Recreational Therapist Job Description, Duties, and Responsibilities

By | November 7, 2023
Recreational Therapist Job Description
Recreational therapists help plan and execute recreational programs for patients as part of the treatment plan for their illness.

This post presents detailed information on the recreational therapist job description, including the key duties, tasks, and responsibilities they commonly perform.

It also highlights the major requirements that you may be expected to fulfill to be hired for the recreational therapist role by most recruiters/employers.

What Does a Recreational Therapist Do?

Recreational therapists oversee the planning and coordination of recreation programs for patients in a health care facility.

The recreational therapist job description entails developing medically approved leisure activities for physically or mentally impaired patients.

They also help patients engage in fun exercises as part of therapeutic treatment for an illness.

In performing their duties, recreational therapists educate patients on the benefits of recreation.

They assist them in practicing skills required to participate in leisure and fun activities, and also develop treatment plans and programs to meet the health requirements of patients.

Recreational therapists usually work with patients’ physician, nutritionist and occupational therapist to design therapeutic recreation most suitable for a patient.

Their role also involves interacting with patients to identify their recreational preferences in order to determine the choice of an activity.

They also address feelings of anxiety or depression which patients may experience before or during a program.

As part of their responsibilities, recreational therapists help children or adults with health challenges to socialize with others.

They organize recreational programs such as dance, sports, arts/crafts, swimming, and community outings to improve patients’ physical, social and emotional wellness.

They also counsel patients and their families on lifestyle changes and avocations necessary to regain or improve physical or mental abilities.

In fulfilling their role, recreational therapists monitor patients’ recovery progress to determine choice of recreation most suitable to enhance recuperation.

They provide emotional and psychological support to patients adjusting to a disability or illness.

Their work description also involves helping patients eliminate social and physical limitations which prevent them from participating in life situations.

Recreational therapists as part of their description teach patients ways to fight anxiety or depression arising from a condition they faced.

They ensure a treatment plan meets patients need and pose no health risk to them.

To get into the recreational therapist career requires completing a Bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy or in a related discipline.

The qualities required for success on the job include listening skills, critical thinking, and compassion.

Recreational Therapist Job Description Example/Template

Recreational therapists perform various functions in health facilities to ensure patients complete recovery from illness.

The typical job description they work with, including major duties, tasks, and responsibilities they perform are shown in the example below:

  • Organize therapy sessions to interact with patients and proffer recommendations for physical and mental wellness
  • Develop and implement rehabilitation programs to help patients adjust to a disability or illness
  • Ensure treatment plans are suitable for patients’ physical condition and are in accordance with their preferences
  • Monitor and keep track of patient’s progress to modify treatment program as necessary
  • Obtain and review patient’s medical records to assess patients abilities, interests, and needs
  • Provide health tips to patients and their families on leisure activities and lifestyle changes necessary for improved health conditions
  • Organize and lead patients in recreational activities such as art, sports, music or dance
  • Liaise with other health care professionals to plan and evaluate therapy programs
  • Help patients develop skills useful in participating in leisure exercises
  • Maintain accurate record of patient information, treatment program and recovery progress
  • Prepare and present reports to treatment team to highlight patients response to therapy
  • Reassure patients and provide them emotional and psychological support during treatment
  • Assist patients in building confidence and socializing with people
  • Help people with new disabilities to reintegrate into the society and adapt to activities such as using public transportation and playing video games
  • Proffer recommendations useful in overcoming depression and anxiety.

Requirements – Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge – for Recreational Therapist Job

If you desire to apply for the recreational therapist job, here are major requirements most employers may expect you to satisfy to qualify for an interview appointment:

  • Education and Training: To become a recreational therapist, you require a Bachelor’s degree in any of leisure studies, psychology, or recreational therapy, or in a related field. A Master’s degree is necessary to function as an art or dance therapist. Recreational therapists usually embark on an internship program to gain useful job experience. Many employers require recreational therapists to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)
  • Listening Skill: Recreational therapists are adept at listening and communicating with patients to identify their interests
  • Critical thinking skill: They are able to develop suitable leisure activities for physically and mentally impaired patients
  • Compassion: They are empathic towards disabled patients thus are able to offer them emotional support.


Do you need to make a great description for the recreational therapist job in your organization for use in hiring for the role? If you do, then you can easily and quickly make one by applying the sample copy provided in this post as a template.

You can simply modify the work description provided in this post to properly match what you do and how you operate in your organization, and you will be sure of creating a great work description that can attract the best recreational therapists to your job posting.

This post also provides individuals who are interested in becoming recreational therapists the information they need to learn about the career and the kind of duties and responsibilities that commonly make up its job description.