Therapeutic Recreation

Two STAC Therapeutic Recreation students sitting with participants in a senior center working on arts and crafts fall season project. Leaves; coloring bird house wall decor with markers; Dr. Levine-Madori standing and observing

Therapeutic Recreation (also referred to as recreation therapy) provides treatment for individuals with illnesses or disabling conditions to improve or maintain physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Treatments often incorporate arts and crafts, animals, sports, games, dance, music, and community outings.

Skills and Certifications in Therapeutic recreation

The Therapeutic Recreation option prepares students to work with people of all ages with physical disabilities, emotional disturbances, mental disorders, chemical dependencies, Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dual diagnoses. The upper-level classes require students to do field work and or community service in the surrounding communities. The final course is a Therapeutic Recreation Internship, where students commit a full 560 hours of service in any of the over 125 official sites that our college has established in the tri-state area. Our students are well prepared to incorporate class work into practice upon completion of this program, which is certified under the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Upon completion of the curriculum, the student will be eligible for the National Certification Examination and employment as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) in community, school, and residential settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, developmental learning centers, nursing homes, senior centers, and camps serving people with disabilities. In 2010, Newsweek listed the field of Therapeutic Recreation as one of the top 15 growing professions across the United States. Most students graduating in Therapeutic Recreation have received job placements due in part to the growing demands for Recreational Therapists in the healthcare field.

Program Objectives and Requirements

Study in Finland in therapeutic recreation

As a therapeutic recreation student at STAC, you can take advantage of our exchange agreement with Finland’s HAMK University of Applied Sciences and spend a semester studying abroad.

This course, developed in 2007, provides students in Therapeutic Recreation with a taste of international study abroad in Finland, with the benefit of classes being taught in the English language. Students are given the ability to learn an innovative methodology called the TTAP Method, and see it being provided throughout Finland through the Finnish Alzheimer’s Association, Community centers and Long Term Care Facilities. Utilizing a series of in-class lecture sessions, group experiential learning and observation at the clinical site, students will be taught how the TTAP Method is structured to be optimally utilized and replicated in Social Science research. This is a 5 day class, receiving 3 credits in TR and structured over either one or two weekends abroad.

Learn more.


Students at STAC can participate in clinical, hands-on experience under the guidance of Dr. Levine Madori in the Therapeutic Recreation Research Methods Course R/L 407. The class has conducted and published research findings in the American Therapeutic Recreation Research Institute and the New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association. The research class has conducted clinical research at Bergen Regional Medical Center, Northern Manor Rehabilitation Hospital and Cornell University.

Pictured above is Gabriel Yum, Therapeutic Recreation '17, presenting at a recent NY State Annual Conference.

Careers in therapeutic recreation

Our therapeutic recreation graduates are well prepared; more than 90% find full-time employment upon graduation. Employment opportunities include positions in after-care agencies, hospitals, non-profit agencies, nursing homes, prisons, recreation centers, rehabilitation centers, school districts, and summer camps.