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Recreational Therapist Job Description and Top Skills

Team Glider

Updated on February 14, 2024

What is a Recreational Therapist?

A recreational therapist, also known as a therapeutic recreation specialist, is a trained and certified healthcare professional who utilizes recreational activities, games, arts and crafts, sports, and leisure pursuits to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals with disabilities, illnesses, or injuries. Recreational therapists collaborate with clients, families, and interdisciplinary care teams to assess needs, develop personalized treatment plans, and implement evidence-based recreational interventions to achieve therapeutic goals and enhance overall well-being.

Recreational Therapist Job Description

We are currently seeking enthusiastic and dedicated recreational therapists to join our healthcare team and provide meaningful therapeutic activities to enhance the well-being and quality of life for our clients. As valued members of our interdisciplinary care team, successful candidates will utilize recreational and leisure activities to promote physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning in individuals across various clinical settings.

As a recreational therapist, you will have the opportunity to create and facilitate engaging recreational programs and activities tailored to clients’ interests, abilities, and therapeutic goals, fostering enjoyment, independence, and meaningful participation in leisure pursuits.

The ideal candidates will possess creativity, empathy, and a passion for using recreation as a therapeutic modality to support individuals’ holistic health and wellness.

What Does a Recreational Therapist Do?

  • Assess Client Needs: Conduct comprehensive assessments of clients’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning, including leisure interests, preferences, and therapeutic goals, to develop individualized recreational therapy treatment plans tailored to clients’ unique needs and strengths.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary care teams, including physicians, psychologists, social workers, and allied health professionals, to integrate recreational therapy interventions into holistic care plans and promote interdisciplinary communication, coordination, and collaboration in client care.
  • Implement Recreational Therapy Interventions: Plan, organize, and facilitate individual and group recreational therapy sessions and programs using a variety of recreational activities, such as games, arts and crafts, music and dance, sports, gardening, and outdoor adventures, to address clients’ therapeutic goals, enhance functioning, and promote positive leisure experiences.
  • Engage clients in meaningful and enjoyable recreational activities designed to improve physical fitness, motor skills, coordination, balance, endurance, and flexibility, utilizing recreation as a vehicle for physical rehabilitation, exercise, and wellness promotion.
  • Enhance clients’ emotional well-being, self-esteem, and social skills through participation in recreational activities that promote self-expression, creativity, social interaction, peer support, and community engagement, fostering a sense of belonging and connectedness.
  • Evaluate Treatment Progress: Monitor and evaluate clients’ responses to recreational therapy interventions, documenting session progress, client achievements, and treatment outcomes regularly to track therapeutic progress, adjust treatment plans as needed, and communicate findings to interdisciplinary care teams and stakeholders.
  • Provide Education and Support: Educate clients, families, caregivers, and community members about the benefits of recreational therapy, the therapeutic value of leisure activities, and strategies for incorporating recreation into daily life to promote wellness, self-care, and quality of life across the lifespan.
  • Offer emotional support, encouragement, and motivation to clients and their families during challenging life transitions, recovery from illness or injury, or adjustment to disability, empowering clients to overcome barriers, build resilience, and achieve their recreational and therapeutic goals.
  • Maintain Professionalism and Ethics: Adhere to professional standards of practice, ethical guidelines, and regulatory requirements in recreational therapy, including client confidentiality, informed consent, professional boundaries, and cultural competence, to ensure ethical and responsible practice in healthcare settings.
  • Engage in Continuous Learning: Participate in ongoing professional development, continuing education, and clinical supervision to enhance recreational therapy skills, expand clinical knowledge, and stay current with advances in recreational therapy research, evidence-based practices, and therapeutic techniques.

How Much Do Recreational Therapists Make?

The average Recreational Therapist salary in the United States is $62,923 as of February 26, 2024, but the range typically falls between $56,237 and $69,876

Skill Requirements

  • Creativity and Innovation: Recreational therapists must possess creativity, imagination, and innovation in designing and implementing engaging recreational activities and programs that meet clients’ diverse interests, abilities, and therapeutic goals, fostering enjoyment, participation, and motivation in leisure pursuits.
  • Empathy and Compassion: Recreational therapists must demonstrate empathy, compassion, and sensitivity in working with clients and their families, recognizing and validating clients’ emotional experiences, fostering trust and rapport, and creating supportive and inclusive therapeutic environments that promote healing, growth, and well-being.
  • Interpersonal Communication: Effective interpersonal communication skills are essential for recreational therapists to build therapeutic rapport, establish trust, and engage clients in the therapeutic process, including active listening, nonverbal communication, empathy, and conflict resolution, fostering positive therapeutic relationships and client engagement.
  • Adaptability and Flexibility: Recreational therapists should exhibit adaptability, flexibility, and responsiveness in adjusting recreational therapy interventions and activities to meet clients’ changing needs, preferences, and abilities, as well as environmental, cultural, and situational factors, optimizing therapeutic outcomes and client satisfaction.
  • Collaboration and Teamwork: Recreational therapists should collaborate effectively with interdisciplinary care teams, including physicians, psychologists, social workers, and allied health professionals, to coordinate client care, share information, and promote holistic and integrated approaches to healthcare delivery, fostering teamwork, communication, and collaboration across disciplines.
  • Clinical Documentation and Record Keeping: Recreational therapists must maintain accurate and comprehensive clinical documentation, including treatment plans, session notes, progress reports, and outcome measures, in accordance with professional standards, legal requirements, and institutional policies to ensure quality of care, continuity of services, and accountability in healthcare delivery.

Example KPIs for a Recreational Therapist

  • Client Engagement and Participation: This KPI measures recreational therapists’ success in engaging clients actively in therapeutic recreational activities and programs, fostering enjoyment, motivation, and meaningful participation, as evidenced by client attendance, participation rates, and satisfaction surveys.
  • Therapeutic Progress and Functional Improvement: This KPI evaluates recreational therapists’ effectiveness in achieving therapeutic goals, improving clients’ physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning through recreational therapy interventions, as demonstrated by objective measures, client self-reports, and interdisciplinary team observations.
  • Community Integration and Inclusion: This KPI assesses recreational therapists’ efforts to promote community integration, social inclusion, and leisure participation for clients with disabilities, illnesses, or injuries, as reflected in clients’ involvement in community-based recreational activities, events, and programs.
  • Program Development and Innovation: This KPI measures recreational therapists’ contributions to program development, innovation, and enhancement of recreational therapy services, including the design and implementation of new therapeutic activities, initiatives, and interventions to meet clients’ evolving needs and preferences.
  • Professional Development and Leadership: This KPI evaluates recreational therapists’ engagement in ongoing professional development, continuing education, and leadership activities to enhance clinical skills, expand clinical knowledge, and advance the field of recreational therapy through research, advocacy, and professional networking.

How Can Glider AI Help You with Hiring a Recreational Therapist?

Glider’s recruitment platform is designed to prioritize competency over credentials, enabling organizations to assess candidates’ skills objectively and efficiently. Utilize Glider AI Skill Intelligence™ to streamline the hiring process, identify top-quality Recreational Therapist candidates, and ensure a mobile-first, candidate-friendly experience.

Glider AI’s Unique Features

  • Verify Medical Licenses
  • Validate Hundreds of Medical, Clinical, and Technical Skills
  • Ensure Hiring Compliance
  • Conversational Chatbot for Talent Screening
  • Powerful candidate analytics
  • Streamline Healthcare Hiring with AI and Automation

Go ahead and spotlight your Recreational Therapist with Glider AI today!

Schedule a Demo or contact us at info@glider.ai


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