Jobs in Recreation Therapy

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Employment of Recreational Therapists is expected to increase 15 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations.

U.S. Dept of the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Graduates of our program are employed in psychiatric and physical medicine hospitals, municipal park and recreation centers, nursing homes, non-profit and for-profit treatment programs, prison/correction facilities, after-school programs, and specialized camps throughout the region.


RT Job Prospects in the Media

  • In 2012, the Today show did a segment on the most lucrative college majors (lowest unemployment rate and highest salaries for Bachelor’s degree holders), and found that Recreation Therapy was the 4th Most Lucrative College Major. View here (4 min video)
  • RT is listed by a healthcare career website (allhealthcare) as one of the 10 Best Paying Jobs with a Bachelors Degree. View article here
  • MONEY Magazine and rate careers on salary and job prospects. View here

(Note: Salary is National average not Bay Area average).


Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics: Projections of Employment

  • The number of Recreational Therapists is expected to grow at an average rate compared with the total for all occupations.
  • Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics states:
  • Jobs for Recreational Therapists are expected to increase by 9.1 percent, or 100 jobs between 2008 and 2018.
  • Continued increase in nursing care facilities, community care facilities for the elderly and residential outpatient settings.

“Job opportunities should be best for people with a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation and the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist credential. Recreational therapists might experience more competition for jobs in certain regions of the country as jobs in therapeutic recreation tend to cluster in more densely populated areas.”


California Career Prospects

California Employment Development Department



Annual Wages in California

The median wage in 2013 for Recreational Therapists in California was $64,950 annually or $31.23 hourly. This is a 6% increase from 2012.

California Employment Median Wages


More Information on Careers In Recreational Therapy

  • Employment Development Department: California Occupational Guide
  • O*NET Online: Occupational Information for the Tasks, Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Activities of a Recreation Therapist
  • College Board--An organization that connects students to colleges and careers. Read about Recreation Therapy


Additional Information

SJSU Career Center


Who Employs Recreational Therapists?

  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Physical rehabilitation hospitals
  • Veteran's hospitals
  • Pediatric Hospitals
  • Nursing/convalescent homes
  • City Park and Recreation Therapeutic Recreation programs
  • Community transition programs
  • Wilderness therapy programs
  • Equestrian Therapy Ranches
  • Adult day care centers
  • Prisons/juvenile care facilities
  • Schools
  • Non-profit programs
  • After school programs
  • Private consulting