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Career and Education Opportunities for Recreational Therapists in Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you want to be a recreational therapist, the Grand Rapids, Michigan area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 680 people are currently employed as recreational therapists in Michigan. By 2016, this is expected to shrink 2% to 660 people employed. 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%. Recreational therapists generally plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions.

Recreational therapists earn approximately $20 per hour or $42,250 per year on average in Michigan. Nationally they average about $18 per hour or $38,370 per year. Incomes for recreational therapists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Athletic and Occupational in Michigan, and not quite as good as the overall Athletic and Occupational category nationally. Jobs in this field include: activity assistant, drama therapist, and music therapist.

The Grand Rapids area is home to nineteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can get a degree as a recreational therapist. Recreational therapists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn 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 Grand Rapids include:

  • 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

Grand Valley State University - Allendale, MI

Grand Valley State University, 1 Campus Dr, Allendale, MI 49401-9403. Grand Valley State University is a large university located in Allendale, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 23,932 students and an admission rate of 78%. Grand Valley State University has a bachelor's degree program in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy which graduated fourteen 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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.