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Becoming a recreational therapist involves obtaining specific education, certification, and practical experience. Here’s a general guide:
1. **Earn a Bachelor’s Degree**: First, you’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree, the most beneficial ones typically include therapeutic recreation or with specialization in therapeutic recreation.
2. **Internship or Practicum**: As part of your degree program, you’ll often need to complete an internship or a fieldwork practicum, which can provide you with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in this field under the supervision of an experienced professional.
3. **Certification**: Upon graduation, you can earn certification as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) by passing the exam administered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). The certification process may also require a period of work experience in the field.
4. **Job Experience**: Working as a recreational therapist provides experience that could lead to advancement in the field. Entry-level recreational therapists may start off working under the supervision of more experienced staff.
5. **Continuing Education and Advanced Degrees**: To maintain certification, recreational therapists often need to take continuing education courses and workshops. Some therapists choose to pursue advanced degrees in related fields like rehabilitative medicine or healthcare management for further career development.
6. **Specialized Certification**: Some recreational therapists may also want to specialize in areas like pediatrics, geriatrics, physical rehabilitation, and more. Specialized training or certification can help you stand out in these areas.
Remember to consult the precise requirements for recreational therapy practice in your country or region, as regulations can differ.