recreational therapists to help treat age-related injuries and illnesses and to help them maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.”

The median annual salary for a recreation therapist was $44,000 in 2014 with the top 10 percent earning more than $69,200.