Leisure plays an important role in a happy, healthy life. Therapeutic recreation is the purposeful use of fun activities to make an impact that goes beyond enjoyment — these activities help people with illnesses or disabling conditions recover, develop and grow. Therapeutic recreation specialists provide services using a variety of techniques, such as arts and crafts, animals, sports and games, dance and movement, drama, music and community outings. With a degree in therapeutic recreation, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge you need to prepare for a career promoting your clients’ physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Students in the Winston-Salem State University undergraduate therapeutic recreation program choose from three concentrations:
In WSSU’s therapeutic recreation bachelor’s degree, you’ll gain skills in critical thinking, communication, self-awareness and behavioral management. Graduates of our program are eligible to apply for certification by the National Council for Therapeutic Certification and licensure by the state of North Carolina.Students from other majors may also elect to explore our recreation courses with a minor in recreation.
Our program is one of only two therapeutic recreation schools at a historically black college or university (HBCU) in North Carolina, and we’re one of the top three HBCUs in the nation for producing Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists. At WSSU, you’ll gain a holistic education through learning that happens both in and outside the classroom. The well-rounded training you’ll receive at WSSU focuses on best practices for service providers, and our focus on diversity and inclusion ensure that you’ll graduate ready to lead in the recreation therapy field.
In our program, you’ll learn and improve your skills during hands-on experiences in the community. Your studies will be dedicated, direct and highly experiential, taking you out of the classroom and into clinical settings, computer labs, gardens, swimming pools and more to engage and practice innovation, creativity and flexibility with real participants.
WSSU’s therapeutic recreation program faculty represent a wealth of active practice and research in the field. You can expect direct support in your academic experience in specialized areas such as autism or at-risk youth.With WSSU faculty’s instruction and guidance, you’ll earn the comprehensive education and practice-ready skills you need to prepare for a professional career as a therapeutic recreation specialist.
Graduates of WSSU’s therapeutic recreation program are prepared to meet requirements for state licensure and national certification. You’ll learn professional skills for human service providers and apply them immediately through real-world work opportunities with off-campus partners, including clinical, residential and community settings.
The bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation at WSSU offers an occupational therapy option to prepare therapeutic recreation students for application to graduate study in occupational therapy. As WSSU is top-ranked among therapeutic recreation schools for social mobility, you can also take your skills and knowledge directly into the field of practice to start a rewarding career.
Graduates of WSSU’s therapeutic recreation program are making an impact in diverse organizations across the country. When you earn your degree in therapeutic recreation, you may find job opportunities as a therapeutic recreation specialist in:
Employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 10% through 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Therapeutic recreation majors at Winston-Salem State University study a range of relevant concepts and theories, such as history, philosophy, play, recreation and leisure. At the end of your program, you’ll be a professional human service provider, able to assess individuals and communities, think critically, communicate effectively and implement impactful programs and services.
Build a basic foundation in healthy living, leisure and society, and the therapeutic recreation profession in your core classes, then gain a broader and deeper knowledge of these areas in your upper-level courses, including:
WSSU advisors are ready to assist you in selecting a semester-long internship to gain hands-on experience and help promote healthy lifestyles in your community.View the full therapeutic recreation degree program requirements and course catalog.
Student Life at WSSU
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Support and Resources Available to You
Build lifelong connections in our diverse campus community and play a role in making a positive impact through community engagement. As a member of the Therapeutic Recreation Club, you can work with your peers to organize special events, engage in games with a professional wheelchair basketball team and potentially attend professional conferences.
We pride ourselves on providing accessible and affordable college education at WSSU. Nearly 90% of our students receive some form of merit- or need-based financial aid. Let our financial aid team guide you toward the right options to fund your investment in your future at WSSU.
All therapeutic recreation majors are assigned an advisor upon admission into the program to ensure that you have all the assistance you need in your academic journey. Your participation in high-impact practices, real-world delivery of services and community engagement will aid you in building a professional network before you graduate with your degree. WSSU’s Career Development Services will further support your growth, both academically and professionally.Learn more about the Department of Therapeutic Recreation.
I received the guidance I needed to be able to individualize treatment plans, create goals, facilitate groups, provide quality documentation and speak from a TR perspective to advocate for the needs of my clients. I felt supported, encouraged and challenged, and this helped me in the development of my professional career.
The WSSU Therapeutic Recreation Program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Park, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions. (COAPRT) accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the U.S. and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada, and Mexico. The WSSU TR Program has been accredited since 1997. COAPRT is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Association (CHEA).
Graduates meet requirements to apply for certification by the National Council for Therapeutic Certification and licensure by the state of North Carolina. Students should consult with the licensing boards of New Jersey, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Utah regarding specific requirements for those states. The WSSU Therapeutic Recreation Program is accredited by COAPRT.
Standard 2.05.05: The program annually posts 7.0 series aggregated data and additional evidence reflecting program academic quality and student achievement on their program website. Please see this document for 2019–20 data for the WSSU TR Program.
Important Information Regarding Degree Mills
Please watch this important video regarding degree and accreditation mills. According to CHEA, “degree mills and accreditation mills mislead and harm. In the United States, degrees and certificates from mills may not be acknowledged by other institutions when students seek to transfer or go to graduate school. Employers may not acknowledge degrees and certificates from degree mills when providing tuition assistance for continuing education. ‘Accreditation’ from an accreditation mill can mislead students and the public about the quality of an institution. In the presence of degree mills and accreditation mills, students may spend a good deal of money and receive neither an education nor a useable credential.” Read more on CHEA’s website.