BS Recreational Therapy

The Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Leisure Studies with an emphasis on Recreational Therapy prepares students for careers in the healthcare industry in either a clinical or community-setting serving individuals with a wide variety of disabling conditions from ages birth to older adult. As therapists, they would conduct clinical assessments, write treatment plans, document, and lead and facilitate interventions.

Recreational therapy (RT), also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being. –American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA)

Key Program Features

Demonstrate the ability to work with individuals with a variety of disabilities/impairments throughout the lifespan

Demonstrate the ability to conduct, analyze and interpret clinical assessments, plan and implement RT interventions, develop & write an individualized treatment plan, write clinical documentation notes, and evaluate client outcomes

Be eligible to sit for the NCTRC national certification exam and upon passing this exam, apply for NCBRTL licensure (requirement if practicing in North Carolina)

Program Details

At UMO, the Recreational Therapy curriculum was redesigned to include more courses than the minimum required for national certification, incorporating the latest in teaching modalities and textbooks.

Recreational Therapy majors are able to experience hands-on learning through field trips, attending conferences and training in the field and community. Recreational Therapy students will complete a field training class where they will complete 120 hours at an agency working with individuals with disabilities. Upon completion of coursework, students will complete a 15-week clinical internship under the supervision of a nationally certified and state licensed recreational therapist.

The degree attracts outgoing, highly motivated, organized individuals and is considered a helping/service profession.

After the 15-week clinical internship, students will be prepared to sit for the national exam to become state licensed and nationally certified.

A qualified recreational therapist is someone who is nationally certified as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), usually referred to as Recreational Therapists. Qualified professionals are certified through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), which requires a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university, a formal internship and the passing of a national certification examination. A CTRS must maintain their credential every five years through the NCTRC recertification process. Academic programs in Therapeutic Recreation or Recreational Therapy emphasize course work in the physical, biological, and behavioral sciences and recreation and leisure theory. Some states such as North Carolina require a license to practice.

UMO Recreation and Leisure studies students have the possibility to earn two separate scholarships during their tenure with the university. The RLS department recognizes annually, The Most Outstanding Senior, and The Most Promising Underclassman. These students are awarded a $500 scholarship to be used towards tuition expenses. Opportunities also exist for students to obtain scholarships and recognition through the state and national recreational therapy professional associations.

More Information

Foundation Course (3SH)

  • PED 141 Introduction to Exercise Science

Core (19SH):

  • RLS 201 Intro to Research & Writing in RLS
  • RLS 230, 231, 232 Field Training
  • RLS 310 History & Philosophy of Rec/Leisure
  • RLS 320 Program Planning & Leadership
  • RLS 400 Research Methods OR CJC/SOC 401 Research Methods for Social Science
  • RLS 420 Management of Recreation & Leisure
  • RLS 430 Senior Seminar

Emphasis (40SH):

  • HLH 211 Medical Terminology
  • RLS 305 RT Populations & Services
  • RLS 325 RT Interventions & Techniques
  • RLS 340 Trends & Issues in RT
  • RLS 416 Treatment Programming in RT
  • RLS 418 Client Assessment in RT
  • RLS 441 RT Pre-Internship Seminar
  • RLS 450 RT Internship (15 weeks)
  • PSY 240 Lifespan Development
  • PSY 355 Abnormal Psycholog

Most recreational therapists are employed by health care agencies and work in traditional inpatient hospitals or health facilities but an increasing number are being hired in residential facilities, community mental health centers, adult day care programs, substance abuse centers, hospice care, community centers, and in school systems. There is a growing trend for recreational therapists to work in private practice providing services in the home and community as well.

Different settings where you can find recreational therapists working: