Students in Therapeutic Recreation Walker TR Lab 0305

Therapeutic Recreation

About This Program

You’re a people person. You’re energetic and feel happiest when you’re on the move. You thrive when you can help others achieve their goals. Therapeutic recreation may be the major for you.

Why Utica College

One of only a handful of programs in the discipline nationwide, the Therapeutic Recreation major at Utica College combines liberal arts learning with professional training and real-world experiences, helping students develop the in-depth technical and theoretical skills necessary for entry level competence in this growing profession.

Taught by an accomplished faculty with extensive experience in the field, the program prepares students to use recreation to improve or maintain physical, intellectual, emotional, and social functioning and to optimize independence for people with disabilities.

Contact Information

Office of Admissions

(315) 792-3006

Kirstin Walker

Department Chair
(315) 792-3250

General Information


  • Major


  • B.S.


  • Utica Campus
Utica Excellence, Utica Value

Therapeutic Recreation at Utica

Hours of internship experience in a professional setting as part of this program


Median annual pay for recreational therapists


Estimated job growth


Career Opportunities

Therapeutic Recreation graduates work in a variety of fields, including:
    • Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation, and Hospitals
    • Mental/Behavioral Health
    • Youth Programs and Aging Populations
    • Corrections
    • Residential Care for people with developmental disabilities
    • Community-based programs for people with and without disabilities
Rising Arrow Job Outlook 364x200

On the Rise

Employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What You'll Learn

Year 1

  • TRC 103 - Leadership and Facilitation of Outdoor Recreation Programs (3)
  • TRC 104 - Leisure, Health, and Wellness Across Cultures (3)
  • IPE 102 - Introduction to Interprofessional Education (1)
  • PSY 101 - Introduction to Psychology (3)

Year 2

  • TRC 203 - Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation (3)
  • TRC 204 - Leadership, Analysis and Modification of TR Interventions (0, 4)
  • HLS 245 - Human Development Across the Life Span (3)
  • PSY 211 - Statistics in the Behavioral Sciences (3)

Year 3

  • TRC 305 - Assessment and Documentation (3)
  • TRC 306 - Program Design & Evaluation (3)
  • TRC 323 - Therapeutic Recreation and Physical Health Conditions (3)
  • TRC 324 - Therapeutic Recreation and Mental Health Conditions (3)

Year 4

  • TRC 406 - Organization, Administration, and Advancement of the Therapeutic Recreation Profession (3)
  • TRC 413 - Advanced Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques (3)
  • TRC 469 - Internship and Examination Preparation (1)
  • TRC 470 - Therapeutic Recreation - Internship (12)

**Four-Year Overview highlights some program-specific courses and does not include core curriculum & electives.**

Utica College offers one of the very few programs in the nation that issues a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation (instead of a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a specialization or concentration in Therapeutic Recreation) so students have greater preparation.

The major is unique in its focus on the clinical-medical aspects of the discipline as well as the philosophical foundation of recreation. Students participate in fieldwork through area agencies, conduct projects, and are involved in organizing interventions for various populations.

The curriculum includes a 560+ hour internship experience that may be completed in professional settings across the United States.

Kayaking Paddling Canoeing generic

Therapeutic Recreation Faculty

Therapeutic Recreation Adjunct Faculty

A Degree That Works

Graduates of this program meet the requirements of the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) and are eligible to take the certification examination and become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). Therapeutic Recreation graduates work in physical medicine and rehabilitation, mental/behavioral health, nursing homes and other programs serving older adults, residential care for people with developmental disabilities, youth programs, as well as community based programs for people with and without disabilities.

UC therapeutic recreation alumni have taken leadership positions at:

  • The Root Farm (Sauquoit, NY)
  • St. Luke's Home (Utica, NY)
  • Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center
  • Masonic Care Community (Utica, NY)
  • Upstate Cerebral Palsy
  • St. Lawrence NYSARC
  • MaineHealth
  • Beckwith Health Care (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Bergen Regional Medical Center (Paramus, NJ)
Utica College - DePerno Hall
Seal for National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Meets requirements for CTRS certification through NCTRC

The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is the premier credentialing organization for the profession of Therapeutic Recreation. Established in 1981, NCTRC is a non-profit, international organization dedicated to professional excellence for the protection of consumers through the certification of recreational therapists.

Learn More About NCTRC
Loretta Plescia 06 - Recreational Therapy

Essential Care

During the COVID-19 pandemic, recreational therapists such as Loretta Plescia '06, are among the many essential workers helping those who struggle with mental health issues like anxiety and depression. 

Read More
Jessica Leclerc

Official Success

In February 2018, Jessica Leclerc ’09 was one of only four American women (19 women total) to officiate the women’s ice hockey tournament during the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Maine native, former UC hockey captain, and graduate of UC’s Therapeutic Recreation program has been officiating since she was 12.

Physical Therapy lab

Dive Deeper

The Interprofessional Education (IPE) program at Utica College helps you develop a deeper understanding of a broad range of roles in the health professions so that you can effectively team up with practitioners in other disciplines to deliver outstanding patient care.

Learn More

At Utica College

Academic Quad at Utica College

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