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Oklahoma State University

Recreational Therapy Overview

Recreational therapy is a valued profession within health care and human services. It refers to the therapeutic application of recreational, educational and other experiential interventions. The primary purpose of recreational therapy is to use recreation and leisure activities as a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person's level of functioning in life activities to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminated the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition. Recreational therapy is one of two degree options offered by the Recreation Management/Recreational Therapy degree program in theThe School of Kinesiology, Applied Health and Recreation.

Career Opportunities

Recreational therapy has been designated by the United States Department of Labor as the twelfth fastest growing occupation in the country. The recreational therapy option in the recreation management/recreational therapy major leads to a bachelor of science degree and prepares students to work with persons with disabilities in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, day programs, mental health facilities and community-based settings. Over 80% of employment opportunities in Oklahoma are in the areas of mental health and physical rehabilitation. 

Experience Opportunities

Recreational therapy majors must complete at least three work experiences in which they explore different professional environments. These include a one credit Warm Water Therapy Laboratory; a 10-week, 400 hour Junior Internship; and a 15-week, 600 hour senior internship. The junior internship occurs during the summer between the Junior and senior year. Students complete their education with the full-time, fourteen-week senior internship during the last semester of the senior year. For more information, go to recreational therapy internship manuals.

Program Quality

The recreational therapy program at OSU is the only such degree program in Oklahoma. The recreational therapy program is accredited through the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE) by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) which is accredited by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  Accreditation assures the graduating student of eligibility to meet the requirements to take the national certification examination administered by the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), upon successful completion of the NCTRC certification examination the student would earn the national credential of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).  Students wishing to work in Oklahoma upon successful completion of the NCTRC examination will be eligible to apply for Therapeutic Recreation Licensure in the state of Oklahoma through the Committee on Therapeutic Recreation Licensure by the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision.



Last year more than $250,000 in scholarships were awarded to students in the College of Education and Human Sciences. In addition to endowed scholarships from the college, students are sometimes awarded scholarships from state or national professional organizations. Students may also apply for fee waivers, college work-study, federal grants and loans and employment opportunities on campus. For more information, go to recreation management/recreational therapy scholarships overview.

More Information

Dr. Tim Passmore

Recreation Management/Recreational Therapy
181 Colvin
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078

Office of Student Services

106 Willard Hall
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078

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