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Students in the Warm Water Therapy pool

What is recreational therapy?

Recreational therapy is using prescribed activity-based interventions as treatment for children, adolescents, adults and geriatrics. Recreational therapists plan, direct and coordinate treatments for those with physical, mental or developmental diagnosis and help them enhance or maintain their health, independence and well-being through recreational therapy.  

Why recreational therapy at OSU?

OSU is the only Oklahoma institution to offer this degree. Our program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Recreational Therapy Education (CARTE) through the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), attracting quality students from across the country. Graduates are well prepared to pursue advanced studies in physical and occupational therapies, counseling, chiropractic or medical school and other graduate programs. Additionally, graduates are eligible to sit for the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist® (CTRS) and apply for Medical Licensure in the State of Oklahoma.

Career Paths

Our graduates go on to work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, day programs, nursing homes or other public or private health care settings as:


Warm Water Therapy

Each semester, students gain practical experience by participating in OSU’s Warm Water Therapy Lab at Stillwater Medical Center. Student therapists provide therapy to children with behavior, physical and psychiatric diagnoses and disabilities through assessment, development of a treatment plan, delivery of interventions as part of the treatment plan and evaluation of progress. This is the first of three clinical rotations required for the recreational therapy program.


Internship Experiences

Our students complete two internships totaling 1,000 hours under the direction of a nationally credentialed and state licensed recreational therapist. During their junior and senior year, students work closely with site recreational therapists to conduct assessments, develop treatment plans, deliver interventions and report during treatment team meetings. Internship sites may include behavioral health or psychiatric treatment facilities, physical rehabilitation facilities, home-health settings, public schools, private practice or community-based facilities.


Student Perspective

Taylor Church

“My internship allowed me to practice recreational therapy in a variety of leisure activities. Treating patients through activities like painting, pottery and aquatics let me apply classroom knowledge to real care.”

- Taylor Church
Recreational Therapy student

College of Education and Human Sciences

Student support


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