What is the job of an Activity Therapist?

Activity therapist


Activity Therapists are typically in charge of planning recreation activities for a special category of people. These are sick people, people with disabilities, etc. The type of activity they plan must be medically approved. So they do not work on their own, but in collaboration with other health workers. 

These professionals work in hospital settings, nursing homes, and related areas. They plan activities such as different sports, drama, crafts, dance, and other social activities. They generally function to aid the healing and recovery of the patients. Activity therapists also prevent degeneration and depression, or other mental issues.

Additionally, Activity Therapists also engage in documentation or administrative duties. They must have detailed records of all their patients and other necessities. Also, this is a leadership position that requires great leadership and communication skills.

The duties of activity therapists can involve them embarking on short trips once in a while for the health of the patient.

Also, these professionals must have a heart for patients. They must be full of empathy and also a huge dose of patience.

They are usually graduates of Psychology, Recreation science, Rehabilitation science, or related fields.

Responsibilities of Activity Therapists

The duties of Activity Therapists revolve around patients and health professionals. Some of them are as follows;

  • Assessing patient past and present medical records.
  • Discuss with physicians on the best recreational activities to engage patients in.
  • Undergoing personal research.
  • Discussing with patient’s relatives and friends certain information that physicians may not have.
  • Engaging patients in games, sports, and recreation activities.
  • Helping patients cope with anxiety and also depression.
  • Helping cognitive or disabled patients learn skills that can help them be more independent.
  • Evaluate every patient from time to time to ascertain the effectiveness of the recreation therapy.
  • Ensuring proper documentation of every stage.
  • Undergoing more research to find ways of helping patients who do not seem to cooperate.

Their major goal is to help disabled and sick people get better and more integrated into society.

Activity therapist

Qualifications for Practice as an Activity Therapist.

No specific course of study is required to practice as an Activity Therapist. However, a good understanding of psychology is highly needed. Courses around this area find relevance in the career. Such as Recreational studies, Rehabilitation Science, Social Works, Psychology, etc.

Hence, the qualifications for practice include:

  • A Bachelor of Science in Psychology or a related field.
  • A Masters’s degree can also be a plus.
  • Experience in working with or caring for the sick and disabled.

Other skills that are necessary to succeed in this career include:

  • Empathy.
  • Patience.
  • A heart for others.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Observation skills.
  • Good communication skills.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Good listening skills.
  • Passion to make the world a better place.
  • Compassion.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Presentation skills.

Job Opportunities

An Activity Therapist can work with health professionals and patients. He or she can be employed by the following:

  • Government
  • Social assistance companies
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Special homes
  • Ambulatory health care services.


As stated earlier, the salary of Activity Specialists depends on the sector they work in. It also depends on their qualification and experience.

In the United States, the median annual pay ranges between $38,000 aw $78,000.

Work Environment

Activity Therapists are not confined to a particular workplace. They may have offices within the organization for administrative and also documentation duties. But their work description entails them taking patients out. This can, however, be to recreational centers, open floors even on a short trip.

Depending on the organization where they work, they may work full time or not. Sometimes, they may also be required to work on weekends as well.

Career Path

It is expected that the career of Activity Therapists increases by 7% before 2028.

As the population grows, the number of geriatrics increases. This category, however, constitutes a large percentage of patients therapists take care of. Those who focus on these patients will hardly be out of Jobs.

Professionals are to keep themselves updated and obtain relevant certifications to go higher in the career.


Activity Therapists play a very important role in aiding patients’ recovery and mental health. They also help disabled patients learn how to integrate better into society. They expose them to beneficial sports, games, and recreational activities. 

A career in this field is very noble because it is an avenue of affecting lives positively.

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