Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation

The Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation prepares you to become a recreational therapist trained to work in healthcare and non-healthcare community-based environments. In this program, you will discover innovative strategies designed to help people with disabilities, illnesses, or health limitations lead active, engaging and meaningful lives through the use of activity-based interventions designed to enhance health and rehabilitation. 

Recreational therapists use a variety of techniques, such as adapted sports, expressive arts and life skills, to treat and maintain the emotional, mental and physical well-being of the people they treat. Students are trained to assess people’s needs, plan and implement specific interventions to meet those needs, and document and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions.

To become a recreational therapist, you must develop a thorough understanding of the 

  • foundations of therapeutic recreation practice;
  • related clinical procedures, including client intake and treatment planning;  
  • patient assessment and health documentation; and
  • research and evaluation methods.

You will also study fundamentals of human anatomy, motor behavior and physiology, abnormal psychology, and developmental psychology. You will learn to lead a variety of structured recreation activities, including

  • adaptive sports,
  • animal-assisted therapy,
  • aquatic therapy,
  • social skills training and 
  • stress management.

Some of your assignments may be completed at a variety of human health agencies, including community recreation centers, hospitals and nursing care facilities.

autism workshop with Temple public health students

Related Degrees

+1 Accelerated BS/MS Degree Option

The College of Public Health also offers the option of earning both a Therapeutic Recreation BS and a Recreation Therapy MS in five years, rather than taking the typical six years to complete both degrees.

Temple’s +1 students complete requirements for an undergraduate degree in three years and start graduate-level work in their senior year. One additional year of successfully completed coursework counts toward a master’s degree. Learn more about the +1 accelerated BS/MS degree program.

Fieldwork Requirements

The BS in Therapeutic Recreation includes two internships. The first is a 150-hour placement at an off-campus health and human services organization. The second involves a 600-hour, off-campus placement that lasts the entire semester and meets the internship requirements for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.Learn more about fieldwork requirements. Additional professional development work is also required as part of select courses.


Earning your bachelor’s degree prepares you to take the exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, a national certification employers often require before hiring candidates in this field. In 2016, 88.6 percent of Temple graduates passed this exam on their first attempt.


Additional Program Information