Certification and Licensure

Once the bachelor’s degree is complete, you will be eligible to take the national board certification exam needed to acquire the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential and start practicing as a professional in the field. 

You may choose to attend graduate school, but it is not a requirement for certification.

Four states in the US require a license to practice and Longwood's program meets the requirement for students to obtain a license in those states. Virginia does not require a license. 


CTRS’s positions vary from entry-level practitioners to department directors and college professions.

Often, the setting where the CTRS works determine the primary functions of the CTRS’ role.

In long- term care, rehabilitation, or psychiatric settings CTRS’ spend much of their time implementing interventions to improve the client’s functioning and completing documentation such as assessments and progress notes.

In a community setting, a CTRS may spend more time developing and implementing recreation programs based upon a needs assessment.

CTRS often oversee volunteers to assist with programming needs, which may include adaptive sports equipment or animal-assisted therapies.


Recreation therapists work in both community and allied health settings. Clients of recreational therapy services are very diverse.

Some populations that are commonly served include children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, individuals with traumatic brain injury or stroke, individuals with spinal cord injuries, individuals receiving psychiatric treatment, individuals with disabilities living in the community, active duty service members and veterans with physical and/or psychological disorders, and older adults with dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Community Settings  

  • Older Adult Residential Communities 
  • Adult Day Programs 
  • Group Homes 
  • Parks and Recreation Programs 
  • Outdoor Wilderness Camps 
  • School Systems 
  • Adaptive Sports Programs

Allied Health Settings 

  •  Veteran Administration Hospitals 
  • Psychiatric Hospitals 
  • Correctional Facilities 
  • Residential Facilities 
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation 
  • Pediatric Hospitals 
  • Long-term Care Facilities


In the state of Virginia, there are a variety of part-time and full-time recreation therapy jobs available in each major region of the state. 

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2019) recreation therapy as a profession is growing at a rate of 7% annually, which is faster than the national average.


According to the National Outlook Handbook developed by the US Department of Labor Statistics (2019), the average annual salary for recreation therapists is approximately $48,000.

Starting salaries vary significantly depending on the work setting, employee role and geographical location.

Internships and Field Work

Some Longwood University graduates secure employment prior to the completion of their internship, and the majority find employment within 3-6 months of graduating.

Longwood’s TR program offers a plethora of practical professional experience as part of the student’s curriculum including a junior and senior internship.

Internship site supervisors have consistently reported that student’s enrolled in the Longwood TR program receive preference for prime internship spots due to their depth of knowledge.

At the conclusion of their senior internship, the vast majority of Longwood TR students score “exceeds expectations” for professional skills by their internship site supervisors.

Learn more about Field Work and Internships