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All About Being a Recreational Therapist in Canada 

September 19, 2023

If you’re an energetic soul who would love to incorporate play with work while positively impacting the lives of others, then being a recreational therapist may be a good career path to follow. It’s also proven to be a lucrative profession, overseeing growth and development over the past years.  

In this article, we aim to explore all about being a recreational therapist in Canada, shedding light on what to expect in this profession and the necessary requirements to being one. 

What Does a Recreational Therapist Do? 

A recreational therapist is a healthcare professional who curates a personalized treatment plan unique to each patient. These treatment plans are community-based techniques and interventions backed by evidence, leading to a high level of success in terms of improving the patient’s physical and mental well-being.  

Scope of Work 

There is a wide range of age groups and conditions that a recreational therapist can work with. By teaming up with other healthcare professionals like doctors, nurses, social workers, and physical therapists, a recreational therapist can provide holistic care to their patients.  

A recreational therapist can help patients from pediatric to geriatric age groups, assisting them to improve their quality of life through a personalized program suitable for their needs. They can also help people with mental health and behavioural disabilities and can even help people with addictions cope and rehabilitate. They can also help people with cancer and other rare conditions. 

Typical Activities in a Recreational Therapy Program 

A recreational therapist employs rather unconventional means of helping their patients, engaging in recreational and leisure-based activities like arts and crafts, games, dance, and music. They choose these programs based on the patient’s interests and needs.  

Here are some of the activities that a recreational therapist may include in their patient’s recreational therapy program: 

being a recreational therapist in Canada

Becoming a Recreational Therapist 

Like any other profession in the allied health sciences, becoming a recreational therapist entails the need to have the related educational background, proper credentials, and important skills and qualities. 

Education and Other Credentials 

A student interested in becoming a recreational therapist is encouraged to start building their competence early. They’re encouraged to enroll in classes related to arts and psychology and engage in volunteering in the health care setting, even while in high school. 

An associate degree diploma holder may be qualified to be a recreation therapy assistant or may still work as a recreation therapist, provided that they have years of work experience. In most instances, however, a bachelor’s degree diploma holder is preferred by employers in public health facilities and programs.  

Bachelor’s degrees taken up by those wanting to become recreational therapists include recreational therapy and recreational or leisure studies with a minor in recreational therapy. In these programs, the students enroll in classes covering topics like human anatomy, psychiatric and medical terminology, and they’re also taught how to handle medical equipment. Most of these programs also require the students to complete hours of internship. A list of reputable institutions in Canada that offer a degree in recreational therapy may be found here

Some employers may also prefer candidates to have the following training and credentials: 

Certification and Standards of Practice 

The practice of recreational therapy isn’t regulated yet in most provinces and territories in Canada. However, it’s encouraged that those who want to practice recreational therapy be members of a therapeutic recreation association like the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) and apply for certification. 

To ensure that high-quality service may be provided by a recreational therapist, the CTRA members are bound by by-laws, code of ethics, and strict standards of practice, which may all be found in their membership manual

The CTRA also promotes getting a certification from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification®. This entails undergoing an exam internationally (this is offered in the United States) and maintaining continuing education and professional practicing hours. 

Important Skills and Qualities of a Recreational Therapist 

To become a successful recreational therapist, you must be able to effectively foster rapport and connection with your patients. Here are some of the skills and qualities you should possess: 

Job Opportunities and Outlook for a Recreational Therapist 

With Canada’s aging population and the need to provide support for behavioural and developmental disabilities, there’s no doubt that being a recreational therapist will be an in-demand job in Canada in the coming years.  

In fact, currently, statistics show that the average yearly rate of a recreational therapist is at $60,852 (CAD), which is equivalent to an average hourly rate of $29.26 (CAD). Salaries may also vary per region, with the provinces that provide the highest rates including Alberta, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. 

Up-To-Date Job Opportunities at Caring Support 

A recreational therapist is an emerging career in healthcare with considerable growth and development foreseeable in the future. It’s a lucrative practice that can also provide personal satisfaction, as it can help improve the quality of life of a diverse group of a population. 

At Caring Support, we help qualified healthcare professionals in landing their desired job opportunities. Through our comprehensive and straightforward platform, we connect individuals with industries in which they have a relevant educational background and experience.  

Create an account here and advance your career with us! 

About The Author
Cam Adajar
Content Writer

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