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Started February 2001

Are universities doing an adequate job of training students for a career in therapeutic recreation?

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The two colleges that I went to did a good job in training me, but you still need hand-on experiences in TR settings in order to grasp what really goes on in our field.
Posted by Cmaley
Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 14:30:22 (EDT), IP Address: 2410216546
There are many excellent university programs out there. The problem I'm having is updating skills. I am working in TR without a degree. I would dearly love to find a university who offers an undergrad degree online. The answer is always the same: not enough staff, not enough resources. We need more distance opportunities in TR.
Heather
Thursday, February 23, 2006 at 08:27:36 (CST)
It's true that the TR field involves hands-on experience, that you don't often get with university programs. More theory doesn't necessarily prepare you any better for the job.
Dina
Thursday, July 15, 2004 at 21:48:49 (CDT)
I'm still not for sure what my college education paid for- Recreation Therapy degrees need more on sight training classes. I didn't learn anything in the classroom, but terms that I still don't know.
anonymous
Tuesday, June 22, 2004 at 20:27:15 (CDT)
I attended college in Canada, in a TR program. I know many people who chose university, because they thought a degree might get them farther in this field. While the theory behind recreation is important, I believe that DOING it is much more important! The hands-on experience you get with a college program is essential. TR is a profession that depends on hands-on experience and interaction with people. In my opinion, college does a much better job in preparing you for a TR profession! College programs are straight to the point, with a good balance of hands-on practicum experience, and theory behind recreation...you learn what you need to know for the profession, and you feel well-prepared for the working world!
D.S.
Saturday, January 17, 2004 at 18:11:45 (CST)
not in south florida ... you just have to be fun energetic and keep the residents happy and content .. scary down here ... maybe that is why so many activity directors move around ..they get booted from a bad survey and have to play in another center
anonymous
Friday, September 12, 2003 at 00:45:44 (CDT)
I'm a student in Chichester college for AVCE business. This year I will go to university for Finance and Accounting studies, therefore, I wanna to find a study-related job during this summer holiday.
Mafiya
Monday, March 17, 2003 at 09:03:42 (CST)
I think that Southern Illinois University in Carbondale needs new TR professors with varying experiences to enhance the program. I graduated in August ith a degree in TR and am well education with quite a bit of experience, but feel that some of the classes could have been taught better...maybe more hands on. I only ended up having one TR professor toward the end of my school career, teaching all of the TR classes...variety is the spice of life!
anonymous
Monday, November 18, 2002 at 12:10:14 (CST)
I do not think so
anonymous
Monday, September 30, 2002 at 16:34:38 (CDT)
I have read some of the comments about lack of medical terms and knowledge of human body, physical and cognitive disease and such and I must say that I graduated from Florida State University just recently and those were the topics that were literally drilled into our heads. We were given opportunities to use the theories we were taught in community settings and I felt very competent in those areas. Besides that I can relate to lack of funding for these programs, our program was very tiny and did not have the money for extensive adventure/ropes training. If anything my gripe is that these internship sites have a more constructive training!!
anonymous
Friday, September 27, 2002 at 17:43:27 (CDT)
After interviewing several CTRS candidates to fill an assistant position in my department, the difference in skill level of the therapists entering the field quickly became obvious. At first I attributed the differences to the individuals, but these "highly skilled" therapists were coming from the same schools...1) Central Michigan University, 2) Michigan State University, & 3) Grand Valley State University. Kudos to the educators for a job well done!
anonymous
Tuesday, July 09, 2002 at 09:10:57 (CDT)
Universities are making budget cuts by phasing out TR programs. Joint commission and other govermental agencies needs to look at this.
anonymous
Sunday, May 26, 2002 at 11:35:15 (CDT)
I graduated in 1998 from the TR program at Grand Valley State University in Western Michigan and have to say that I felt that the program did train me well. It took me some time to be confident in the knowledge and training that I had, and to believe that I was ready, but that was my fault, and not that of the University! I also had the pleasure of working with an intern this summer, and she also was unsure of herself at the start- but was well equiped. Perhaps the program that I was in was different, it is a lot more intense than other programs with Kineseology, gross anatomy, exercise phys, Medical Terminology, etc. etc. etc.
Mindy Fulk, CTRS
Monday, October 15, 2001 at 22:46:36 (CDT)
Internships as many as possible prepare student for this dynamic field. You have to feel it, touch it, smell it, Live it. And thats just the way this field is.
