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Recreation Therapy


Recreation Therapy is one of three concentrations in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at Radford University. Upon successful completion of the program, students can find employment in municipal parks and recreation systems, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, prisons, youth organizations, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities camps and non profit agencies.

Recreation Therapy Concentration (24-26 credits)

In addition to the core curriculum and major requirements, students wishing to complete the recreation therapy concentration must complete the following:

  • BIOL 105 - Biology for Health Sciences
  • (BIOL 104 is recommended)
  • PSYC 121 - Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC 230 - Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 439 - Abnormal Psychology (SS Core)
  • RCPT 340 - Processes in Recreation Therapy
  • RCPT 342 - Assessment in Recreation Therapy
  • RCPT 344 - Program Design and Evaluation in Recreation Therapy
  • RCPT 445 - Professional Advancement in Recreation Therapy

6-8 credits from:

  • BIOL 310 - Human Structure and Function I
  • BIOL 311 - Human Structure and Function II
  • BIOL 322 - Human Anatomy and Physiology for Pre-Nursing Majors

The National Recreation and Park Association accredits the recreation therapy concentration as well as core degree requirements. Students will be eligible to take the national examination for a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) upon graduation. This certification is the most professional advanced credential for the field of recreation therapy. Recreation specialists often work as part of an interdisciplinary team including physicians, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, and speech language pathologists.

What is Recreation Therapy?

Recreation therapy is the use of recreational services to improve or maintain physical, mental, emotional, and/or social functioning to assist individuals in expressing independent leisure lifestyles. Comprehensive recreation therapy services involve a continuum of care including: treatment that uses activities to remediate or rehabilitate functional abilities and to assist in diagnosis; leisure education that uses activities to acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes that facilitate an independent lifestyle and avocational competence; and recreation that uses activities to enhance health, growth, development, and independence through intrinsically rewarding leisure behavior. Within their courses, students use a wide range of assessment and screening tools, personalize individual treatment plans, provide leisure education programs, and facilitate community integration/ reintegration programs.

Campus Resources and Programs

A state-of-the-art recreation therapy laboratory serves as a setting for clinical recreation therapy practice for students and practitioners. Some of the outreach services offered include: an adventure therapy ropes program for brain injury survivors and caregivers; various social skill development groups using creative arts and games; an inclusive preschool program that teaches preschool-aged children with and without disabilities to work together; and RU Outdoor Accessible Recreation. Over 2,000 hours of client services are provided annually as part of the laboratory.

Students may also become involved in RU Gone Fishin’!, a program designed to help people connect or reconnect with recreational fishing and friends family, neighbors, and communities. These connections come about by sharing experiences, stories, and sometimes lies about the big one that got away. RU Gone Fishin’! helps this happen by providing training, support, and resources to anyone who would like to participate in this fun and challenging activity.