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Therapeutic Recreation also referred to as recreation therapy is a treatment service that provides treatments and recreation activities to individuals with illnesses or disabling conditions to improve or maintain physical, mental and emotional well-being and help reduce depression, stress and anxiety.

Recreational therapies help patients recover basic motor functioning and reasoning abilities, build confidence and socialize more effectively. Treatments may incorporate arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance and movement, drama, music and community outings.

A bachelor's degree in recreational therapy is required for most entry-level positions. These programs typically cover areas such as treatment and program planning, human anatomy, physiology, and professional ethics. Some programs offer the opportunity to specialize in the treatment of mental or physical disabilities. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who are Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS). Therapists become certified through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). To qualify for certification, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, pass a written exam, and complete an internship under the supervision of a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS .

Therapeutic Recreation at STAC
The Therapeutic Recreation major prepares students to work with people with physical disabilities, emotional disturbances, mental disorders, chemical dependencies, Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dual diagnosis populations. The three and four hundred level classes require students to do field work in the surrounding communities which slows students to put knowledge into practice.  In the capstone course, Therapeutic Recreation Internship (TR 411), our students commit a full 560 hours of service in any of the over 175 official sites that our college has established in the tri-state area. Our student graduates are well prepared; upwards of 90% of all TR students over the past 15 years have found full-time employment upon graduation.  The major balances book knowledge with class experientials and finally fieldwork to prepare our students upon completion of this program, which is certified under the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (

Students completing this curriculum will be eligible for the national certification
examination and will be eligible for employment as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation
Specialist (CTRS) in community and residential settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, developmental learning centers, nursing homes, senior centers, and camps serving people with disabilities.  Newsweek, in 2010, listed the field of Therapeutic Recreation as one of the top 15 growing professions across the United States.

Program Objectives

  • Understand the customs and practices of recreation in other nations and cultures. 
  • Promote the multi-cultural and multidimensional skills as they relate to the leisure needs of a particular society.
  • Understand and apply the new technologies recreation and leisure.
  • Participation by faculty and students in the professional organization for the purposes of fostering the specialist within the field via networking and keeping abreast with the most recent trends through continuing education.
  • Establish productive, cooperative, effective and professional working relationships with peers, senior levels of management, and other departments, vendors, clients, and consultants.
  • Understand current social issues and trends and their implications for recreation, leisure, play, and therapeutic recreation.
  • Understand basic medical terminology.
  • Understand the nature and etiology of disabling conditions.
  • Understand the variety attitudes towards illnesses and disabilities and their relationship to
  • Human behavior and interpersonal relationships.
  • Understand the roles, functions, and processes to interdisciplinary relationship and team planning and evaluating.
  • Process the knowledge of and the ability to utilize a variety of techniques designed to interpret therapeutic recreation to clients, colleagues, and the public through in-service and community educational programming.

Possible places of employment for those who study therapeutic recreation would include: After Care Agencies, Hospitals, Mental Retardation Centers, Non-Profit Agencies, Nursing Homes, Prisons, Public Recreation Centers, Rehabilitation Centers, School Districts, and Summer Camps.  For more information about what you can do with this major, visit our Career Services website

Profession Organizations
The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is the largest national membership organization representing the interests and needs of recreational therapists. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, a charter member of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA), also provides a certification that expires after 5 years. Those who are certified must apply for re-certification at the end of the expiration period.

Major Requirements.

Course Descriptions

Therapeutic Recreation Minor

Faculty-Therapeutic Recreation
Dr. Linda Levine-Madori, Professor of Therapeutic Recreation.


TTAP Method
Case Study Using the TTAP Method: Part 1
Case Study Using the TTAP Method: Part 2

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