Since its release in 1927, avid job seekers have used the Strong Interest Inventory® and its associated assessment to help them find careers that will likely be an ideal fit for them. First, they complete a survey assessment that compares their interests to a sample of satisfied individuals who work in various fields and have for numerous years. Based on an analysis of their responses, individuals are guided to their top categories of careers, each of which is characterized by certain shared features. For example, Social careers, including Recreational Therapists, involve caring for and supporting other people, especially through challenging experiences. People who are drawn to social careers are generally comfortable speaking to large groups and genuinely enjoy working with others.

Recreational Therapists, sometimes called Activities Directors, are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating recreation programs for patients in a number of institutions, including hospitals and nursing homes. These programs must be medically approved, but can range from games (e.g., Bingo, Yahtzee), to outings (e.g., sports games, museums, theaters, movies), to social activities (e.g., dances, meet-and-greets), as well as arts and crafts (e.g., painting, knitting, playing music).

Recreational Therapist Salary

Read about a career in Recreational Therapy including information such as a Recreational Therapist Salary, daily tasks and other career information.

The purpose of these events varies. Sometimes, the purpose is simply to have fun and improve patients’ mental or physical well-being. However, if the purpose is rehabilitation from an accident or to prevent further medical problems, then more careful planning is needed.

Regardless of the purpose of the activities, Recreational Therapists must ensure that the activities are appropriate for their attendees. They may need to obtain information and/or medical records from medical staff, family members or the patients themselves. To this end, they may ask patients or their families to complete a short questionnaire, survey, or interview. During the activities themselves, they observe patients’ participation and reactions—Were they able to keep up with other participants? Did they seem to enjoy themselves while doing so? If not, it may not be appropriate for that participant to continue. That said, in some cases encouraging participants may be appropriate to facilitate their mental or physical stimulation. Throughout patients’ recovery process, Recreational Therapists may be involved in developing treatment plans, preparing charts to track progress, and otherwise documenting patients’ activities. When they are ready to be discharged, Recreational Therapists may create discharge plans and/or communicate those instructions to the patient as well as any caretakers.

The technological needs of Recreational Therapists are typically limited to standard office software (e.g., Microsoft Office Suite, email, and web browser software), though depending on their workplace they may also need to use basic medical software. However, their tools can vary widely, as different tools may be used for the various activities that patients participate in. These may include sports equipment (e.g., archery bows, baseballs, basketballs, bicycles, canoes, bowling equipment, croquet sets), as well as equipment for various hobbies (e.g., cameras for photography, knives and drills for woodcarving, tables and paddles for table tennis, needles and yarn for knitting or crocheting, etc.). Some Recreational Therapists may also use therapy equipment (e.g., rehabilitation treadmills, wheelchairs, patient lifts, etc.).

Recreational Therapists need to have a strong foundation in Psychology as well as strong therapy and customer service skills. A service orientation is also essential; that is, the tendency to actively anticipate others’ needs and look for ways to help them. The vast majority of Recreational Therapists (88%) hold a bachelor’s degree, while 8% hold a master’s degree. The remainder have completed some college, though they may not have earned a degree.

Recreational Therapists’ employment is quickly rising nationwide, with a projected growth rate of 7-10% in the next decade. New York, California and Pennsylvania alone are expected to add hundreds of jobs per year, and some 1,100 jobs are expected to be created across the country each year for the next ten years. The median Recreational Therapist Salary is $47,860, though in California the median salary is nearly $80,000 and the best-paid Recreational Therapists can earn nearly 100,000 per year. That said, on the other end of the spectrum, the lowest-paid Recreational Therapists in states like Mississippi and Kansas earn under $26,000 per year and as little as $22,000.

Below are some employment trends for Recreational Therapists:

  • Recreational Therapist Salary: $23.01 hourly, $47,860 annual
  • Employment: 20,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2018-2028): Faster than average (7-10%)
  • Projected job openings (2018-2028): 1,100
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections]

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Gain access to your best-fit careers, occupational preferences and interests with these career based Strong Interest Inventory® and MBTI® Assessments:

  • Strong Interest Inventory® Interpretive Report

    Delve deeper into what your interests, hobbies, favorite topics, and locations can mean for your career and personal life with the help of this extensive and personalized Strong profile.

    Your Strong Interest Inventory® Interpretive Report starts with the same foundational information found in the Strong Interest Inventory Profile, but goes even further into analyzing your likes and dislikes by offering you a detailed look at how following your interests and preferences can help you lead a more fulfilling, satisfied life. The report presents you with the closest matched occupations for people with your interests, an in-depth breakdown of certain areas matched to your Strong Interest Inventory test results, and insight into your likes and dislikes.

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    Price: $62.95 Buy Now
  • Strong Interest Inventory Profile Test & Profile

    Strong Interest Inventory® Profile

    Mold your future success by choosing a career that accurately reflects your interests, preferences,  favorite topics as well as your likes and dislikes with the help of this profile.

    Direct your future based on what you like and enjoy, providing you with a happier, more fulfilling life and career. The Strong Interest Inventory® Profile uses an extensive analysis of your interests and preferences to guide you towards a career that best suits who you are on a personal level. Depending on your likes and dislikes compared to others in specified fields, you may find a fulfilling career previously unthought-of, helping guide you down the road to success and happiness.

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  • iStartStrong™ Report

    Plan your future career based on your interests and preferences, leading you down the path to a successful work and personal life.

    Use your interests, preferences, and favorite subjects and leisure activities to assess which career or career field works best with who you are and what you like. Through the web-interactive and thorough iStartStrong™ report, you’ll get set off on the right foot toward finding a career that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections