Therapeutic Recreation


Program Overview

Therapeutic recreation is a career that attracts organized, outgoing, active individuals who like working with people of all abilities. You need to be good at encouraging people to set goals, develop skills and try new things.

Career opportunities are diverse—be a recreation therapist, a recreation coordinator, an activity director or programmer. Work as part of a multidisciplinary health care team in clinical or community-based settings, from hospitals to rehabilitation centres.

Therapeutic Recreation is a two-year diploma program offered at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Saskatoon campus . It is also offered through distance education. You’ll learn from knowledgeable instructors how to use recreation as a means of improving health, functional ability and quality of life. The program provides a broad knowledge base, from human growth and development to sociology. Your studies will focus on:

  • assessment of individual needs, functional abilities and leisure behaviours
  • development of individualized treatment plans
  • documenting progress
  • using facilitation techniques to meet individual goals
  • practicing therapeutic recreation based on professional standards
  • modifying activities to meet individual abilities
  • participating as a member of a health care team

Learn through Practical Experience

Apply what you’ve learned in class in real-world settings. The program includes three practicums. Each one will provide opportunities to apply assessment techniques, conduct activity analysis and selection, develop and evaluate treatment plans, get involved in individual and group program planning and more. You’ll also build important interpersonal and leadership abilities.

Pursue Professional Certification

If you’re interested in pursuing professional certification, the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association endorses the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification’s Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) as the certification for Canada.

Career and Salary Information

Your Career

When you graduate, you’ll be able to work in both clinical and community-based settings. You could work in a hospital as part of a multidisciplinary health care team, in a long-term care facility, adult day program, rehabilitation centre, addiction program or mental health program. Explore career opportunities with health regions, provincial or federal health agencies,

For more information, contact the Student Employment Services at a campus nearest you.

Potential Careers

Sample Job TitleNOC Classification1Earning Potential2
Recreation TherapistOther Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (3144)$40,000 - $73,300
Recreation Therapy AssistantOther Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (3144)$40,000 - $73,300
Therapeutic Recreation ProgrammerOther Professional Occupations in Therapy and Assessment (3144)$40,000 - $73,300

Length and Start Date

Start Date(s): September:

There is an intake to this program every second year (odd numbered years only).

Length: 70 weeks:

Year 1 - 35 weeks; Year 2 - 35 weeks


  • Saskatoon
  • Distance Learning options available


Admission Requirements

Note (Effective July 1, 2015):

  • Accepted applicants will be required to provide evidence of a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search prior to entering practicum. At the discretion of a practicum agency, you may be declined access to a practicum placement based on the contents of the Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search. The cost of the Criminal Record Check and the Vulnerable Sector Search is your responsibility.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide current immunization records and to meet Saskatchewan Polytechnic immunization requirements prior to entry into practicum.
  • Current certification in one of the following must be provided prior to entry into practicum:
    • Professional Assault Response Training (PART)
    • Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education Program (WAVE)
    • Gentle Persuasive Approaches (GPA)
    • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NVCI)
  • Transferring Lifting Repositioning (TLR®) certification must be current to enter into practicum.

Special Admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through a special admission assessment. Interested individuals should still apply. Applicants are automatically considered for special admission. However, some specific admission requirements may still need to be met. Refer to the ACCUPLACER© cut scores for this program below, and review additional details concerning Special Admission.


  • 60 Arithmetic
  • 75 Reading
  • 75 Sentence
  • 4 WritePlacer

Admission Method

First Qualified/First Admitted

The First Qualified/First Admitted (FQFA) process is used for the majority of Saskatchewan Polytechnic programs. When we determine that you meet the program's admission requirements, you will be offered admission based on the date you fully qualify for the program. The earlier you provide the appropriate documents and information that qualify you for admission to the next intake, the earlier you might begin your studies. Your application, once qualified, is always considered for the next intake. 

Applicants to programs with multiple intakes in an academic year remain in the application pool until the last intake for that academic year has begun. Programs using the FQFA process receive applications year round and maintain an application pool for each academic year. Qualified applicants who are not offered a seat must reapply for the next academic year. 

Sponsored programs or programs targeted to specific groups do not accept applications year round or maintain an application pool.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Tuition and Fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as books and supplies. For a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program, click here to access the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus Tuition and Fee Schedules.


Year 2 (2016/17) - $9,000


Expand All + Note: Students must be admitted to the program before taking the practicums.

PLAR & Transfer Credit

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways and through many different means. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training. A detailed Candidate Guide, which includes a self-audit for all PLAR-ready courses, has been developed for this program. This information guides a candidate through all steps in the PLAR process.

Student Awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni, Saskatchewan Polytechnic gives away more than $2 million in student awards during the academic year.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers student awards for every certificate and diploma program at every campus. You don't have to be a brainiac to receive a student award. Not all student awards are based on marks - some are based on financial need or things like community or volunteer involvement.

More about scholarships

Additional Information

Related Programs

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Part-Time Delivery

In order to graduate and receive a credential for this program, part-time students must apply to the program and be admitted before taking the clinicals or practicums.

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