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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 $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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • 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

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

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

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

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 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

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
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
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Retail Trade

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 website:

Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association website:

Therapist Assistant Association of Alberta (TAAA) website:

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 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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