Recreational Therapy Undergraduate Certificate


The recreational therapy undergraduate certificate was designed to meet the workforce
development needs of individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree and wish to become
a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). The CTRS credential is the nationally
recognized credential for the provision of quality recreational therapy services. The CTRS
credential is earned through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification
The certificate program is open to non-degree seeking students (i.e. if you are enrolled in
another degree program at FIU, you are not eligible for admission until after you graduate).
Upon completion of this certificate, students can apply for NCTRC’s Professional Eligibility
and sit for the NCTRC Exam in order to become a CTRS.

Certificate Tracks

Courses for the Coursework Equivalency Track are offered over three consecutive semesters
and courses for the Clinical Experience Track are offered over two consecutive semesters.
This program operates in a cohort model.

  • Coursework Equivalency Track

    This track is for professionals who already have job experience in recreational therapy and a
    bachelors degree in a related discipline, and just need to complete the RT coursework to
    qualify for the CTRS credential. Upon completion of this track, students will be eligible for
    CTRS certification through
    NCTRC’s Equivalency Path.


    • Bachelor’s degree
    • 1,500 hours of paid work experience using the TR process under the supervision of a CTRS
      OR 5,000 hours of paid work experience that uses the TR process.
      **Please note that applicants are responsible for confirming their job experience meets
      the NCTRC guidelines.


    • LEI 3400: Conditions and Diagnoses in Recreational Therapy (3 credits)
    • LEI 3703: Introduction to Recreational Therapy (3 credits)
    • LEI 4705: Program Planning in Recreational Therapy (3 credits)
    • LEI 4711: Assessment and Documentation in Recreational Therapy (3 credits)
    • LEI 4712: Evaluation & Evidence-Based Practice in Recreational Therapy (3 credits)
    • LEI 4724: Recreational Therapy Modalities & Techniques (3 credits)
  • Clinical Experience Track

    This track is designed for professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree in Recreational
    Therapy (or a degree with a track in Therapeutic Recreation, Recreational Therapy,
    Rehabilitation, or related), and are only missing the clinical internship experience for the
    CTRS credential. Upon completion of this track, students will be eligible for CTRS certification
    through NCTRC’s Academic Path.


    • Completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher with concentration in recreational
      therapy/therapeutic recreation, that included completion of a minimum of 18 credits of
      RT/TR coursework in addition to specific support coursework.
      **Students who graduated from the Rehabilitation Track from the Rehab and RT degree
      at FIU are eligible for this track.


    • LEI 4940: Fieldwork in Recreational Therapy (6 credits)
    • LEI 4941: Recreational Therapy Internship (12 credits

Admission Requirement

1. FIU Undergraduate Certificate Application
2. FIU Residency Classification Form
3. Official academic transcripts confirming completion of a baccalaureate degree with a
minimum of 2.5 GPA
4. Current resume/CV
5. State of Purpose (SOP)

Content to consider for SOP

  • What are your reasons for pursuing a certificate in Recreational Therapy?
  • What personal and professional qualities make you a good candidate to become a
    recreational therapist?
  • What are your future career plans?

The faculty director of the program may schedule an interview with prospective candidates
if more information is needed regarding their eligibility.

Program Dates/ Schedule

The program operates in a cohort model, with the first proposed cohort beginning in Fall 2024
(August 26th, 2024).

   **Based on the number of applicants, the first cohort may be delayed to a Spring 2025 start.


  • Coursework Equivalency Track Course Schedule (Tentative)

    Semester One:
    -LEI 3400: Conditions & Diagnoses in RT 3 credits
    -LEI 3703: Introduction to RT 3 credits
    Fall 2024

    Semester Two:
    -LEI 4705: Program Planning in RT 3 credits
    -LEI 4711: Assessment & Documentation in RT 3 credits
    Spring 2025

    Semester Three:
    -LEI 4712: Evaluation & Evidence Based
    Practice in RT 3 credits
    -LEI 4724: RT Modalities & Techniques 3 credits
    Summer 2025


  • Clinical Experience Track Course Schedule (Tentative)

    Semester One:
    -LEI 3400: Conditions & Diagnoses in RT 3 credits
    -LEI 3703: Introduction to RT 3 credits
    Spring 2025

    Semester Two:
    -LEI 4705: Program Planning in RT 3 credits
    -LEI 4711: Assessment & Documentation in RT 3 credits
    Summer 2025


Tuition & Fees Per Credit Hour*Total Program Cost (18 Credits)
In-State Student$235.57$4,240.26 (+103.69 fee per semester)
Out-of-State Student$648.87$11,679.66 (+103.69 fee per semester)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Recreational Therapy?

    Recreational Therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes
    recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illness and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and wellbeing.

  • What is a CTRS?

    A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) is a nationally certified therapist who has
    demonstrated professional competencies by acquiring a specific body of knowledge and passing the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam and is the most qualified professional to provide recreational therapy services. A CTRS often serves as a member of the healthcare treatment team along with other healthcare professionals.

  • What is NCTRC?

    NCTRC is the premier credentialing organization for the field of recreational therapy. NCTRC
    sets standards for certification including education, experience, and continuing professional
    development. Students who wish to become a CTRS must pass the NCTRC exam after
    completing the undergraduate degree to receive the credential.

  • How exactly do you become a CTRS?

