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Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic recreation is a human service profession that utilizes recreation and leisure as a means to increase health, well-being, and quality of life for people with disabilities, illnesses, or other conditions.

Examples of employment settings include, but are not limited to, hospitals, physical medicine and rehabilitation centers, substance abuse facilities, residential and group homes, special recreation associations, and long term care facilities.

For more information on the Therapeutic Recreation program, please consult the Illinois State University undergraduate catalog. Due to certification requirement changes, students starting therapeutic recreation classes in Fall 2011 should consult the 2011 undergraduate catalog supplement.


Professional Certifications

Students graduating from the Therapeutic Recreation sequence who meet the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) requirements are eligible to take the examination to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.

Real World Experience, Real Outcomes

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010), employment of recreational therapists is expected to increase 15 percent from 2008 to 2018, faster than the average for all occupations in community, residential, and health service settings serving persons with disabilities, senior citizens, or those diagnosed with mental retardation, mental illness, or substance abuse problems. 

Important Information & Links for Therapeutic Recreation

Prior to the start of the senior internship, students are required to provide proof of certification in First Aid and CPR/AED Adult and Pediatrics and 400 documented hours of Field Experience.

The documented hours must be from a minimum of three different settings; must include a minimum of 100 hours each at two different settings and a minimum of 50 hours each in other settings; acceptable hours could be obtained anytime post high school and could be paid or volunteer; acceptable hours must consist of direct interaction with people who have disabilities.

Examples of Senior Internship Sites

  • Children's Memorial Medical Center (Chicago, IL)
  • Veteran's Administration Medical Center (Danville, IL)
  • Fox Valley Special Recreation Association (Aurora, IL)
  • Cunningham Children's Home (Urbana, IL)
  • Advocate Christ Hospital (Oak Lawn, IL)
  • DuPage Convalescent Center (Wheaton, IL)
  • Texas Neuro Rehabilitation Center (Austin, TX)


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Kinesiology and Recreation
Campus Box 5120
250 McCormick Hall
Normal, Il 61790-5120
Phone: (309) 438-8661
Fax: (309) 438-5559

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