If you are interested in a career which allows you to perform a wide variety of activities with ill or disabled individuals in order to increase their sense of well-being, you may want to become a recreational therapist. Before you can begin working in this field, you must enroll in a recreational therapy degree program. To choose the best recreational therapist schools, first consider what type of degree best suits your career plans. Then, seek out recreational therapist schools that will allow you to study your area of interest and gain hands-on experience through clinical hours or internships. After you have narrowed down your choices, get information about prospective schools’ reputations and rankings.
One of the first things you should consider as you search for the best recreational therapist schools is what type of degree will best help you achieve the career you want. If you wish to work at the assistant level, you may only need a two-year associate’s degree. Should you dream of working as a full-fledged recreational therapist, you will likely need a four-year undergraduate degree. If you are most interested in the administrative side of recreational therapy or already have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated discipline, a one- to two-year master’s program may be the right choice for you. When you know what type of degree you want, you can begin narrowing down your school choices to those institutions that offer that type of degree program.
For many fledgling therapists, the best recreational therapist schools are those that offer classes in a particular area of interest and also allow students to gain hands-on experience through internships or clinical hours. Thus, if your ideal job involves working with disabled children, you should search for schools that offer courses in therapeutic treatment for the young, child development, and so forth. Further narrowing down your options to those recreational therapist schools that have an internship or clinical component can prove extremely helpful once you enter the job market. Hands-on experience allows you to hone your therapy skills while you are still a student, adds distinction to your resume, and may provide you with valuable contacts in the field.
Those schools that rank the best “on paper” may not necessarily suit your particular needs as a student. Nevertheless, recreational therapy can be a competitive field, and a degree from a highly regarded therapy program may give you an edge when you begin applying for jobs. Thus, once you have established a list of recreational therapist schools which seem to suit your career plans, get information about those schools’ rankings and reputations. You may be able to find out which programs are held in high esteem by consulting an independent rankings guide or by speaking to experienced recreational therapists.