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Examining the Educational Requirements for Entry-Level RT/TR Practice: The Process and Recommendations of the ATRA Higher Education Task Force

Brent L. Hawkins, Patricia J. Craig, Lynn S. Anderson


Over the span of two years (2016–2018), a Task Force within the American Therapeutic Recreation Association’s Higher Education Committee planned and implemented a systematic study to investigate the educational requirements for entry-level education in recreational therapy/therapeutic recreation (RT/TR) and to provide recommendations and strategies addressing educational requirements. The Task Force conducted a mixed-methods study with four stakeholder groups, including practitioners, educators, students, and credentialing and accrediting bodies in RT/TR. Data were collected and analyzed from this study, in addition to a review and consideration of existing literature and resources associated with education in health disciplines. This process yielded one finding and five recommendations to inform the future of RT/ TR education. Results indicated that the most current and pressing need in higher education is to improve the quality and consistency of the bachelor’s degree in RT/ TR. The five recommendations for the future of RT/TR education are reported and discussed.

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Entry-level practice; higher education; recreational therapy education; therapeutic recreation education

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