Health Professions Advising Office (HPAO)

University of Mississippi

Recreation Therapy

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS) or Recreational Therapists are healthcare providers who use therapeutic recreation (TR) interventions for improved functioning of individuals with illness or disabling conditions. TR uses treatment, education and recreation services to help people with illnesses, disabilities and other conditions to develop and use their leisure in ways that enhance their health, functional abilities, independence and quality of life.

A CTRS may work with a variety of patients such as

  • Amputees
  • Individuals with spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries
  • Individuals with a developmental disability like Down Syndrome or Autism
  • Injured military service members.

A CTRS may work in a variety of settings such as

  • Rehabilitation hospitals and clinics
  • Schools
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home health facilities
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Community recreation departments
  • Outdoor recreation programs.

Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Mississippi
The Therapeutic Recreation program is an emphasis within the Park and Recreation Management bachelor’s degree in the Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management. Check out our website HERE. Completion of the 4-year degree results in eligibility to sit for the national certification exam. Find more info on the exam HERE.

Following certification individuals are considered a Recreational Therapist and are ready to work! Advanced degrees (MS and Ph.D.) are available at other universities, but are not required to practice as a recreational therapist.

Links for Therapeutic Recreation – click on the highlighted words

  • In 2011, CNN Money ranked a Recreation Therapist as the 9th Best Job for Saving the World. Check out the list HERE. [NOTE! This link no longer works. Would you like to delete it?]
  • 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 Therapeutic Recreation was the 4th Most Lucrative College Major. Watch the video HERE.
  • General information about our profession (average salaries, job listings, etc…)—Therapeutic Recreation Directory
  • Our professional organization—American Therapeutic Recreation Association