Home » Recreation Therapist

Recreation Therapist

What is a Recreation Therapist?

Recreation Therapists help individuals to improve their quality of life and health using meaningful recreation and leisure activities. Therapeutic recreation involves using these activities to cultivate confidence, self-esteem, improve cognition, strength and mobility, and build connection to community.

In addition to actively conducting therapeutic recreation with their clients, Recreation Therapists may also:

  • Conduct client intakes
  • Make referrals
  • Advocate for their client
  • Conduct assessments
  • Write case notes

Recreation therapists might work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Long term care homes
  • Community centres
  • In the home
  • Rehabilitation centres
Source: https://www.trontario.org/about/about-therapeutic-recreation/index.html
  • The average Recreation Therapist salary in Canada is $63,375 per year or $32.50 per hour.
  • Most experienced workers make up to $92,957 per year.
Source: https://neuvoo.ca/salary/?job=Recreation%20Therapist
Schooling Entry Requirements

All programs require a high school diploma or equivalent and grade 12 English (C or U). Many have a minimum grade requirement between 70% and 80%. Some programs urge applicants to pursue relevant volunteer experience prior to application.


There are a variety of educational pathways available to those interested in Therapeutic Recreation. They include:

  • 4-year degree in Therapeutic Recreation
  • 2-year recreation therapy college diploma
  • 2-year recreation & leisure services college diploma
  • 1-year post-graduate certificate in therapeutic recreation (relevant degree or diploma required)

Source: https://www.trontario.org/education-research/tr-post-secondary-programs.html

Schooling Options

There are three schools in Ontario that offer 4-year degree programs: Brock University, Seneca College and University of Waterloo.

There are four schools in Ontario that offer a 2-year Recreation Therapy diploma: Canadore College, Confederation College, Lambton College, Mohawk College.

Graduate certificates are offered at: Fleming College, Georgian College, St. Lawrence College.

Professional Requirements

Depending on the environment a Recreational Therapist works in, the job may involve physical activity and movement. As with any patient-facing role, good communication, strong interpersonal skills and empathy are important skills to have.


Working with vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, youth, and older adults will likely require a Vulnerable Sector Police Check.

Professional Body

Professionals can choose to pursue voluntary membership with Therapeutic Recreation Ontario, pursuing either the “R/TRO” designation for those with a degree, or the “R/TRO DIP” designation for those with a diploma. Professionals can also pursue additional membership with the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association.

Professionals can become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation, writing an international exam and maintaining professional education and practice hours.

Interested in Pursuing This Career?

Contact your Youth Service Officer for more information on available programs and training to help get you started on your career path!