Recreational Therapist/Registered (RRT/RTR)

Recreational therapists, sometimes referred to as therapeutic recreation workers, plan and organize recreational activities such as games, arts and crafts, sports and drama to emphasize confidence building, enhance social skills, and help lessen the effects of an illness or injury.


  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Dance Therapy

Work Activities/Work Locations

Recreational therapists work in hospitals, nursing homes, residential facilities, behavioral health centers, adult daycare programs, correctional institutions, substance abuse centers, and a few are self-employed. They may work in conjunction with other medical professionals including physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and physical and occupational therapists. Recreational therapists often work with patients suffering from physical, mental or emotional disabilities to help them build confidence and social skills. They may conduct leisure activities, teach relaxation and stretching techniques, or plan field trips and recreational games. Recreational therapists observe patients and record their progress during therapy. In some settings, recreational therapists may be required to conduct activities in a swimming pool, a recreation room or on a playing field. They usually work a 40-hour week, which may include evenings and weekends. Recreational therapists are not the same as recreation workers, who organize recreational activities for enjoyment only.

Getting Started

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (Wisconsin): 290
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 18,600
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 20,900
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 12%
Expected Annual Openings: 660
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $36,400

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.