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What do you do as a recreation therapist? Is finding a job after college in this field difficult to break into?


Interest in recreation therapy & occupational therapy
Working with children

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Beth’s Answer

Hi Tamara, Angela’s answer was great! I am a physical therapist and work with recreational therapy. I have found recreational therapists tend to work in large hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not pay for recreational therapy. So the places who hire RT’s have extra funding such as endowments, or they are non-profit organizations for people with disabilities.
If you stay in the Long Beach, there will be opportunities out there, but if you moved to a small town or rural setting, you will have trouble finding positions.
Generally, OT’s will have a larger job market and better salary range, but OT needs a masters degree and RT is a bachelors degree.
Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Tamara
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Angela’s Answer

As a recreational therapist out you help people with injuries or illnesses improve their quality of life through participation in meaningful leisure activities. Recreational therapists can work in a variety of settings, including senior homes, home and community rehabilitation, pediatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, community, mental health facilities, psychiatric facilities. At each different setting recreational therapy looks a little different. You could be doing art with a group of older adults in the senior home, organizing, games for a group of children at a pediatric unit, or taking an outpatient client into the community to shop or go to a concert or learn how to navigate the public transportation system.
It is all about finding what is meaningful and interesting to your client and helping them learn or re learn that leisure skill. It is also about exposing clients to new opportunities based on their current situation if they are unable to participate in the same leisure activities as they did prior to an injury. For example, helping somebody who recently became paralyzed learn about and find opportunities for adapted downhill skiing, because they are unable to ski in a standing position like they used to.

Finding a job after graduation all depends on the job market at the time and the opportunities where you live. Be sure to shadow and use your connections at school to network and expose yourself to as many opportunities as possible.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! This was helpful for me to understand recreation therapy as I'm interested in pursuing the major. Tamara
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Caroline’s Answer

Hi Tamara,

I’m a pediatric OT. It’s a field I love and the lateral movement is strong. You can work with adults, children in all types of settings hospitals, rehabs, long terms care, schools the home. As well community settings such as homelessness shelters, prisons, driving clinics, and assistive technology clinics.

We help people after injury disability and trauma. Our role is expanding greatly to preventative care as well. Similar to RT we use a persons passions, motivation to engage in their necessary occupations.

I found a job quickly out of school and nearly all of my classmates got a job within 3 months of passing their boards.

If your passionate about a population or working in a specific area OT gives you the training and flexibility to do it! OT has taken me around the world helping people and allowed me Grow as professional and a person.
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