Rose CTRS
Thursday, August 09, 2001 at 13:34:43 (CDT)
I also agree with those that DO NOT feel the schools are successful. I have seen many years of interns come and go from my facility. Some are ready but probably 98% are not. I feel the curriculum has to change. They need to spend more time in A&P, med. terms and kinesiology than in learning how to play a round robin tournament or how to build an accessible YMCA. I have actually heard of some professors that do not even like the field and are trying to talk their students out of completing the courses. We should not have to beat through the barriers on a daily basis of whether or not we are a legit profession. It should have already been established by NCTRC< ATRA, etc. All curriculum needs to be the same. I also am not happy with the way NCTRC does not really care about your comments on someones internship. I know of a student that failed their internship but the school had already given a grade several weeks prior to completion so the intern was allowed to graduate. Then why did their agency supervisor just spend the last three months with this student if no one seemed to care about her opinion. We do not have time as intern supervisors to be teaching the students everything they need to know during the time we have them. They should be here to put their knowledge to work not to learn the knowledge.
anonymous
Monday, June 18, 2001 at 15:07:53 (CDT)
IN READING ALL OF THE SUBMITTED OPINIONS OF THIS SURVEY I FEEL I HAVE TO AGREE WITH THE TWO INDIVIDUALS THAT SAY UNIVERSITIES ARE NOT PREPARING THEIR STUDENTS FOR THE "REAL WORLD" OF TR. I AM CURRENTLY A SENIOR AT A WELL KNOWN SCHOOL IN THE SOUTH AND THE PROFESSION OF TR IS LOOKED UPON WITH QUESTION MARKED FACES. I AM PURSUING A DEGREE REGARDLESS OF THE MONEY OR WHAT OTHERS LACK, EDUCATION OF TR BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO. I FOUND THAT MANY OF MY TEACHERS ARE TEACHING ME WHAT THEY HAVE LEARNED BACK IN THE 1970'S. BUT THEY CONSTANTLY SAY THAT THE ONLY THING THAT IS CONSTANT IS CHANGE. WE HAVE CONTINUED TO ASK FOR BETTER RESOURCES AND TO NO AVAIL. OUR DEPARTMENT IS ALSO BAGGED DOWN WITH CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS THAT THE STUDENTS THAT ARE PAYING FOR A STEADY-RISING EDUCATION IS GETTING THE SHORT END OF THE STICK. HOW DO WE APPROACH THE COMMUNITY OF TR AND WE DO NOT KNOW WHERE TO START. MANY INDIVIDUALS WORK IN A CITY WHERE THE PROGRAM IS OFFERED. GIVING SOME HANDS ON TRAINING BEFORE THE INTERNSHIP LEVEL WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. PLEASE POST SOME IDEAS THAT WOULD BENEFIT A STUDENT IN THEIR QUEST FOR ENTERING THE TR FIELD SUCCESSFULLY...
anonymous
Sunday, June 10, 2001 at 16:56:25 (CDT)
I can only speak for myself. I went to Indiana University, in Bloomington Indiana.This was in "84-88". I recieved all the information/training I needed to go out and do a good job my counselors were great .My internship at Rusk Institute of Rehab Medicine in NY before I graduated was also a great training for me. The staff their also assisted me in my training. Lastly, Universities can only do as much as the individual wishes to achieve and accomplish. My University did a great job.I've been in the business for 12 years.I still hear how I went to a great University for TR.
pmplay
Saturday, June 02, 2001 at 00:01:14 (CDT)
As a graduate within the past year and a CTRS as of November 2000, there are a few items within the college cirriculum that I would change for future students in the field. Although currently not working directly in the field, but extrememly close, I see the need of contact notes. Aware that each agency will do this in a different fashion, I don't feel that the importance of contact notes was addressed and reinforced adequately. In a setting working with people with developmental disabilities, I have learned that I cannot "contact note" enough. Due to this not being enforced within the cirriculum I'm finding it rather difficult to get into the habit. Secondly, I do not feel that enough emphasis was placed upon assessments. Although provided with a wide range of assessments and what's available, the ability to practice in a supervised setting would have been ideal. Thirdly,the various approaches to TR were addressed but not in enough detail. So many ways (pending on the setting) to practice TR, however not enough time was alloted. Finally, individual program planning was truely an area where my university lacked. This is what I struggle with daily. By far, this should receive the most attention. Overall, I feel I rec'd adequate knowledge to prepare myself for the field. Eventhough the knowledge in detail may not have been there in all areas of need, I was definitely provided with the resources I needed for further reference.
anonymous
Tuesday, March 06, 2001 at 23:20:46 (CST)
I attended Lethbridge Community College and graduated from Therapeutic Recreation (Gerontology). It is the best program and is now offered through distance learning. It prepares you for most of everything you will experience in the real world.
Tianna Kournikakis
Sunday, March 04, 2001 at 12:49:57 (CST)
Yes, I believe that some universities are doing a good job. The three students I have had, from two different schools have been well prepared and just needed the fine tuning that the internship would provide. The one disappointment is the lack of specific leisure education courses provided. UW-LaCrosse, my school had an excellent course by Nancy Navar, and I was very prepared to present and develop all sorts of leisure ed. groups. Thanks.
