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Occupational Profile

Recreation Therapy Aide

Recreation therapy aides assist recreation therapists in planning and implementing therapeutic programs and recreation activities. They also arrange special events.

  • Avg. Salary $38,099.00
  • Avg. Wage $23.85
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 5,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Rehabilitation Services Practitioner

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

50%
50%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Recreation Therapy Aide is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Therapy Assistants
NOC code: 3414.2
METHODICAL

Interest in copying information to assist patients as directed by health care professionals

SOCIAL

Interest in assisting patients by helping elderly and incapacitated patients to dress and undress, by accompanying patients to treatment rooms and by supporting them in other activities

objective

Interest in handling to prepare and maintain work materials and supplies; and in assisting patients in the use of therapeutic equipment

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Recreation therapy aides work with people who have physical, mental or social disabilities. By organizing and leading a wide variety of social and leisure activities (for example, exercises, sports, crafts, music, drama), community outings and special events, recreation therapy aides provide opportunities for clients to participate in recreational and therapeutic activities.

Under the direction of recreation therapists and other professionals, recreation therapy aides:

  • review patient referrals and goals for therapeutic recreation programs and recreation-based activities
  • conduct individual and group activities such as sports, active and passive games, arts, craft, drama, music, gardening, cooking and baking programs, community outings and special events
  • support patients through treatment programs that have been designed to maintain or restore physical, emotional, mental and social capabilities
  • prepare equipment and supplies (for example, audio-visual or exercise equipment, craft supplies) and assist with their maintenance and storage
  • operate equipment and teach patients how to use equipment such as ceramic molds and exercise equipment
  • observe, report and document patient involvement and progress
  • advise recreation therapists about program adjustments and modifications to treatment plans as needed
  • prepare and clean up program work areas
  • support the work of volunteers and students.

Aides also may drive special buses for outings into the community.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Most recreation therapy aides work in health care facilities. They often work regular weekday hours but their hours can vary. In some environments, evening and weekend work is required.

To avoid injury, recreation therapy aides must use proper methods when lifting and moving heavy patients and equipment.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Recreation therapy aides need the following characteristics:

  • interpersonal and leadership skills
  • oral and written communication skills
  • observation skills
  • organizational skills
  • empathy
  • enthusiasm
  • flexibility 
  • the ability to participate in physical activities
  • the ability to work with little supervision
  • a strong interest in leisure and wellness activities.

They should enjoy:

  • having clear guidelines for their work
  • working with people, particularly seniors and persons with disabilities
  • handling and maintaining equipment and supplies
  • being creative and spontaneous.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have related education and experience (for example, experience working in health care facilities or with the elderly). Current CPR/First Aid certification, immunization and criminal record checks usually are required for employment. Computer skills, the ability to communicate in a second language, a valid Class 4 driver's license and recreation-related skills (for example, in sport, music, drama, arts and crafts) are definite assets.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Bow Valley College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Recreation therapy aides are employed by:

  • rehabilitative, psychiatric and acute care hospitals
  • community and mental health facilities
  • residential care facilities
  • adult day support programs
  • prisons and correctional centres
  • private and government recreation centres
  • private community-based agencies.

Without further education, opportunities for advancement are limited.

Recreation therapy aides are part of the 2011 National Occupational Classification 3237: Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment. In Alberta, 87% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 7,700 Albertans are employed in the Other assisting occupations in support of health services occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.2% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 246 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As recreation therapy aides form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for recreation therapy aides.  

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Other assisting occupations in support of health services
NOC code: 3414

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $14.00 $28.90 $21.05 $21.45
Overall $16.00 $34.03 $23.85 $23.41
Top $18.00 $36.20 $26.05 $25.07

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

50%
50%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

21%
21%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

3%
3%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Fine Arts
    • Dance
    • Drama
    • Music
    • Visual Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Recreation Leadership
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association website: www.alberta-tr.org

Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association website: www.canadian-tr.org

Therapist Assistant Association of Alberta (TAAA) website: www.thaaa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 20, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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