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Recreational Therapist

Salary: $18.25-$22.28 hourly / $3,175-$3,876 monthly / Range: 5156

DEFINITION: Under general supervision, plans, organizes, and supervises medically approved recreation programs for psychiatric patients; monitors and evaluates patient progress; and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: Recreational Therapists oversee the treatment and program direction for patients assigned for recreational therapy and differ from Occupational Therapists, who oversee programs designed to provide practice in prevocational, vocational, creative homemaking, sensorimotor, educational, social, and daily activity skills.


1. Plans, organizes, and supervises daily activity programs for psychiatric patients; observes patient behavior for significant signs of health or illness to report to staff; leads individual and group recreation therapy sessions; plans and leads group trips outside the psychiatric facility; provides for patient safety and welfare during therapy sessions and community outings; and instructs and supervises patient use of equipment.
2. As a member of treatment team, participates in development of patient's initial assessment, progress, treatment plans, and goals; selects appropriate activities for diagnostic and treatment needs; assists patients in establishing and accomplishing treatment goals; and writes reports describing patients' initial assessment, behavioral changes, progress, or regression.
3. Coordinates recreational therapy orientation and programs with nursing staff; and recommends and oversees purchase of recreational therapy equipment.

EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS: Possession of a bachelor's degree in recreation therapy or in recreation and leisure studies with a specialization in recreation therapy and eligibility for certification as a recreation therapist by the California Board of Recreation and Park Certification.

Certificates: Appointees must obtain certification as a recreation therapist by the California Board of Recreation and Park Certification within one year of appointment. Within six months of appointment, appointees must obtain (1) a valid Red Cross First Aid and Personal Safety Certificate or a Standard First Aid Multimedia Certificate AND (2) a valid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Certificate.

Additional Qualifications: Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License and the ability to work weekends and shifts is required.

Knowledge of: principles, practices, and professional standards of recreational therapy; current trends in therapeutic recreation; methods of psychological behavior assessment and evaluation; and program administration.

Ability to: assess, plan, organize, and supervise a departmental recreational therapy program for clients; assess and evaluate patient treatment progress or regression; lead individual and group sessions; plan and supervise community outings; assist patients in establishing and attaining realistic treatment goals; write effectively; speak clearly and concisely; keep accurate and comprehensive records; develop effective working relationships with staff, family members, and persons with varying degrees of mental illness; select equipment and oversee purchases and use; identify, develop, and utilize community facilities, support agencies, and programs; maintain confidentiality; and foster trust and cooperation.

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