Kathy Tithof, CTRS
Saturday, March 03, 2001 at 16:03:05 (CST)
I definitely agree with the other responses posted to this question. I did things backwards. I have been working in RT with the elderly for many, many years, and just recently went back to school to finish my RT degree. Since I already had the HANDS-ON experience, I was better able to assist my classmates in understanding the theories that we were learning about. However, I still felt that the 'classroom' did NOT prepare anyone for the 'real-world'. I really feel that there needs to be more of a hands-on approach to teaching RT. The people in my classes had the advantage of having me with them to help them. What about ALL of the other universities that don't have the opportunity to really get to know someone who actually has field experience. There should be more Field Study requirements, so that students can get experience in more than just one area of RT. One professor of ours had speakers each week, all from different settings, so we got to hear about each of them. Hearing and actually being there are two very different things. First-hand experience is the Key.
anonymous
Friday, March 02, 2001 at 10:38:04 (CST)
I am recent graduate of Southern University A&M College so I personally know that universities are not doing an adequate job of training students. I know that I may stir some controversy but I have to speak what is on my mind. Since I've graduated I went on several interviews to local nursing homes for a job position as an activity coordinator. Which we all know is diversional activities and the pay is less. But what can I say, it is a start to getting some good professional skills when I do get in the actual field of rec therapy. So anyway, everyone who interviewed me had one thing in common. They all made the exact same statement which was, "The only difference between you and I is that you have a diploma in recreation and I don't. Anyone can do what you do. Just look at me. Do I have a degree?" Sorry to say people but I was offended and it showed in my face. The whole moral of the story is that no one sees rec therapist has having special talents that are unique from any other profession. And it all begins in the classroom--inside and out. QEII Health Services Centre couldn't have explained it better. You took the words right out of my mouth. And I am glad to see that someone was honest and brave enough to provide such accurate statements as the one posted on the survey. Training in this field should be so remarkable that every student who graduates with this degree should have job offers knocking down their doors, no questions asked!!! Not to mention, every student who graduates from any institution of higher learning in the field of recreation and leisure studies should have the EXACT same knowledge and understanding of this field across the border. The problem is that this a "halfway profession." You know what I mean, "People in this field are only obligated to know a lil something about this program in order to get their foot in the door." And the sad part about it, that's just what students are doing to make it in this field. Just imagine if RT's, were trained just as well as PT's, OT's, lawyers, doctors, and even nurses--then Rec Therapists wouldn't have to constantly explain their purpose and position in the work force. It does not take millions of dollars to change the standards of this profession. Ever thought about trying to actually start a RT program where you have to fill out an application to get accepted and only the best people who are serious and motivated to work in this discipline would get accepted. Ever thought about required practicuum experience every year in different areas/settings of recreation before students get to their final internship level. Maybe even better make students volunteer in a recreation setting every semester until they graduate. (Volunteering is so rewarding and fulfilling.) HMMM!!!! Maybe that would be the first step in eliminating people who just want to say they graduated with a degree and only want a job. I will leave all who is reading on this note, Charles Dixon I hope to visit this website in the next 5 or 10 years and I will be reading that RT programs have changed for the better and not for the worst. PEOPLE WE NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER AND STAY TOGETHER. Thank you all for your time. Have a blessed day.
anonymous
Friday, March 02, 2001 at 02:44:27 (CST)
I think in Cnada we are making progress but I would like to see more clinical course being offerd eg:Medical documentation and possibly more on dealing with clients with challenging behaviours.
anonymous
Thursday, March 01, 2001 at 15:38:02 (CST)
I think in every area except Juvenile delinquency universities are doing a very good job. I have worked in this area for the last 22 years, the last 18 in recreation therapy. I received my Masters Degree in TR from Oklahoma State University. Over the years we have just adapted everything, which I know is the name of the game. I would like to see some training just on delinquency. We have used different assessments which were adapted and work fair but where are the assessments for the delinquent population. Overall they are doing a good job. Home email Baseman2@aol.com Work email allbry@oja.state.ok.us
Allen Bryce Baseman2@aol.com, allbry@oja.state.ok.us
Thursday, March 01, 2001 at 06:27:35 (CST)
In the 18 years of my practice as a Recreation Therapist, I have found students continually arrived in their internship placements unprepared academically and practically. The local universities have been unable to provide a sound TR pathway in their academic streams due to poor course content, inability to keep doctoral professorships, and are unable to get beyond their original mandates such as facility and community program development. Students have a generally sound knowledge base of what leisure and recreation are and an implication of how they are practiced in a multitude of settings, but little preparitory work is done in streaming the knowledge as a specialty. In-other-words, students are being prepared as generalists to work in broad-based leisure professions. Local universities are only know beginning to include local TR professionals from community agencies to teach students. Professionals bring a very practical knowledge base with them and offer concrete information based on the various leisure theories. The most unfortunate aspect of education programs I have been involved with is the lack of practical, hands-on approaches to learning. Theory is not enough. The vast majority of students I encounter have very little or no recreation therapy-based experiences. In fact, they have little or no recreation leadership experiences. This is of great concern to me as a clinical practioner. We in the TR profession are diligent in making our professional practioners accountable in delivering high quality care. We further strive to establish ourselves with a firm identity. This can only be embellished by developing programs at the academic level which are clinically-based, hands-on, and stream-driven. Put the academic programs in the clinical environments. Give students from year one a practical base from which to learn and augment practicums with theory-based approaches.
Therapist, QEII Health Sciences Centre, Mental Health
Thursday, March 01, 2001 at 05:36:56 (CST)

 

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