Recreation Therapy Certificate

recreation therapy certificate at university of st. Francis

Recreation therapists help people improve function through the activities they love. As a health care profession, recreation therapy provides career opportunities to serve people with disabling conditions through a variety of leisure activities, by maximizing their opportunities to participate in their communities, and thus impacting their overall quality of life. Check out the job outlook for recreation therapists!


Who can benefit from USF’s undergraduate certificate in recreation therapy?

  • Practicing professionals pursuing national certification, but are in need of specific content coursework
  • Recreation therapy practitioners in need of continuing education
  • Individuals with degrees in related fields who seek to become nationally certified in recreation therapy/therapeutic recreation


A Pathway to Certification

The USF Certificate Program in Recreation Therapy offers an avenue for working professionals to pursue the national Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential. The program offers therapeutic recreation content coursework which, in combination with a bachelor or higher degree, related coursework, and practical experience, meets the eligibility requirements to sit for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification CTRS exam. 



The online, undergraduate certificate program in Recreation Therapy is an accelerated program which can be completed in one year. The program includes five 8-week courses (3 credit hours each) and one 50 contact hour clinical field experience course (2 credit hours). Courses are designed around the content knowledge areas required for national certification.

Program requirements:
RSTM 210  Foundations of Recreation Therapy 3
RSTM 331  Recreation Therapy Program Planning and Evaluation 3
RSTM 333  Principles and Practices of Intervention in Recreation Therapy 3
RSTM 335  Recreation Therapy Assessment and Documentation 3
RSTM 392  Clinical Field Experience 2
RSTM 405  Issues and Trends in Recreation Therapy 3


National Certification

Courses are designed to meet recreation therapy content course requirements to sit for the national exam of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification via the Academic Path or Equivalency Path A or B. Equivalency Path A or B is typically practical for professionals working in recreation therapy services but lack a degree in recreation or leisure studies. Those who have previously earned a baccalaureate or higher degree in recreation or leisure may be eligible for the Academic Path. The program does not provide required support courses which can be met through related undergraduate degrees, community college courses, and online course offerings; nor does the program offer the practical experience requirements of Equivalency Path A or B (1 year supervised full-time paid experience; or 5 years of full-time paid experience). Students pursuing the academic path may request to separately enroll in RSTM 498-Advanced Field Experience as a special student.


Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Entry-level knowledge of the nature and scope of the recreation therapy/therapeutic recreation profession and its associated service delivery systems, and the foundations of the therapeutic recreation profession in history, theory, science, and philosophy.
  • Ability to assess, plan, implement, document, and evaluate recreation therapy/therapeutic recreation services that facilitate targeted outcomes, and that embrace personal and cultural dimensions of diversity.
  • Entry-level knowledge about management/administration of recreation therapy/therapeutic recreation services.



Dr. Syd Sklar, CTRS is the chair of the Department of Recreation and Sport Management. He coordinates the Certificate in Recreation Therapy and advises students in the program. Please contact Dr. Sklar if you have any questions at or 815-740-3691.