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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.

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) 
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

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


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


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


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

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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.

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 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Feb 05, 2022 and Mar 30, 2023.

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.
Attention to detail
Tasks: Maintain prescription records and inventories of medications and pharmaceutical products
Tasks: Compound, package and label pharmaceutical products
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Client focus
Construction Specialization: Reliability
Construction Specialization: Team player
Construction Specialization: Dependability
Construction Specialization: Effective interpersonal skills
Tasks: Prepare and maintain equipment and supplies
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016
  • Minimum Education Varies

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.

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 Dec 19, 2016
  • Certification Not Regulated

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

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 3414: Other assisting occupations in support of health services occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 169 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

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
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

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

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

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
Vacancy Rate
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:

Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA) website:

Therapist Assistant Association of Alberta (ThAAA) website:

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

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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