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Recreation Therapy Aide

Recreation therapy aides help recreation therapists plan and deliver therapeutic programs and recreational activities. They also arrange special events.

  • Avg. Salary $44,800.00
  • Avg. Wage $23.80
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 5,300
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Rehabilitation Services Practitioner

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Therapy Assistants (3414.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services (D313) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other assisting occupations in support of health services (3414) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other assisting occupations in support of health services (3414) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

21%
21%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Recreation Therapy Aide is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Therapy Assistants
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. They organize and lead a variety of social and leisure activities (such as exercises, sports, crafts, music, drama, community outings and special events). These activities provide opportunities for clients to take part in recreation as therapy.

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

  • review client assessments and goals (for therapeutic recreation programs and recreation-based activities)
  • conduct one-on-one, small group and large group activities
  • support clients through treatment programs
  • help prepare, maintain and store equipment and supplies (such as audio-visual or exercise equipment, or craft supplies)
  • use equipment (such as ceramic moulds and exercise equipment) and teach clients how to use it
  • observe, report and document client engagement and progress
  • provide recreation therapists with feedback (as needed) regarding program adjustments or client participation
  • prepare and clean up program work areas
  • support the work of volunteers and students.

Sometimes recreation therapy aides drive buses for community outings.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Recreation therapy aides may work in health care settings, as well as community settings where leisure takes place (such as private homes, community facilities or outdoor settings). As a result, working conditions vary. Some aides work shifts that include evenings and weekends.

Recreation therapy aides often take part in activities requiring above-average strength and stamina.

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

Recreation therapy aides need to possess:

  • excellent people skills
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to listen, speak and write well
  • the ability to observe
  • the ability to be organized
  • empathy
  • enthusiasm
  • flexibility
  • the ability to take part 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, especially seniors and persons with disabilities
  • handling and maintaining equipment and supplies
  • being creative and spontaneous.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Recreation therapy aides may be trained on the job, but employers generally prefer applicants who have related education and experience. For example, they may have experience working in health care facilities or with the elderly.

Current CPR / First Aid certification, immunizations and a criminal record check are normally required for employment. Computer skills, the ability to communicate in a second language, a valid Class 4 driver’s licence and recreation-related skills (such as experience in sports, music, drama, or 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

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

NorQuest College

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Recreation therapy aides work for:

  • rehabilitative, psychiatric and acute-care hospitals
  • community centres
  • 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 3414: Other assisting occupations in support of health services. In Alberta, 83% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance [pdf] industry.

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

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

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

In Alberta, the D313: Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.2% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 246 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016
Other assisting occupations in support of health services

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 $12.70 $29.84 $20.71 $21.42
Overall $15.00 $34.54 $23.80 $23.56
Top $15.93 $63.15 $30.27 $25.69

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
ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

54%
54%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

21%
21%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

3%
3%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

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

Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) website: canadian-tr.org

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

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 22, 2018. 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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