Recreational Therapy

If you want to make a difference in the world and want your job to be your passion, you'll love this degree

Under the guidance of our passionate and experienced faculty, you'll learn the skills that lead to work in hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, psychiatric units, pediatric medical camps, or long-term care facilities. A culminating clinical internship will complete your training in the delivery of functional recreational interventions for clients with health conditions. Many students also go on to graduate school in occupational therapy or other allied health fields. Our recreational therapy concentration, the first nationally accredited program in Michigan, prepares you to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). You will have two academic degree options to choose from, both leading to national certification. 

Bachelor of Science track prepares students for graduate school in the allied health field

This track prepares you to be competitive for acceptance into graduate school in fields such as occupational therapy, social work, counseling, physician assistant, child life, art therapy, and many other allied health fields. You will take a higher amount of science credits in this track and will end your career at CMU with a fifteen-week clinical internship in either behavioral health, physical medicine & rehabilitation, or long-term care. In addition to being ready for graduate school, students are also eligible to sit for the national certification exam in recreational therapy. Many students choose to work as recreational therapists for a year or two before heading off to graduate school. 

Bachelor of Applied Arts track prepares students for employment directly after graduation

You'll take part in a curriculum that will prepare you to work as a nationally certified therapeutic recreation specialist immediately after graduation. Students end their academic careers by taking part in two fifteen-week internships, one clinical and one non-clinical. The first internship is located at a clinical site of the student's choice in behavioral health, physical medicine, and rehabilitation, or long-term care. The second non-clinical internship will take place in settings such as a pediatric medical camp, adapted recreation program, or with clients that have intellectual disabilities in a community inclusion program.

Find Your Program

Careers in Recreational Therapy 

Our graduates from this program must take and pass the national NCTRC exam to practice as Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) professionals in the field. Recreational therapists work with children and adults who have disabilities or chronic illnesses in a variety of settings.

Andrea Bevolden - Recreational Therapist

Mary Free Bed Medium

Here are some of the places our students are doing internships

Our students complete 15 or 30-week internships as a capstone experience to their academic careers. Internships take place all over the country and provide extremely valuable opportunities to gain professional skills and build networks of professional contacts. Our students have interned recently at a variety of locations including:

  • Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts.
  • Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital, Oregon.
  • North Start Reach Pediatric Medical Camp, Michigan.
  • Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Michigan.
  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Ohio.
  • Colorado Springs VA Hospital, Colorado

Pre-Occupational Therapy Students 

Our recreational (RT) major is an excellent choice if you're interested in attending graduate school for occupational therapy (OT) or other allied health pursuits. Graduates of the RT program have a high success rate in getting accepted to graduate schools in OT. The RT program is also hosted by the Pre-OT Student Club with an RT faculty member serving as the faculty advisor and many RT students involved at all levels of the club’s leadership. Our faculty advisors are happy to guide students interested in OT graduate school including providing prepared materials related to requirements for OT graduate schools throughout Michigan.

Application Process

If you are interested in majoring in therapeutic recreation, contact one of our Faculty Advisors to set up a meeting to discuss signing a major. During this advising meeting, the faculty member will discuss long-term goals, the curriculum, and how to sign your major if appropriate.

LEANN WHEELER

FIXED-TERM FACULTY

Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration

(989)774-2599

SHAY DAWSON

FACULTY

Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration

(989)774-7308