    NCTRC has two pathway options for individuals to become a CTRS:
    1) Academic Path
    2) Equivalency Path

    The Academic Path is designed for the traditional academic graduate. The steps include:
    • Completion of a Bachelor degree or higher with concentration in Recreational Therapy
    (Therapeutic Recreation)
    • Completion of a minimum 14 week/560-hour internship supervised by a CTRS
    • Successful completion of the NCTRC Certification Exam

    The Equivalency Path is designed for applicants who have accomplished extensive work in RT in
    combination with designated coursework to meet the NCTRC Certification standards
    • Completion of a Bachelor degree or higher
    • Completion of specific coursework in Recreational Therapy (Therapeutic Recreation)
    • Paid work experience that uses the Therapeutic Recreation process
    • Successful completion of the NCTRC Certification exam

  • What if I am only missing 1-3 classes to be eligible to become a CTRS?

    If you are missing only a couple of classes (or even one class) to be eligible for certification, you
    will not be required to complete the full certificate. We accept non-certificate seeking students
    into these courses. You would need to contact the faculty program director to determine when
    the courses you need are offered, and will then apply and enroll as a ‘non-degree seeking
    student’ at FIU. The cost per credit hour will be the same.

  • Can I transfer in Credits?

    We accept up to six transfer credits. If you have already completed RT courses or practicum experience, these may count towards the 18 credits, but this must be verified and approved by the program director. If your credits are accepted, you will then only need to complete the remaining coursework.

  • What if I have already completed the RT coursework and a fieldwork/practicum experience, and just need to complete the 560-hour RT Internship?

    It is possible to waive the fieldwork experience (required in the Clinical Experience Track) if an
    associated course is documented on your transcript and is practice related. The program
    director will make this determination. If your prior experience meets the program requirements, you will transfer in with up to six credits, and then will only have to complete the
    12-credit internship (LEI 4941).


  • What if I am missing the ‘Supportive Courses’ required by NCTRC?

    NCTRC requires specific ‘Supportive Courses’ for eligibility to become a CTRS (these are in
    addition to the 18 credits of RT specific coursework). These include a total of 18 social
    sciences/humanities credits with a minimum of 4 credits in anatomy and physiology, 3 credits
    of abnormal psychology and 3 credits in human growth and development. These courses must
    be completed prior to submitting your application of professional eligibility to NCTRC and is
    recommended to take them before or during the coursework included in the RT certificate
    program. Students can complete these courses from any accredited institution, and many
    students choose to complete them at a local community college. It is possible to complete
    these classes at FIU as a non-degree seeking student, but students are not guaranteed
    enrollment as these particular courses frequently fill quickly at FIU.

  • What is the difference between Fieldwork and Internship?

    Fieldwork (LEI 4940) provides students with the opportunity to gain introductory hands-on
    experience at an approved healthcare agency. Students will complete a total of 320 hours at an
    approved site. Fieldwork can be completed under the supervision of many different types of
    healthcare professionals, and the fieldwork supervisor is not required to be a CTRS. Internship
    on the other hand is an experience structured around the RT process, and follows NCTRC
    guidelines. Students must complete a total of 560 internship hours over a minimum of 14
    weeks, under the supervision of a CTRS, at an approved agency.

  • How do I find a fieldwork and/or Recreational Therapy internship placement?

    All fieldwork and internship locations must be approved by the program before the experience
    begins. All students will participate in a fieldwork/internship orientation session to learn about
    the steps to obtain a placement and all the requirements that must be met by the student. FIU
    does have a list of sites that have accepted RT students in the past. FIU requires an affiliation
    agreement with every agency that accepts a student for a fieldwork or internship placement.
    The affiliation agreement is a legal contract that has to be approved by both the agency and
    FIU’s legal counsel. It is important to note that students are responsible for finding and securing
    their own placement and are not guaranteed to complete rotations in their preferred location,
    city, or setting. The students will receive direction and support from program faculty
    throughout the entire process

  • What if I currently work full-time, but still want to complete an internship?

    The internship is a full-time commitment. Typically, the 560 hours is completed over a single
    semester, which averages approximately 40 hours per week. Interns will work with the agency
    to set their schedule. It is very difficult to work a regular full-time job while completing a fulltime internship, but if you are able to work out a schedule that can accommodate both your
    paid job and your internship, then it may be possible.

  • Are internships paid?

    Most internships are unpaid. There may be some opportunities for a paid internship, but these
    are typically rare.

  • What if I need both the classes AND the clinical experience?

    If you currently have a bachelors degree and have not taken any RT courses nor do you have an
    clinical experience, you would essentially complete both tracks, but you would receive just one
    certificate. You would enroll in the Coursework Equivalency Track, and then complete an
    internship. This is a quicker way to certification rather than pursuing a second bachelor’s
    degree (which would require completion of more credits).

  • What are my job prospects?

    Recreation Therapy is a fast-growing profession. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s
    Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, faster than average for all occupations. The increase in the number of aging adults is generating recreational therapy jobs nationwide. Students who choose the rehabilitation track to pursue other allied healthcare professions also have good prospective employment, as the labor and employment market for health and rehabilitation fields is very strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups, with 14% projected growth from 2018 to 2028.

  • What types of settings do recreational therapists work in?

    Recreation therapists work in a wide variety of settings! You may find a CTRS working in parks and
    recreation departments, rehabilitation hospitals, behavioral health and psychiatric facilities,
    school/education settings, community non-profit organizations, nursing homes/long term care facilities, substance abuse treatment centers, correction facilities or camps.

  • Do states require a license to practice Recreational Therapy?

    Only some states require a license to practice recreational therapy. Licensure is a legal, non-voluntary process regulated by state government. This means that in states that have RT licensure, you cannot practice without a license. Currently there are five states that have RT licensure laws: NH, NJ, NC, OK, UT. If you live in one of these states, be sure to research the specifics of licensure.