Skip to Main Content
Employment Development Department
Employment Development Department
Occupation Profile
  Printer Friendly Version

Recreational Therapists
(SOC Code : 29-1125)
in California

Plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions. Activities include sports, trips, dramatics, social activities, and arts and crafts. May assess a patient condition and recommend appropriate recreational activity.

Employers are usually looking for candidates with a Bachelor's degree .

Occupational Wages[Top]
AreaYearPeriodHourly MeanHourly by Percentile
California 20171st Qtr$31.30$24.40$33.61$37.97

View Wages for All Areas  About Wages

Occupational Projections of Employment (also called "Outlook" or "Demand")[Top]
 AreaEstimated Year-Projected YearEmploymentEmployment ChangeAnnual Avg Openings
California 2014 - 20241,7001,90020011.860

View Projections for All Areas  About Projections

Job Openings from JobCentral National Labor Exchange[Top]
Enter a Zip Code     Find a Zip code in California

Within  miles of Zip Code.

Industries Employing This Occupation (click on Industry Title to View Employers List)[Top]
Industry Title
Number of Employers in State of California
Percent of Total
Employment for Occupation in State of California
Nursing Care Facilities 2,31621.4%
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 1,14320.5%
Psychiatric & Substance Abuse Hospitals 1,24517.6%
Individual and Family Services 25,6594.8%
Community Care Facility for the Elderly 4,6764.3%
Outpatient Care Centers 9,1992.8%
Residential Mental Health Facilities 191.8%

About Staffing Patterns

Training Programs (click on title for more information)[Top]
Program Title
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy

About Training & Apprenticeships

About This Occupation (from O*NET - The Occupation Information Network)[Top]
Top Tasks (Specific duties and responsibilities of this job.)
Conduct therapy sessions to improve patients` mental and physical well-being.
Observe, analyze, and record patients` participation, reactions, and progress during treatment sessions, modifying treatment programs as needed.
Plan, organize, direct and participate in treatment programs and activities to facilitate patients` rehabilitation, help them integrate into the community and prevent further medical problems.
Develop treatment plan to meet needs of patient, based on needs assessment, patient interests and objectives of therapy.
Prepare and submit reports and charts to treatment team to reflect patients` reactions and evidence of progress or regression.
Obtain information from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients themselves to assess patients` capabilities, needs and interests.
Counsel and encourage patients to develop leisure activities.
Instruct patient in activities and techniques, such as sports, dance, music, art or relaxation techniques, designed to meet their specific physical or psychological needs.
Confer with members of treatment team to plan and evaluate therapy programs.
Encourage clients with special needs and circumstances to acquire new skills and get involved in health-promoting leisure activities, such as sports, games, arts and crafts, and gardening.

More Tasks for Recreational Therapists , More Tasks for Art Therapists, More Tasks for Music Therapists

Top Skills used in this Job
Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others` reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others` actions.
Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

More Skills for Recreational Therapists , More Skills for Art Therapists, More Skills for Music Therapists

Top Abilities (Attributes of the person that influence performance in this job.)
Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

More Abilities for Recreational Therapists , More Abilities for Art Therapists, More Abilities for Music Therapists

Top Work Values (Aspects of this job that create satisfaction.)
Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.
Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

More Work Values for Recreational Therapists , More Work Values for Art Therapists, More Work Values for Music Therapists

Top Interests (The types of activities someone in this job would like.)
Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

More Interests for Recreational Therapists , More Interests for Art Therapists, More Interests for Music Therapists

Alternate Titles
Activity Coordinators; Activity Directors; Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists; Recreation Therapists; Rehabilitation Therapists; Therapeutic Recreation Specialists
Related Links
LMI for Job Seekers
Local Area Profile
Compare Occupations
O*Net - The Occupation Information Network