Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic recreation, or recreational therapy, is one of the fastest growing health and human services professions. Healthcare Pathways ranked it among its top 10 fields of study; CNN Money listed it as one of the 10 best jobs to save the world; and Forbes chose it as one of the top 25 meaningful college majors, where graduates pursue careers that combine a healthy financial life with a powerful sense of purpose.

Exceptional Faculty

Lynn Anderson, Susan Barnett, Jackie Dyke and Susan Wilson serve as professors for most therapeutic recreation courses. They all are award-winning, nationally-recognized experts in the fields of outdoor, therapeutic and inclusive recreation who boast impressive records of scholarship and service. Because our classes are small and our approach is student-centered, you will get the guidance you need.

Inclusive Recreation  Resource Center (IRRC)

Housed on our campus, the IRRC assesses and improves the inclusiveness and accessibility of parks and recreation facilities and programs by providing education and assistance to agencies around the globe. A leader in best practices for inclusion, the IRRC offers exciting research opportunities for graduate students. Learn more.

Program Highlights

Regardless of their undergraduate major — anything from art to English to the natural sciences — students can pursue our 34-credit master’s degree. 

Our M.S. concentration in therapeutic recreation, which can be pursued in person or fully online, prepares students to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist® (CTRS). We also offer a six-course online certificate for professionals who require the necessary coursework to become a CTRS. Those courses can be applied to the M.S. if students wish to continue their studies at SUNY Cortland.

Students finish their studies with an internship that integrates theory with practice. They choose from an array of clinical or community-based settings and work under the guidance of a CTRS and faculty supervisor.

NCTRC, the national certifying body for therapeutic recreation, offers the NCTRC scholarship. Individuals may apply for an NCTRC Scholarship for full or partial reimbursement of funds associated with successful completion (earned grade of C or better) of academic credit generating course(s) completed within the past 12 months. Academic courses must lead to application for Professional Eligibility, recertification of their CTRS® credential, Area of Specialization Designation, progress toward advancement of a degree in TR/RT, or enhanced recreational therapy knowledge to provide improved quality of care. Learn how to apply here.

Career Potential

You’ll learn how to help people with disabilities and other differences achieve a state of well-being. You’ll also qualify to sit for the national certification exam to become a CTRS. Therapeutic recreation specialists work in clinical settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. They also work in community settings such as parks and recreation departments, retirement centers, camps and schools.

Contact Us

Chair: Susan Wilson
Main Office: Professional Studies Building, Room 2213-A 
Phone: 607-753-4941 
Fax: 607-753-5982 

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