Large group seated at a table working on crafts, including students and participants at an assisted living facility

Therapeutic Recreation

Ignite your creativity and your passion for helping others in a career in therapeutic recreation. As a professional in this rapidly growing field, you will share your talents, compassion, and positive outlook with children and adults facing physical, cognitive, emotional, or social challenges to improve their quality of life. Studying therapeutic recreation at St. Thomas Aquinas College will prepare you to help those in your care develop new skills for daily living by engaging them in the activities they love.

St. Thomas Aquinas College’s program is built on the standards of excellence established by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). The curriculum prepares you to succeed in your career through a wide range of hands-on learning opportunities. Our expert faculty nurture students to become highly skilled healthcare professionals who enter the workforce fully prepared to make a difference in the world, one person at a time.

At a glance

  • Undergraduate major & minor
  • BS
  • 4 years
  • Main campus

Common Minors

  • Art
  • Art Therapy
  • Psychology

Only at St. Thomas Aquinas College

Ignite Your Career With Experiential Learning

Hands-on learning experiences are essential to your success in therapeutic recreation. Our students complete internships and fieldwork across a diverse range of settings including school systems, hospitals, healthcare facilities, schools, hospitals, healthcare facilities, community day programs, and long term care facilities. Students are also required to complete a senior-year internship at one of over 100 clinical affiliations, including Helen Hayes Rehabilitation

Hospital, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, New York University Medical Center, Cornell University Hospital (Westchester campus), Blythedale Children’s Hospital, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and Rockland County Children’s Hospital. 

Career Preparation & Mentoring

Every member of our distinguished faculty brings real-world experience into the classroom and curriculum and will inspire you to excel. The director of our therapeutic recreation program, Dr. Levine Madori, is a two-time Fulbright Scholar and an award-winning author, researcher, trainer, and practitioner.

Featured Courses

What Success Looks Like

“The most rewarding thing about my career is seeing the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits recreation therapy has for my patients. Watching my patients meet their goals and exceed them makes me feel grateful to be doing what I do.”
Melissa smiling wearing pink sweatshirt with blue siding in background
Melissa Urena Castillo, ’17 | CTRS, LRT
Specialized Recreation Instructor | City of Raleigh Municipal Government, North Carolina
Professor Madori and students at table working on crafts with participants at assisted living facility

Career Options

A bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation prepares you to excel in many settings, including:

  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Community Park and Recreation Agencies
  • Developmental Learning Centers
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Care Facilities
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • School Districts
  • Senior Centers

Our therapeutic recreation students intern and find full-time employment after graduation at organizations such as:

  • Blythedale Children’s Hospital
  • Burke Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Care One
  • Children’s Village
  • New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
  • Helen Hayes Hospital
  • Shrub Oak International School of Autism
  • Spectrum for Living
Students studying in the library.

Program options

The BS degree in therapeutic recreation provides the training, essential skills, and field experience to excel in your future career.

Our bachelor’s program meets the exceptional standards of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Upon completing the program, you will be eligible to sit for the NCTRC Exam to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).