Therapeutic Recreation

Student advisement:

For questions about applying to degree programs, course registration, degree mapping, transferring, etc., please contact Olya Lykhvar, Manager of Academic Advising, at

Students may specialize in therapeutic recreation (TR) within the Bachelor of Science in Parks & Recreation Management degree.  The TR degree program is part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) through which students may be eligible for reduced tuition.  The curriculum prepares students with the skills to provide therapeutic interventions and adaptive recreation services for individuals with illnesses or disabling conditions in a variety of service settings. Students develop knowledge and skills to assess individuals, develop plans of service, provide diverse therapeutic interventions, and evaluate and document outcomes of care. Students gain competencies to effectively provide comprehensive therapeutic recreation services including; program design and evaluation, individual and group service provision, and advocating for individuals served.

The Bachelor of Science in Parks & Recreation Management with a Therapeutic Recreation Concentration includes supportive courses such as anatomy and physiology, human development and abnormal psychology. Community engaged projects and fieldwork experiences are a required component of the curriculum. When students have fulfilled all the required coursework, they are required to complete an internship under the supervision of a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Program graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination offered through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Please see the Major Map for the required coursework.

What is therapeutic recreation?

Therapeutic Recreation or Recreational Therapy is defined by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association as a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.

Talk to an instructor about the career

To discuss career options and for general questions about the therapeutic recreation program itself, please contact Kelly Ramella, Instructor & Program Coordinator, at Refer to advisement for questions concerning enrollment, registration, degree mapping, etc.

Opportunities in the field

Therapeutic recreation professionals have the flexibility to work in numerous locations with diverse populations to impact the person’s quality of life.  Graduates of the program are eligible to work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Adult day health care facilities
  • Assisted living
  • Human service organizations
  • Long-term and residential care facilities
  • Parks and recreation programs
  • Rehabilitation, pediatric and psychiatric hospitals
  • Special education
  • Veterans affairs hospitals

Student engagement

Students interested in therapeutic recreation are encouraged to be active in the community, to gain knowledge of the diverse programs and services and develop professional relationships for future employment.  The Arizona State Therapeutic Recreation Association Student Club (ASTRA) is a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience and network with professionals in Therapeutic Recreation. ASTRA Student Club offers a variety of career fieldwork opportunities.

Get involved today!  Start making a difference in your community.

Learn more about the student club:  ASTRA Student Club

Professional Organization and Resources:

National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification

Students who complete the Bachelor of Science in Parks & Recreation Management with a Therapeutic Recreation Concentration are eligible to sit for the national CTRS examination.  Alternative professional pathways to certification are available for students who completed a degree in another field of study. Review the standards available on the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification website for more information: National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.