Recreation Therapy

Imagine yourself as the therapist clients want to see!

Recreation therapists help people improve functioning by engaging them in 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.



a picture of a therapist helping a child with a mixing bowl for baking.What do Recreation Therapists do?

Recreation therapists use activity and community-based interventions (such as arts and crafts, sports, exercise, games, music, dance, drama, and community outings) to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and leisure needs of their clients. Therapists help clients develop knowledge, skills and behaviors for daily living, health and wellness, and rewarding community involvement. The therapist works with the client and family to incorporate specific interests and community resources into therapy to improve overall quality of life.


Where do they work?

Recreation therapists work in a variety of clinical and community-based settings, including: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities, behavioral health, substance abuse treatment, park and recreation departments, schools and special education departments, and camps. Check out the job outlook for recreation therapists.


Recreation Therapy at USF

picture of a girl climbing a rope wall.The only nationally-accredited program of its kind in the Chicago area, USF’s Recreation Therapy program will prepare you as a competent entry-level recreation therapist, marketable across a range of job opportunities and settings. The program offers a personalized approach to both traditional and transfer students, including the opportunity to gain hands-on learning while working closely with faculty. Hallmarks of the program include small classes, and field placements where students gain practical work experience. Certified and nationally recognized faculty personally advise students.


Get Certified

USF’s curriculum prepares students to take the national exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), as administered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. The CTRS is the primary credential employers require of recreation therapists. The hands-on program culminates in a full-time internship placement working under the guidance of a seasoned professional.


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