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Career and Education Opportunities for Recreational Therapists in Los Angeles, California

There are many career and education opportunities for recreational therapists in the Los Angeles, California area. There are currently 1,500 working recreational therapists in California; this should grow by 7% to 1,600 working recreational therapists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for recreational therapists are expected to grow by about 14.6%. In general, recreational therapists plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions.

The income of a recreational therapist is about $23 per hour or $49,900 yearly on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $18 hourly or $38,370 per year on average. Incomes for recreational therapists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Athletic and Occupational in California, and not quite as good as the overall Athletic and Occupational category nationally. Jobs in this field include: therapeutic specialist, drama therapist, and director of therapeutic activities.

The Los Angeles area is home to 274 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Los Angeles where you can get a degree as a recreational therapist. Recreational therapists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Los Angeles 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 Safety and Health Inspector. Review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. May conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals. May be employed in the public or private sector.
  • 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: Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California photo by Diliff

Los Angeles is located in Los Angeles County, California. It has a population of over 3,833,995, which has grown by 3.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Los Angeles, 166, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Los Angeles are valued at $361,500 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, seven hundred twelve new homes were built in Los Angeles, down from 1,551 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Los Angeles are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 25.5% of Los Angeles residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 13.9%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Los Angeles residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.1%, is more than both the national and state average. All Peoples Christian Church, All Saints Episcopal Church and All Saints Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Los Angeles. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Los Angeles is home to the Balboa Municipal Golf Course and the Angels Flight Railway as well as Hazard Park and State Street Recreation Center. Shopping centers in the area include Encino Junior Shopping Center, Encino Oaks Shopping Center and Encino Town Center Shopping Center. Visitors to Los Angeles can choose from Best Western Mid-Wilshire Plaza, Best Western Westwood Pacific and Alma Lodge for temporary stays in the area.