Public and private preschool programs (e.g., Head Start)
Programs servicing children and adults with special needs
Strategies & Information:
Earn a graduate degree for teaching at the college and university level.
Research the process for teacher certification in the K-12 system, which varies by state.
Seek part-time or summer jobs working with youth.
Serve as a tutor, peer mentor, resident assistant or student advisor.
Utilize campus recreational programs and facilities, including intramural sports, as a first step in pursuing student affairs positions.
Programs and Staff
Evaluation and Documentation
Adult daycare centers
Assisted living facilities
Community mental health centers
Substance abuse centers
Camps and outdoor recreational programs
Strategies & Information:
Pursue a major in therapeutic recreation or a program with a therapeutic recreation focus.
Volunteer and intern in therapeutic recreation settings such as camps, senior centers and rehabilitation facilities.
Demonstrate ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team with physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists.
Earn relevant licensure or certification; regulation varies by state. Consider specialization in areas such as aquatics, intervention, outdoor recreation and art therapy.
Exhibit patience, creativity, motivational skills and a high comfort level working with people of all ages including those who are sick or disabled.
General Information and Strategies
An undergraduate degree is suffi cient for entry-level recreation positions. A graduate degree may be required for administrative positions and teaching/research positions at universities and colleges.
Obtain summer, part-time, internship or volunteer experience in camps, recreation/fitness centers, social service organizations, tourist attractions, etc.
Develop solid background of recreational and leisure theories and therapeutic practices.
Develop broad knowledge base of recreational activities such as athletics, music, arts and crafts, nature, dance, drama, etc.
Hone leadership and supervisory skills for coordinating and directing others in various activities.
Obtain Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential offered through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certifi cation for some positions. Certification in first aid and safety, CPR or life-guarding may be helpful.
Demonstrate strong interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills and the ability to work on a team.
Learn to interact effectively with people of various ages, backgrounds and ability levels.
Exhibit physical agility, stamina and a motivational spirit. An interest in working outdoors is essential for some positions.
Join related professional associations. Attend state/national professional association conferences.
Seek knowledge of U.S. and world geography, history, social customs and languages for some opportunities.
Consider participating in the Walt Disney College Program.