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


  • Brent L. Hawkins Clemson University
  • Patricia J. Craig University of New Hampshire
  • Lynn S. Anderson SUNY Cortland




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


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.Subscribe to TRJ

Author Biographies

Brent L. Hawkins, Clemson University

Assistant Professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University

Patricia J. Craig, University of New Hampshire

Patricia J. Craig is an associate professor in the Department of Recreation Management and Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

Lynn S. Anderson, SUNY Cortland

Lynn S. Anderson is a distinguished service professor in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies at SUNY Cortland and the director of the Inclusive Recreation Resource Center.