Skip navigation


Therapeutic Recreation Concentration

CMU's therapeutic recreation program is designed to provide you with the knowledge, skills and practical experience necessary to become a nationally certified therapeutic recreation specialist.​ In our major, students will learn how to provide functional treatment interventions and recreational activities for clients with intellectual disabilities, psychiatric conditions, physical disabilities, chemical dependency issues, and seniors with disabilities. 

Typical work settings for recreational therapists include physical rehabilitation units, mental health facilities, long term care, medical camps, and community inclusion programs.

Highlights about this program

  • Receive your degree from one of the most successful programs in the United States, with our program ranking as one of the top five programs in the nation for number of certified therapeutic recreation specialists.
  • Finish up your academic career with a 15- or 30-week clinical internship.
  • Median salary for recreational therapists is $56,567 (range $45,075 - $68,512)
  • Flexibility of becoming a recreational therapist directly upon graduation with a bachelors degree or pursuing a graduate degree in occupational therapy
  • Graduates of this program are passing the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) examination at a 94.9% rate. The national passing rate is 88.3%

Student Testimonials

“The RPL program gave me the opportunity to dive into my passions and grow, not only as a person, but also as a professional, while also guiding me to new people who ended up becoming my extended family.” ​
Delaney Eckstein, Therapeutic Recreation Graduate, May 2020

“The CMU TR program is a family. I have never felt more accepted, loved, & motivated to achieve my dreams. This program is the best support group who provides endless laughs & amazing friendships I’ll cherish forever!”
Maddison Dinneweth, current Therapeutic Recreation student

Application Process
Students interested in majoring in therapeutic recreation should contact one of the TR 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 to sign your major if appropriate. 

Pre-Occupational Therapy Preparation
The therapeutic recreation major is an excellent choice for students interested in attending graduate school for occupational therapy or other allied health pursuits. Graduates of the TR program have a high success rate in getting accepted to graduate schools in OT. The TR program is also host to the Pre-OT Student Club with a TR faculty member serving as the faculty advisor and many TR students involved at all levels of the club’s leadership. TR faculty advisors are happy to provide guidance to students interested in OT graduate school including providing materials related to requirements for OT graduate schools in Michigan.

Therapeutic Recreation Curriculum
Semester One:
  • RPL 118: Introduction to RPL
  • RPL 210: Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation
  • HSC 214: Human Anatomy
  • RPL 340: Therapeutic Recreation: Developmental Disability
  • RPL 345: Therapeutic Recreation: Gerontology
Semester Two:
  • HSC 215: Human Physiology
  • PSY 250: Abnormal Psychology
  • RPL 311: Pre-internship in Therapeutic Recreation
  • RPL 341: Therapeutic Recreation: Physical Disability
  • RPL 342: Therapeutic Recreation: Behavioral Health
Semester Three:
  • TR Elective - Disability in East Europe Study Abroad or Adventure Therapy or Aquatic Therapy
  • RPL 349: Facilitation Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation
  • RPL 518: Research & Philosophy in RPL
  • RPL 580: Programming in Therapeutic Recreation
  • RPL 581: Management Issues in Therapeutic Recreation
Semester Four:
  • 15 week / 600 hour Clinical Internship
Semester Five
  • 15 week / 600 hour Non-Clinical Internship

Apply to CMU
College of Education and Human Services | Central Michigan University | | 195 Ojibway Ct | EHS 426 | Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859 | (989) 774-3079