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Career and Education Opportunities for Recreational Therapists in Irvine, California

For those living in the Irvine, California area, there are many career and education opportunities for recreational therapists. Currently, 1,500 people work as recreational therapists in California. This is expected to grow by 7% to about 1,600 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for recreational therapists, which sees this job pool growing by about 14.6% over the next eight years. In general, recreational therapists plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions.

A person working as a recreational therapist can expect to earn about $23 hourly or $49,900 yearly on average in California and about $18 per hour or $38,370 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Athletic and Occupational, people working as recreational therapists in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Athletic and Occupational nationally. People working as recreational therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: director of therapeutic activities, adventure therapist, and music therapist .

There are 112 schools of higher education in the Irvine area, including one within twenty-five miles of Irvine where you can get a degree to start your career as a recreational therapist. Given that the most common education level for recreational therapists is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a recreational therapist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Recreational Therapist

Recreational Therapist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, recreational therapists plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions. They also activities include sports, trips, and arts and crafts.

Recreational therapists conduct therapy sessions to further optimize patients' mental and physical well-being. They also talk with members of treatment teams to develop and evaluate therapy programs. Equally important, recreational therapists have to instruct patients in efforts and techniques. They are often called upon to counsel and encourage patients to evolve leisure efforts. They are expected to obtain data from medical records, medical staff, family members and the patients themselves to gauge patients' capabilities, needs and interests. Finally, recreational therapists encourage clients with special needs and circumstances to acquire new skills and get involved in health-promoting leisure efforts, such as sports, games, arts and crafts, and gardening.

Every day, recreational therapists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for recreational therapists to observe and record patients' participation and progress during treatment sessions, modifying treatment programs as needed. Somewhat less frequently, recreational therapists are also expected to ready and submit reports and charts to treatment teams to reflect patients' reactions and evidence of progress or regression.

and encourage clients with special needs and circumstances to acquire new skills and get involved in health-promoting leisure efforts, such as sports, games, arts and crafts, and gardening. And finally, they sometimes have to instruct patients in efforts and techniques.

Like many other jobs, recreational therapists must have a strong concern for others and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Irvine include:

  • Audiologist. Assess and treat persons with hearing and related disorders. May fit hearing aids and provide auditory training. May perform research related to hearing problems.
  • Occupational Therapist. Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that help restore vocational, homemaking, and daily living skills, as well as general independence, to disabled persons.
  • Physical Therapist. Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.
  • Speech and Language Teacher. Assess and treat persons with speech, language, and fluency disorders. May select alternative communication systems and teach their use. May perform research related to speech and language problems.
  • Sports Trainer. Evaluate, advise, and treat athletes to assist recovery from injury, avoid injury, or maintain peak physical fitness.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Recreational Therapist Training

Fremont College - Cerritos, CA

Fremont College, 18000 Studebaker Road Suite 900A, Cerritos, CA 90703. Fremont College is a small college located in Cerritos, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 146 students and an admission rate of 59%. Fremont College has an associate's degree program in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy which graduated five students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Art Therapy Certified Supervisor: The Art Therapy Certified Supervisor (ATCS) is a newly available credential offered to qualified Board Certified Art Therapists (ATR-BCs) who are interested in demonstrating substantial supervision qualifications.

For more information, see the Art Therapy Credentials Board website.

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist: To be awarded the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) certificate, the candidate must meet the eligibility requirements and pass a knowledge-based exam.

For more information, see the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, Inc. website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Irvine, California

Irvine, California
Irvine, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Irvine is situated in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 207,500, which has grown by 45.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Irvine, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Irvine are valued at $283,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-five new homes were built in Irvine, down from two hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Irvine are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 58.4% of Irvine residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Irvine is 7.3%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Irvine residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Irvine is home to the International Raceway and the Heritage Park Library as well as Heritage Park and Alderwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Heritage Plaza Shopping Center, Alton Square Shopping Center and Arbor Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Irvine can choose from Atrium Hotel At Orange County Airport and Amerilodge Electronics for temporary stays in the area.