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Recreation Therapy Aide

Recreation therapy aides help recreation therapists plan and deliver therapeutic programs and recreational activities. They work directly with clients and volunteers.

Also Known As

Activity Aide’s Therapy Assistant

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

  • 3414.2: Therapy Assistants

2006 NOC-S

  • D313: Other Assisting Occupations in Support of Health Services

2011 NOC

  • 3414: Other assisting occupations in support of health services

2016 NOC

  • 3414: Other assisting occupations in support of health services

2021 NOC

  • 33109: Other assisting occupations in support of health services

2023 OaSIS

  • 33109.03: Rehabilitation aides
Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Recreation therapy aides are members of a health-care team. Alongside a recreation therapist, they work with people who are ill or have limiting or disabling conditions. They help 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 and improve their quality of life.

Under the direction of recreation therapists, a recreation therapy aide may:

  • Conduct a portion of the assessment process, such as a social- or leisure-history questionnaire
  • Review client assessments and goals for therapeutic recreation programs and recreation-based activities
  • Plan and conduct one-on-one, small-group, and large-group activities
  • Support clients through treatment programs
  • Collaborate with other members of the health-care team
  • Help prepare, maintain, and store equipment and supplies such as audio-visual or exercise equipment, or craft supplies
  • Use, and teach clients how to use, adaptive equipment for recreation activities
  • Assist individuals with mobility equipment or assistive technology devices
  • Observe, report, and document client engagement and progress
  • Recognize and report changes in client abilities and function
  • Provide recreation therapists with continual feedback regarding program adjustments, improvements, or client participation
  • Prepare and clean up program work areas
  • Direct the work of volunteers and students

Recreation therapy aides regularly drive buses for community outings.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Recreation therapy aides may work in health-care settings and in community settings where leisure activities take place. These might include private homes, community facilities, and outdoor settings, for example. 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.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Therapy Assistants

2006 NOC: 3414.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Recreation therapy aides need:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Communication skills (listening, speaking, and writing)
  • Observational skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Empathy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Flexibility
  • The ability to take part in physical activities
  • The ability to work with little supervision
  • Judgment and risk-management skills (to ensure client safety)

They should enjoy:

  • Participating in leisure and wellness activities
  • Having clear guidelines for their work
  • Working with people, especially seniors and people with disabilities
  • Handling and maintaining equipment and supplies
  • Being creative and spontaneous

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Other assisting occupations in support of health services

2016 NOC: 3414

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 172 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jan 05, 2024 and Jul 18, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Organize and maintain inventory
Tasks: Assist health care professionals
Experience: 1 year to less than 2 years
Tasks: Order supplies and equipment
Tasks: Prepare and maintain equipment and supplies
Tasks: Perform general clerical duties
Construction Specialization: Organized
Attention to detail
Tasks: Maintain supplies
Tasks: Compound, package and label pharmaceutical products
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Minimum Education Varies

Recreation therapy aides may be trained on the job. However, employers often prefer applicants who have related education and experience. This might include a 2-year diploma as a therapeutic recreation assistant or interdisciplinary therapy assistant, or experience working in a health-care facility or with older people.

Current CPR and first aid certification, current immunizations, and a criminal record check are normally required for employment. In addition, the following are definite assets:

  • Computer and technology skills such as the use of tablets and the setup and use of audio-visual equipment
  • The ability to communicate in a second language
  • A valid Class 4 driver’s license
  • Recreation-related skills such as experience in sports, music, drama, or arts and crafts
  • Training or experience working with specific client populations such as those with dementia, mental health issue, or addictions
  • Membership in the Therapy Assistant Association of Alberta or a supporting membership with the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association

Related Education

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

AGA Academy
Aquinas College Inc.
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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2024
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2024

Recreation therapy aides work for:

  • Rehabilitative, psychiatric, and acute-care hospitals and services
  • Community centres
  • Mental health and addiction facilities
  • Residential care facilities
  • Adult day-support programs
  • Prisons and correctional centres
  • Private and government-funded recreation centres
  • Long-term care and assisted-living residences
  • Rehabilitation hospitals and clinics
  • Day programs and outpatient services
  • Private community-based agencies

Without further education, opportunities for advancement are limited.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 3414: Other assisting occupations in support of health services occupational group, 83.7% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 3414: Other assisting occupations in support of health services occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 95 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2024

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other assisting occupations in support of health services

2016 NOC: 3414
Average Wage
$23.86
Per Hour
Average Salary
$39,005.00
Per Year
Average Hours
31.4
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 3414 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $35.81 $21.03 $20.39
Overall $16.64 $38.84 $23.86 $23.26
Top $18.00 $47.67 $26.87 $25.95

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
57%
57%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
18%
18%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
4%
4%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2024

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

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

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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2024. 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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