Aurora University

Therapeutic Recreation (BS)

Why study Therapeutic Recreation?

Therapeutic Recreation helps people with disabilities improve their quality of life through participation in recreational activities. Therapeutic Recreation is recommended for students who enjoy helping others and are interested in activities such as sports, arts, music, outdoor adventure, camps, theater, animal-assisted therapy, or gardening.

Why study Therapeutic Recreation at AU?

Aurora University’s Therapeutic Recreation program will prepare you to use treatment, education, and recreation services to help people with illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions. These individuals will be able to develop and use their leisure in ways that enhance their health, functional abilities, independence, and quality of life. In the classroom, you will build a strong academic foundation through engaging coursework and explore intervention and treatment methods in areas such as animal-assisted therapy, adventure programming, and horticulture therapy. You will also develop the necessary leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills needed to be a successful practitioner.

The Chicagoland area has numerous therapeutic recreation opportunities in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, correctional centers, and park districts. Your coursework, practical experience, and internship will prepare you to enter a field filled with vast potential and possibility.

Studying Therapeutic Recreation at AU will prepare you to pass the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) examination, which is the benchmark for the field.

In Our Own Words

In Our Own Words: Kris Johnson on why Aurora University is an ideal place to study this increasingly popular profession

The Chicagoland area is a really strong area for therapeutic recreation, not only because the number of hospitals and clinics, but because Illinois is the only state with special recreation associations. Students gain hands-on experience in the community and build skills they can transfer to their resumes.

The Therapeutic Recreation program at AU has many strengths, but I believe that one of the most important strengths comes from the camaraderie and sense of community among the students in the program. Avery Ideran '20

2020 annual median salary for recreational therapists


2020-2030 projected job growth rate

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Curriculum Highlights
  • Administration
  • Assessment and documentation
  • Essentials of anatomy and physiology
  • Facilitation techniques
  • General psychology
  • Lifespan development
  • Psychological disorders
  • Recreation as a therapeutic intervention
  • Therapeutic recreation internship         
  • Therapeutic recreation for special populations
  • Therapeutic recreation programming
Campus Opportunities
  • Aurora University Human Performance Club
  • Circle K International
  • Rec & Roll
  • Unleashed
My coursework really prepared me to work in this field. Classes are challenging and packed with so much useful and important information. I worked hard in my classes because I found them so enjoyable. Megan Borgra '20
Experiential learning

Experiential learning

In the Therapeutic Recreation program, you will participate in curricular and co-curricular practical experiences that will enhance your professional knowledge and skills, including hands-on workshops with adaptive equipment, working with individuals with a variety of disability types, and designing programs. These activities will help you hone your skills and interest in the field and give you the opportunity to define your interests in therapeutic recreation services.

Career possibilities

  • Adaptive sports coordinator
  • Camp manager/director
  • Certified therapeutic recreation specialist
  • Community center director
  • Inclusion specialist
  • Program specialist
  • Recreational therapist

Where our graduates work

  • Camp Courageous
  • Elgin Mental Health
  • Fox Valley Special Recreation Association
  • Greenfields Senior Living
  • Little City
  • Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association
  • Northwest Suburban Special Recreation Association
  • Plymouth Corrections
  • Winning Wheels