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Career and Education Opportunities for Recreational Therapists in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for recreational therapists in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area. The national trend for recreational therapists sees this job pool growing by about 14.6% over the next eight years. Recreational therapists generally plan, direct, or coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions.

Income for recreational therapists is about $20 hourly or $42,740 yearly on average in New Jersey. Nationally, their income is about $18 hourly or $38,370 per year. Recreational therapists earn less than people working in the category of Athletic and Occupational generally in New Jersey and less than people in the Athletic and Occupational category nationally. People working as recreational therapists can fill a number of jobs, such as: therapeutic recreation specialist, adventure therapist, and activity therapist.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Elizabeth where you can study to be a recreational therapist, among 298 schools of higher education total in the Elizabeth area. 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 Elizabeth 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

CUNY Bronx Community College - Bronx, NY

CUNY Bronx Community College, W 181 St & University Ave, Bronx, NY 10453. CUNY Bronx Community College is a medium sized college located in Bronx, New York. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,348 students. CUNY Bronx Community College has an associate's degree program in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy which graduated twelve students in 2008.

CUNY Lehman College - Bronx, NY

CUNY Lehman College, Bedford Park Blvd W, Bronx, NY 10468. CUNY Lehman College is a large college located in Bronx, New York. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 11,453 students and an admission rate of 31%. CUNY Lehman College has a bachelor's degree program in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy which graduated three students in 2008.

Long Island University-Westchester Campus - Purchase, NY

Long Island University-Westchester Campus, LIU/Westchester Campus, 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, NY 10577-1400. Long Island University-Westchester Campus is a small university located in Purchase, New York. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 290 students. Long Island University-Westchester Campus has a master's degree program in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy.

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: Elizabeth, New Jersey

Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth, New Jersey photo by Cobber17

Elizabeth is situated in Union County, New Jersey. It has a population of over 124,755, which has grown by 3.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elizabeth, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Elizabeth are valued at $321,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, eight new homes were constructed in Elizabeth, up from six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Elizabeth are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and other transportation, and support activities, and couriers. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 12.1% of Elizabeth residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elizabeth is 12.4%, which is greater than New Jersey's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Elizabeth residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.5%, is more than both the national and state average. First Pentecostal Church, Christ Episcopal Church and Alliance International Fellowship Church are some of the churches located in Elizabeth. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the American Baptist Churches in the USA.

Elizabeth is home to the North Elizabeth Station and the Julian Station as well as Kellogg Park and Jackson Park. Visitors to Elizabeth can choose from Hampton Inn Newark-Airport, Centro America Express and Hilton Newark Airport for temporary stays in the area.