How Do I Get a Recreational Therapy Degree?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2019
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To get a recreational therapy degree, a student must be willing to devote time and effort to researching the available programs and completing the necessary course requirements. Since there are many different types of recreational therapy degrees, it is important for students to research the career options in the field, and determine the type of degree that matches career aims. Students must also be prepared to work hard to get good grades in all required classes, and be willing to spend many hours completing the practical training elements of the degree program.

The first step to getting a recreational therapy degree is to determine which program best suits your career goals. Some recreational therapy jobs are available to students who complete an associate's degree in the subject, but many more positions exist for those with a bachelor's or master's degree in recreational therapy. While not all universities offer a specific degree in recreational therapy, some may allow bachelor's degree candidates to get an equivalent general therapy degree with a concentration in recreational care. Most bachelor's degree programs require a three- or four-year commitment, while master's programs may take two to three years to complete.


Once admitted to a recreational therapy degree program, students must carefully construct their education to ensure that all necessary classes are completed. Core classes may need to be taken in a specific sequence, but required electives may be taken at the student's discretion. Before signing up for courses, it may help to create a degree plan that balances all required courses over the length of the degree program. Creating a degree plan early can prevent panic and overload in the last year of the degree program, allowing the student to meet all degree requirements at a steady pace.

Studying hard and completing all assignments is essential to receiving a recreational therapy degree. Common classes in recreational therapy include sociology, psychology, and anatomy courses, as well as electives in specific types of recreational therapy, such as pet-assisted therapy or dance therapy. In core classes, students may need to achieve a certain grade point average in order to be eligible for a degree. Forming study groups with other students is often a good way to review material and prepare for tests. If a student is having difficulty with a particular course, finding an experienced tutor or meeting with the teacher to discuss concerns may help alleviate the problem.

Most recreational therapists focus their educational efforts on a specific area of interest. Pets or animal training, fine art, fitness, and performance art can all be used to create a recreational therapy practice. To get a recreational therapy degree, it may be important for students to take electives in their chosen practice area, as well as fulfilling practical training hours. Training hours may be spent working in an existing recreational therapy program or assisting in research projects and psychological studies. By using training hours to get practical experience in a chosen area of interest, students can get a good head start on a professional career.


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