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Salary of a Recreational Therapists


These are healthcare professionals providing services to people suffering from disabilities or illness. They specifically work on to improve the patient’s emotional and physical well being via arts, drama, music, dance, sports, games and field trips. They are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating recreation programs for the patients. 

Job Description:

Recreational therapists help the patients deal with the stress, anxiety, depression and help them recover from their illness or provide care and teach people with disabilities on how to integrate in the community and use community services and resources. They also help people suffering from substance abuse to deal with their daily lives and teach them new coping skills. They usually work alongside physicians, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists. They usually are responsible for planning of all the recreational facilities of the patients and help them deal with illness and disabilities in life through their extensive plans and teaching methodology.

Recreational Therapist- Education, Licensing and Certification:

Aspirants require a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation or a relevant field. Associate’s degree, Master’s and Doctoral degrees are also available but are less common. These programs usually include courses in human anatomy, psychiatric behavior, characteristics of illness and disabilities, use of assistive devices and technologies. These programs are also accompanied by internship programs under supervision to gain practical expertise.

Certification body for recreational therapists is the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Mostly all hospitals and other clinical settings require their recreational therapists to be approved by the NCTRC. In order to gain certification, a candidate must possess a relevant bachelor’s or associate’s degree along with 480+ hours of internship. They are also mandated to pass a written examination for getting certified.

Specialty Certification is also offered by the NCTRC for the certified recreational therapists in the field of geriatrics, physical medicine, rehabilitation, developmental disabilities and behavioral health.  Licensing is required by almost all states and laws vary as per the state.

Recreational Therapist Salary: Quick Summary

Average Salary Patterns around the World

1.    In USA:

2012 Mean Salary $42,940 per year 
Top 10% Salary More than $65,040 per year
Bottom 10% Salary Less than $25,620 per year
Number of Jobs, 2012 22,900

The average salary for a recreational therapist is around $42,940 a year nearly equal to 20.65$ an hour. The lowest 10th percentile works on a yearly wage of $25,620 and the top 10th percentile has an annual wage of $65,040. The hourly salary range for a recreational therapist lies between 12.32$ – 31.27$ an hour. 

2.    Recreational TherapistSalaries in Other Countries (UK, Canada and Australia):

Average Salary         C$45,000 per year


Average Salary £23,000 per year

                                                            (United Kingdom)

Average Salary              AU$44,500 per year


The average yearly wages for all the 3 nations above is nearly same. These are the base salaries of the recreational therapists and these does not includes the various benefits they get apart from this base salary like healthcare, social security, paid off-time, insurance and 401K. Australia offers a yearly wage of AU$44,500 per year whereas United Kingdom offers its recreational Therapists around £23,000 annually. The Canadian recreation therapist grosses about 45,000CA$ a year.

Conclusion for Recreational Therapist Job:

The growth rate for recreational therapists by the end of this decade is around 17% which is a healthy growth rate. It means a creation of 3,800 new jobs for them in the States by the end of this decade. This is a very humble, humanizing job and its demand in the near future is going to gradually increase.