2020 Nursing Page Update

Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness

There’s more to life than just showing up to work — but when your job is about celebrating wellness and enriching the lives of others, earning a living can be especially rewarding.

The Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness degree program at York College offers a starting point for numerous career paths that allow you to work with individuals of all ages and abilities. Using evidence-based practices, students graduate ready to support wellbeing throughout their communities.

Two concentrations are available to students pursuing this major:

The Therapeutic Recreation concentration prepares students to serve a wide variety of treatment needs with knowledge and skills that support age-related conditions, behavioral and mental health, substance addiction recovery, physical rehabilitation, chronic illness, developmental or intellectual disabilities, community inclusion, and adapted sports and recreation.

The Wellness Management concentration offers a pathway for students interested in recreation or wellness agencies, including outdoor recreation, youth development and family-focused non-profits, armed forces MWR, corporate wellness, fitness and wellness settings, and public parks or recreation agencies.

College students sit under the rainbow colors of a recreational parachute, smiling as the fabric billows around them.

Majoring in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness

  • Key Courses

    Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness Courses

    The Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness major offers a wide variety of required classes, electives, and real-world learning opportunities. All courses within the program offer opportunities for firsthand experience through on-campus or community-based projects. Your classes may include:

    • REC 103: Leadership and Group Dynamics
    • REC 205: Foundations of Outdoor Leadership
    • REC 210/211: Experience Design with Design Lab
    • REC 390: Meeting Children's Needs through Movement

    4+1 Graduate Degree Opportunities

    Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness majors may choose to pursue a 4+1 graduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. By pairing their undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness with this graduate program, students can earn both their bachelor's degree and M.Ed. in as few as five years total. 

  • Career Opportunities & Benefits

    Careers in Recreation Therapy and Wellness

    No matter your interests, York College’s experienced faculty will guide you toward real-world opportunities that allow you to build a strong professional network in your preferred field.

    These are just a few of the many career opportunities available to graduates of the Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness program:

    • Adaptive Sports Coordinator
    • Adventure Guide
    • Recreational Therapist
    • Armed Forces MWR Director
    • Environmental Educator
    • Life Enrichment Director
    • Campus Recreation Director
    • Park Ranger
    • Resort Activity Director
    • Special Events Planner
    • Youth and Family Recreation Specialist
    • Wellness Director
    • Recreational Sports Director

    Recreation Therapy Salary Information

    A degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness prepares you for a wide variety of careers. The jobs available to you will vary widely, depending on your area of emphasis, geographic location, and the experience you build over the years. 

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recreational therapists earn a median salary around $51,000, with top earners reaching salaries over $80,000.

    In addition to recreation therapy, there are a number of lucrative career paths in other disciplines that Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness graduates may consider. For example:

    Benefits of a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness

    York College’s bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness opens up countless opportunities for graduates. Whether you choose to focus on Therapeutic Recreation or Wellness Management — you’ll be well prepared for a career in a field that fuels your passion for helping others.

    Recreation, wellness, and recreational therapy are rapidly growing fields, and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in these areas will continue growing over the next several years. 

    A therapeutic recreation and wellness degree also offers flexibility in future work environments. From corporate offices to the great outdoors, athletic fields to community centers, and hospitals to inclusive recreation programs — the skills you learn in this major will provide value wherever your career takes you. Graduates of York College’s Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness program have found successful employment with a wide range of organizations, including:

    • WellSpan Rehabilitation 
    • Dover Township Parks and Recreation
    • Easter Seals
    • Open Sky Wilderness
    • SpiriTrust Lutheran
    • RICA Baltimore
    • Little Rookies Baseball
    • Willow Valley Communities
    • Masonic Village in Elizabethtown
    • Warren Township Parks and Recreation
    • Howard County Therapeutic Recreation
    • YMCA of the Roses
    • York JCC
  • Internships & Work Experience

    Internships & Work Experience

    York College’s Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness program is rooted in service to our community. You’ll go beyond the textbook as you participate in hands-on projects that help others, both on campus and throughout the greater York area. 

    Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness Field Experience

    Your résumé will get a jump-start long before graduation, with two major work experiences built into the curriculum. The first, Experiential Learning in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness, is a 120-hour supervised field experience. The second, your Directed Field Experience in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness, is usually pursued following all coursework and involves working side-by-side with full-time recreation professionals for a total of 480-600 hours. 

