Some days are simply made for playing. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher
It is true that all work and no play makes life worthless. It sets in a monotony, which seems to strangle one's mental sanity. This hampers work and degenerates output. To maintain a certain quality of life, one needs to indulge in recreational activities from time to time. Being proactive about doing something new, takes the mind off routine and helps in thinking differently. A recreational therapist's job is to help patients suffering from various disabilities, with recreational activities such as dancing, singing, drawing, playing a sport, cooking, gardening, looking after pets, and so forth. The whole point is to channelize their energies in a constructive way and divert their mind from the illnesses.
How to Become a Certified Recreational Therapist
A bachelor's degree is the basic qualification that one requires to kick-start a career as a recreational therapist. Thus, if you aspire to be one, then enroll yourself in a college that offers a degree course that specializes in recreational therapy. A course as such covers subjects such as planning and treating patients with mental and physically disorders. Understanding of human anatomy, physiology, intervention design, abnormal psychology, medical and psychiatric terminology, characteristics of disorders and ethics for a professional life. One can also combine a few subjects to get an insight of certain aspects of recreational therapy. After basic graduation, one can pursue a master's degree or a doctoral degree too. However, with a bachelor's degree, one can look out for entry-level jobs as a recreational therapist.
To understand the requirements of being a recreational therapist, one needs to get some hands-on experience. Thus, while you are pursuing your bachelor's degree, intern at a few places to learn your subjects better. Interning also helps in getting an in-depth perspective into matters that are otherwise restricted to textbooks. Working as a student will help you improve on your social interaction skills too, which is the most crucial part of this job.
Getting a License
To practice any kind of a medicine related profession, one needs to obtain a license. Depending on the state you are residing in, find out the requirements of a getting a recreational therapist's license. You may have to appear for a few exams to get a license, over and above your educational qualifications.
This part of becoming a recreational therapist is about getting your certifications. Most employers prefer candidates who are certified. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is an association that provides this certification. There is a written examination and an internship of 480 hours.
Their job description includes planning relevant activities for patients. They also have to maintain documentation of the patients and report to doctors and family members on regular basis about the patient's recovery progress. A recreational therapist has to be a part of the physical activities and motivate the patient to use the activities to their full advantage.
The most important part of becoming a recreational therapist is to be a people's person. Anyone can get a degree and add feathers to their educational qualifications. However, to excel at this job, it is necessary to have qualities of kindness and compassion. Patience, empathy, diligence and dedication are some of the virtues of a successful recreational therapist. One needs to have accurate observation acumen, to understand the patient in greater depth, beyond the disorder. Being patient and positive about your patients sometimes helps in their speedy recovery, and develops a relationship of utmost trust. A career as a recreational therapist is a demanding one. However, besides its monetary rewards, it gives one the power to change lives of many in a lot of ways.