Recreational therapy relies on activities such as games, music, community activities and outings, swimming and other physical activities to treat disabilities and illnesses. Professionals engaged in this work have, depending on the country, the title of diversion therapist, physiotherapist, physical therapist or recreational therapists. In the United States, a recreational therapist salary is around $48,190. In Canada, the mean reaches C$40,976 ($32,541 USD). Recreational therapists have mean salaries of £29,382 ($40,809 USD) in the United Kingdom, AU$53,092 ($41,750 USD) in Australia, and NZD$60,684 ($44,264 USD).
How Much Does a Recreational Therapist Make?
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Recreational Therapist Salary Determinant Factors
What determines the pay of a recreational therapist turns on experience and work setting in particular. Generally, recreational therapists can earn more with longevity and achieving senior roles. Due to opportunities for self-employment, recreational therapists can shape their compensation based on clients served, the rates they set and hours worked. For other recreational therapists, the type and size of employer can influence pay.
1. How Much Does a Recreational Therapist Make by Country?
Recreational Therapist Salary in US
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places the mean pay for recreational therapists in the United States at $48,190. The median stands at $46,410, with the top quarter of earners making above $59,680 and the top ten percent reaching above $72,340.
Recreational Therapist Salary in Canada
According to PayScale, the mean pay for Canadian recreational therapists is C$19.70 per hour, or C$40,976 per year. Pay ranges from C$30,550 to C$62,207.
Recreational Therapist Salary in UK
SalaryExpert reports the mean pay for recreational therapists in the United Kingdom at £29,382. Salaries run from £21,917 to £36,386. The National Careers Service states that pay for physiotherapists, who share the duties associated with recreational therapists, earn from £22,000 to £41,000.
Recreational Therapist Salary in Australia
In Australia, the mean pay for full-time diversional therapists, also known as recreational ones, registers at AU$1,021 per week. This translates to an annual pay of AU$53,092 for full time recreational therapists.
Recreational Therapist Salary in New Zealand
According to the New Zealand Government, recreational therapists earn between NZD$16.00 per hour and NZD$27.00 per hour. On an annual basis, assuming full-time work, pay ranges from NZD$33,280 to NZD$56,160. SalaryExpert reports the mean pay for recreational therapists at NZD$60,684.
2. How Much Does a Recreational Therapist Make According to Experience?
According to PayScale, entry-level recreational therapists in the United States average $38,000 per year. At the five to ten-year experience level, the mean rises to $40,000. Recreational therapists with ten to 20 years in the field make $43,000, with the mean rising sharply to $51,000 for those with more than 20 years of experience.
In the United Kingdom, as reported by SalaryExpert, recreational therapists with up to three years of experience earn on a mean basis £21,971. With eight or more years of experience, pay climbs to a mean of £36,386. According to the National Careers Service, physiotherapists in the United Kingdom earn £22,000 as “Starters,” £28,000 to £35,000 at the “Experienced” level, and up to £41,000 as “Highly Experienced” physiotherapists.
3. How Much Does a Recreational Therapist Make According to Work Environment?
In the United States, recreational therapists are highest paid on a mean basis in the federal government, at $67,230. Those in “Offices of Other Health Practitioners” follow at $55,010, with recreational therapists in “Home Health Care Services” rank third at $54,630. Among popular settings for recreational therapists, the mean in “General Medical and Surgical Hospitals” is $51,180 and stands at $41,430 in “Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities).”
The ability of recreational therapists to own their own practices can influence pay. Approximately 22 percent of “Therapy and assessment professionals,” including recreational therapists, in Canada fall in the self-employed ranks.
In the United Kingdom, physiotherapists, who perform the functions of a recreational therapist, work normally under the auspices of the National Health Service. These allied health professionals start on “Band 5” of the National Health Services pay scale, placing salaries between £22,128 and £28,746 as of April 2017. Physiotherapists in the United Kingdom can also run private practices and set their own rates, schedules and client loads.
Recreational therapists generally work full-time, although many hold part-time jobs. In the United States, approximately 20 percent hold part-time status.
Job Bank Canada includes recreational therapists within the larger category of “Other Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment.” Within this group, 66 percent work full-time.
This falls below the 81 percent of all workers in Canada who are full-time. According to Job Outlook Australia, full-time diversional, or recreational, therapists log 37.3 hours per week.
To meet clients’ needs and schedules, recreational therapists may have evening or weekend sessions as well as traditional weekday and daytime hours. In residential nursing facilities, events planned by recreational therapists occur during evenings or weekends as well.
Bonuses and Benefits
For recreational therapists in the United States, the mean bonus is $600 per year. SalaryExpert reports the mean bonus for those in the United Kingdom at £361. The figure stands at NZD$734 in the United Kingdom.
PayScale reports that 81 percent of recreational therapists in the United States have medical coverage. For dental benefits, the coverage rate registers at 71 percent. Recreational therapists enjoy vision benefits at a 57 percent clip. In Canada, three out of four have medical coverage, 58 percent get dental and one out of two enjoys vision benefits.
The occurrences of strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, combat injuries and other illnesses or physical conditions will continue the demand for recreational therapists. With an increasingly older population will arise the need for recreational therapists to promote balance and effective body movement.
Overall, the recreational therapy occupation is small compared with others, but growth should occur in various degrees. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of seven percent, or 1,300 positions, in employment of recreational therapists through 2026 in the United States. The field numbered 19,200 in 2016.
Job Outlook Australia projects an increase of 1,000 diversional, or recreational, therapist positions from 2017 to 2022. In 2017, the occupation numbered 3,100, making it a relatively small field. In New Zealand, job opportunities should prove “good” due to the demand for diversional therapy.
The National Health Service reports that the United Kingdom had 55,050 physiotherapists registered through the country’s Health and Care Professions Council in January 2018.
Overall, the salaries of recreational therapists fall under the six-figure level. Prospects for higher pay generally reside among self-employed ones, who can establish their rates, hours and client levels. Among non self-employed therapists, those who work for companies can expect higher pay on average than those working for public sector providers. The need for the services of recreational therapists should remain strong given the aging population and prevalence of illnesses and disabilities requiring this form of therapy.