Imagine being able to become a recreational therapist and go into the office to treat just a few patients every week. Maybe you only work 10 or 15 hours a week, and you get to help people overcome their illnesses through creative ways. Maybe one week you teach senior citizens how to paint beautiful impressionist paintings. Maybe another week you get to host a talent show that encourages people with disabilities to show off their singing abilities. You can have this sort of fulfilling career by taking just a few steps and having the right attitude.
Get Your Associate Degree
First, you will need to meet some educational requirements before you can step into this field. It will be essential for you to get an associate degree in the medical field or therapeutic recreation. An associate degree will usually take two years to complete. While you can enter this field by just having an associate degree, it can be helpful if you have additional degrees in other fields. If you have a degree in music or art, then this can prove to be beneficial for nursing homes. Nursing homes may even give you a better position if you have additional qualifications. You may find that you become the director of an entire program when you have a background in music, theater or art.
Obtain Your Bachelor’s Degree
This field is becoming increasingly competitive. If you want to stay at the cutting-edge of recreational therapy, then obtain a bachelor’s degree in this field. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree will help you to stand out from the crowd. With a bachelor’s degree, you will automatically be considered for better positions than an entry-level job. It will be possible for you to negotiate a better salary with hospital entities too.
Be Aware of Certifications
Certain employers may want to see that you have obtained a certification in this field. Because of this, it does not hurt to work for a certificate from the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation offers a course that allows you to obtain your certificate in less than a year. In order to obtain your certification, you will need to pass a written exam. The program also requires that you complete 480 hours in an internship in the field. The internship can provide you with a great opportunity to get your foot in the door at a particular hospital or nursing home.
Attend Networking Events
Whenever conferences are being held for nursing home professionals in your area, you should be attending these types of events. Any type of charity event that benefits the local nursing home is also something that you should attend. This type of event will give you the opportunity to meet with other professionals in the field. The more contacts that you gain, the better chance you will have in landing your dream job as a recreational therapist. You should attempt to gain as many connections as possible in the field before you start the process of submitting applications.
Pursue Your Passion
During the interview process, you will set yourself apart if you are applying for a position that you truly want. If a nursing home is looking for a music director and music just happens to be your passion, then convey this passion in the interview. Don’t waste your time in applying for positions that are not relevant to your background or interests. If you are not interested in painting or sculpture, then don’t apply for a position as an art director for a health care facility.
Pursuing your dream of a recreational therapist can give you the chance to have a career that gives you independence and the ability to touch the lives of other people.