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Career and Education Opportunities for Recreational Therapists in Durham, North Carolina

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for recreational therapists in the Durham, North Carolina area. There are currently 420 jobs for recreational therapists in North Carolina and this is projected to grow by 7% to 450 jobs 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 $18 hourly or $38,860 per year on average in North Carolina and about $18 per hour or $38,370 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Recreational therapists earn less than people working in the category of Athletic and Occupational generally in North Carolina and less than people in the Athletic and Occupational category nationally. Recreational therapists work in a variety of jobs, including: therapeutic recreation specialist, art therapist, and recreation director.

The Durham area is home to twenty-six schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Durham where you can get a degree 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 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 Durham 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

Shaw University - Raleigh, NC

Shaw University, 118 East South Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. Shaw University is a small university located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,702 students and an admission rate of 45%. Shaw University has a bachelor's degree program in Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy which graduated two students in 2008.

North Carolina Central University - Durham, NC

North Carolina Central University, 1801 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27707. North Carolina Central University is a medium sized university located in Durham, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 8,033 students and an admission rate of 74%. North Carolina Central University 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.

LICENSES

Recreational Therapist

Licensing agency: NC Therapeutic Recreation Board
Address: Post Office Box 67, Saxapahaw, NC 27340

Phone: (336) 212-1133
Website: NC Therapeutic Recreation Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina photo by Specious

Durham is situated in Durham County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 223,284, which has grown by 19.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Durham, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Durham are valued at $187,200 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,082 new homes were built in Durham, down from 1,574 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Durham are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 21 minutes. More than 41.8% of Durham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Durham is 7.3%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Durham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than both the national and state average. Laymans Church, Holy Infant Church and Homestead Heights Church are among the churches located in Durham. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Durham is home to the Hope Valley Country Club and the Union Building as well as Durham County Stadium and Northgate Park. Shopping centers in the area include South Square Mall, Lakewood Shopping Center and Kings Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Durham can choose from Brownestone Inn, Durham-Days Inn ) and Hilton Durham for temporary stays in the area.