Activity therapists generally work for health care organizations, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and private physical therapy offices. These therapists develop, coordinate, and evaluate therapeutic activity programs for clients, as well as plan and coordinate medically-approved recreation programs for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions. These activities may include sports, trips, arts and crafts, cooking, and other social activities.
Activity therapists are generally required to develop, maintain and update policy and procedure manuals used by their organization, and may be involved in budgeting processes and generating expense reports related to their activities. They must always assess their clients’ conditions and needs in order recommend appropriate therapeutic activities, and may also need to be knowledgeable of "healing techniques," which are used to help people overcome physical addictions and/or emotional issues. Generally, they should develop balanced activity programs to address a variety of needs and always stay up-to-date with new developments in their fields. They are encouraged to read relevant journals and attend workshops and conferences, as well, as some positions fall under the broader category of "recreational therapy."
Customer service experience and excellent interpersonal and verbal and written communication skills are very important in this position. Candidates should have certificates such as Activity Director Certified (ADC) or Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and/or college degrees in fields related to occupational therapy.
Activity Therapist Tasks
Prepare and submit patients' reactions and progress reports, confer with treatment team.
Encourage patient with special needs and circumstances to acquire new skills and promote leisure activities.
Instruct patients in activities and techniques designed to meet their specific physical or psychological needs.
Develop treatment plan with varied interventions based on assessment, interests and objectives of therapy.