    In the past, students have completed field experiences at the following sites, just to name a few:

    • Behavior by Design
    • Brightview Westminster Ridge Assisted Living
    • Camp Taconic
    • Cheesequake State Park
    • Club Scikidz
    • Coatesville Country Club
    • Easter Seals of Southern and Western PA 
    • Fairfax County Therapeutic Recreation Department
    • Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center
    • Greater Somerset County YMCA 
    • Jewish Community Center of Margate City
    • Lake Barkley State Resort Park 
    • Manchester Township Parks and Recreation
    • Marshy Point Nature Center 
    • Maryland Conservation Corp
    • Masonic Village at Elizabethtown
    • Memorial Lake State Park
    • Nixon Park Nature Center
    • Northern Lehigh Recreation Authority
    • Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute
    • Prince George's County Parks and Recreation
    • RICA Baltimore
    • Senior Commons at Powder Mill 
    • Springfield Rehabilitation Center
    • Tamarack Day Camp
    • United Sports Training Center
    • Waterview Hills Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center 
    • Yellow Breeches Educational Center
  • Mentorship & Community

    Mentorship & Community

    At York College, we pride ourselves on our community-oriented campus, with faculty members who are committed to helping students be successful. During your time in college, you’ll develop a network of peers and professionals that you can carry throughout your career. 

    Beyond the classroom, you’ll also have the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers through the Recreation and Leisure Student Association. This student-run organization is open to any York College student who is interested in helping people through recreation and related service. 

  • High-Demand Skills

    Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness Career Skills

    Careers and job descriptions shift over time, no matter which path you pursue — but a Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness degree prepares you with transferable skills to keep you competitive in the job market long-term. 

    • People skills
    • Organization
    • Leadership and management skills
    • Communication
    • Critical thinking
    • Customer and personal service
    • Ability to train and educate others
    • Patience and compassion

    Best Minors for a Degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness

    • Applied Youth Development
    • Human Services 
    • Outdoor Leadership
    • Psychology
    • Not-For-Profit Management
    • Athletic Coaching

    Parks and Recreation Certification Program

    CPRP Certification

    The Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification is available to all students who graduate from the Recreation Leadership major. According to the National Recreation and Park Association, the CPRP certification is one of the most sought-after certifications in the park and recreation profession. 

    Why should you pursue CPRP certification?

    • Greater career opportunities 
    • Higher income possibilities 
    • Recognition of your accomplishments
    • Proof of your ability to meet or exceed national standards
    • A new level of commitment to the parks and recreation field

    Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Certification Program

    CTRS Certification

    Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) certification is available to Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness majors who choose the Recreational Therapy emphasis and complete PSY230, NUR201 or HSV250, BIO112 or BIO220, and a 560 hour Directed Field Experience (DFE).

    According to the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), “The CTRS designation is the unifying credential for recreational therapists throughout the United States, Canada, and 15 other countries with approximately 18,000 Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (who hold active, inactive, or eligible for re-entry status) in the NCTRC registry.”

    Why should you pursue CTRS certification?

    • The most advanced professional credential for the field of therapeutic recreation 
    • The industry standard that exemplifies each professional's dedication to quality standards and excellence in practice

    Wellness Practitioner Certification Program

    CWP Certification

    The Certified Wellness Practitioner (CWP) certification is available to all York College students who graduate from the Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness degree program. According to the National Wellness Institute, the CWP is "the gold-standard wellness certification."

    What are the benefits of CWP certification?

    • Recognizes your competence as a wellness professional
    • Demonstrates an ongoing commitment to professional development and growth
    • Showcases your standing as a leader in the wellness field, and elevates your professional reputation
  • Accreditation & Professional Recognition

    Accreditation & Professional Recognition

    COAPRT Logo

    The Therapeutic Recreation and Wellness program at York College of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT).

    2022-2023 COAPRT 7.0 Series Report

    2022 NCTRC Professional Certification Exam Report

    Important Information Regarding Degree Mills

    Please watch this important video regarding degree and accreditation mills. According to CHEA, "Degree mills and accreditation mills mislead and harm. In the United States, degrees and certificates from mills may not be acknowledged by other institutions when students seek to transfer or go to graduate school. Employers may not acknowledge degrees and certificates from degree mills when providing tuition assistance for continuing education. “Accreditation” from an accreditation mill can mislead students and the public about the quality of an institution. In the presence of degree mills and accreditation mills, students may spend a good deal of money and receive neither an education nor a useable credential." Read more on CHEA's website.

Program Requirements

Required Courses and Degree Requirements for Graduation
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2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Contact Us
Department of Health Professions
Elizabeth Shearer, M.S.
Department of Health Professions, Chair
Diehl, Room 207
Phone: 717.815.1740