Therapeutic Recreation

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
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.
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.
Leverage your diploma into the Bachelor of Applied Management degree at Saskatchewan Polytechnic with only two years of additional study. Remote classes and part-time options are available.   

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 title NOC classification
Recreational therapist Kinesiologists & other professional occupations in therapy & assessment (31204)
Recreation programmer Recreation, sports & fitness policy researchers, consultants & program officers (41406)
Recreation assistant - health services Other assisting occupations in support of health services (33109)
Life enrichment coordinator - recreation & fitness Program leaders & instructors in recreation, sport & fitness (54100)

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. To register for individual courses, please view the part-time offerings available in the Courses section below.


Admission requirements


  • Current certification in the following must be provided prior to entry into practicum. The cost of this certification is your responsibility.
    • Advanced Professional Assault Response Training (PART) (out-of-province applicants will have PART requirement assessed by the program, for equivalency)
    • Transferring Lifting Repositioning (TLR®)
    • N95 respirator mask testing (obtain only after you have received additional direction from the program)
  • 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.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of 2015 WHMIS Globally Harmonized System (GHS) certification upon admission into the program. Recertification will be required every three years to remain current. The cost of WHMIS certification is your responsibility.

Alternative admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through an alternative admission assessment. Applicants are automatically considered for alternative 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 Alternative Admission using Accuplacer.

  • 250 Arithmetic
  • 250 Reading
  • 245 Writing
  • 4 Writeplacer


Some programs allow applicants to meet the admission grade level requirement using 15 approved post-secondary credits. Review additional information.

If the program applied to has specific course requirements, they may be met through alternative post-secondary courses. Review already approved courses that may be used for admission purposes for your programs.

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 approximate cost for books and supplies. Visit the Tuition and Fees web page for a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program.

2023-24 academic year

Year 1 - $11,880


Get credit for what you know

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training.

See link(s) below to get more information about PLAR.

Transfer credit

Many Sask Polytech students benefit from transferring course credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit to Sask Polytech or to another college or university.

Institution Agreement Details
Athabasca University Graduates from this program may be eligible for 60 credit units into Bachelor of Professional Arts - Human Services Major.
Thompson Rivers University Graduates of this program is granted a maximum of 48 transfer credits into the Bachelor of Health Science.
University of Lethbridge Students who complete their two-year diploma in Therapeutic Recreation at Saskatchewan Polytechnic may be admitted into the University of Lethbridge's Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation degree program for completion of their Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation degree.
University of Regina Block Transfer of 60 credit units into the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Studies - Therapeutic Recreation Major

Recreation and Tourism Management

Additional information