Therapeutic Recreation

Program Overview

According to the US Department of Labor, "Employment for recreational therapists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the large baby-boom generation ages, they will need recreational therapists to help treat age-related injuries and illnesses." Given the projected need for recreation specialists, the College of Health Sciences at UW-Milwaukee has created a certificate program in Therapeutic Recreation (TR) available to a broad range of individuals including students, TR and other human service professionals in the community. Students need to be enrolled in a UWM undergraduate degree program or hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to enter the certificate program. In addition, individuals who are certified with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) may wish to complete certificate coursework to comply with continuing education requirements.

The on-line certificate focuses on the development of knowledge and acquisition of skills and abilities in the areas of health and TR. In preparation for the nationally recognized certification examination, coursework covers topic areas included in the NCTRC Job Analysis categories. Courses present the concepts of health, wellness, disease and illness in relation to rehabilitation and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Specific skill development in the areas of assessment and facilitation techniques is also taught and complemented with an ongoing focus on emerging issues in the field of therapeutic recreation.

Five courses are required to successfully complete the totally online Certificate in Therapeutic Recreation. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 must be maintained on all the required coursework.

Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Courses

Select ONE Introductory Course:
Course Number Course Name Credits
TherRec 103 Introduction to Leisure (F/S) 3
TherRec 202 Disability: Society and the Person (F) 3
TherRec 203 TR Process* (F)
Prerequisites: none

Select THREE Intervention Courses:
Course Number Course Name Credits
TherRec 300 Therapeutic Recreation Assessment and Documentation* (S)
Prerequisites: none
TherRec 303 Inclusive and Disability Programs in the Community (S) 3
TherRec 308 Therapeutic Recreation in Physical Rehabilitation and Behavioral Health* (F)
Prerequisites: Junior standing
TherRec 310 Facilitation Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation* (S)
Prerequisites: Junior standing

Capstone Course:
Course Number Course Name Credits
TherRec 400 Issues and Trends in Therapeutic Recreation* (SU)
Prerequisites: TherRec 308(P)
Total 17-18

F, S, SU (fall, spring, summer) refers to semesters
in which courses are taught


  • Courses with an asterisk (*) are required for students seeking the credential as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)
  • Completion of this certificate program allows the individual to meet one portion of the academic coursework required for the credential as a CTRS with NCTRC. Additional requirements are needed to fully qualify for the credential.
  • Students interested in obtaining NCTRC certification are encouraged to visit the NCTRC website at www.nctrc.org.

Related Programs and Degrees

Students interested in pursuing a career in Therapeutic Recreation may wish to examine the various degree programs at UWM. Suggested degree programs include: Bachelor of Arts (Psychology, Sociology) or Bachelors of Science (Biological Sciences, Nursing, Social Work).

Application for Enrollment

For more information regarding the Therapeutic Recreation Certificate and/or the TR profession, please contact Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS, at (414) 229-2507 or pthomas@uwm.edu.

For information on how to apply to the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, please contact Aggie Northrup at (414) 229-2758 or witowski@uwm.edu.

This certificate program is subject to federal gainful employment regulations. For more information please visit http://www4.uwm.edu/financialaid/EligConsInfo/gainfulemployment.cfm