Recreational Therapist

Recreational therapist may work in various health care settings. They are part of allied health professionals who use recreation, leisure and play to treat patients. They identify which modality of recreation are right for helping the patients based on individual strengths, values, assessments.

Recreational therapists may work in acute care, rehabilitation centers, long term care homes, mental health care, addiction services, correctional facilities, community-based programs private practice, etc.

Average Hourly


Range Hourly

$16.85 – $50.33

Average Yearly


Range Yearly

$32,855 – $98,144

Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment (3144)

Art therapist

Art therapists' supervisor

Art therapy consultant

Art therapy teacher (except education)

Athletic therapist

Athletic trainer - therapy

Certified athletic therapist (CAT)

Dance therapist

Dance therapists' supervisor

Dance therapy researcher

Dance-movement therapist

Dance-movement therapy researcher

Drama therapist

Drama therapists' supervisor

Exercise physiologist

Exercise therapist

Human kineticist



Movement analyst - medical

Movement therapist

Music therapist

Music therapists' supervisor

Music therapy researcher

Recreational therapist

Registered dance therapist (DTR)

Registered kinesiologist

Remedial gymnast

Remedial gymnastics teacher (except education)

Remedial gymnasts' supervisor

Remedial therapist

Spontaneous art teacher - therapy

Therapeutic recreationist

A bachelor’s degree in recreation therapy or related filed such a Kinesiology, Gerontology, Recreation and Leisure studies, etc. is usually required.

Average hourly

Range hourly

Average yearly

Range yearly


$16.85 - $50.33


$32,855 - $98,144


Employment outlook is good to fair in most provinces. More information are available here.

Advancement opportunities vary depending on the organization and the therapist’s academic qualifications.

2-3 years of experience is required

University programs in Recreation or Therapeutic Recreation:

University of Alberta

University of Regina 

University of Manitoba

It can also be started with some diploma programs at some colleges that can later be continued as bachelor programs at some universities.

Diploma in Recreation or Therapeutic Recreation: 

Douglas College

Lethbridge College

Mohawk College

Nova Scotia Community College

Find more institutions offering such programs.

Kind; sympathetic; excellent communication skills; critical thinking skills; Organizational skills, excellent people’s skills, CPR/First Aid certification may be required; they may have to take part in activities that require above-average strength and stamina; A class-4 or 5 driver’s license may be required.

This is currently not regulated by the national or provincial government approved regulatory body, however, the relevant associations such as the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) in Alberta are trying to make it regulated. Moreover, the employers usually require registration with national association of recreational therapist such as Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) or a provincial one (e.g., ATRA). To become certified usually one need to pass the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exams.

The most secure way is to complete a Bachelor degree in Kinesiology, Gerontology or Recreation and Leisure studies subjects. Then apply and write the NCTRC exams and obtain licensure from provincial and/national certifying body.

Other ways might be doing prerequisite courses for the NCTRC exams online or complete a diploma online such as from Canadore College, and get a required hours of (~1,500 hours) supervised work experience (by a CTRS certified supervisor) as a recreational therapy aide/assistant and then apply to NCTRC through equivalency path.