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Certificate in

Recreation Therapy

Build your credentials with a flexible, online program that empowers you with the educational foundation necessary for a successful career in recreation therapy.


Education that Moves You Forward

With Cal State East Bay's Recreation Therapy Certificate program, you’ll be able to meet one portion of the academic coursework required for the credential as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Logo

Selected by the Best Colleges Review as one of the "Best Online Programs"

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Certified courses by nationally-recognized Quality Matters (QM) Review Standards

Set Your Own Pace

Cal State East Bay’s Recreation Therapy Certificate program is featured in a convenient online format to fit your busy schedule. You’ll enjoy the flexibility of learning that enables you to take one to three classes per semester to advance your career.

Be an Agent of Change

As a professional recreation therapist, you’ll plan, direct, and coordinate recreation-based treatment programs for people with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses.

Recreation therapists use a variety of modalities, including arts and crafts, drama, music and dance, sports, aquatics, and community outings to help maintain or improve a patient’s physical, social, and emotional well-being.

Typical job responsibilities include:

  • Helping patients learn social skills to become or remain independent
  • Assessing patients’ needs using observation, medical records, tests, and discussions with other healthcare professionals and patients’ families
  • Engaging patients in therapeutic activities, such as exercise, games, and community outings
  • Teaching patients ways to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression
  • Documenting and analyzing a patient’s progress
  • Evaluating interventions for effectiveness
  • Helping patients recover basic physical and mental abilities and build their confidence to socialize effectively and integrate into the community
  • Working with physicians or surgeons, registered nurses, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists, teachers or occupational therapists

Occupational Trends

Employment of recreational therapists is projected to grow 9.1 percent from 2021 to 2031.

–QCEW Employees - Emsi

The median annual wage for recreational therapists was $47,710 in 2020, with the top 10 percent earning more than $79,250.

–Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor

Recreational therapists held approximately 21,348 jobs in 2021.

–QCEW Employees - Emsi

Get Ahead in Your Career

Join the list of accomplished recreation therapists at some of the most prestigious treatment centers in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, including veteran hospitals, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, mental health facilities, senior independent living centers, skilled nursing facilities, schools, senior centers, and pediatric care facilities.

In meeting all credential requirements, you’ll also be able to sit for national and state certification exams.

Please note additional requirements are needed to fully qualify for the credential. If you’re interested in obtaining NCTRC certification (Equivalency Path), please see below for the requirements. For further information, visit the NCTRC website.

Equivalency Path:

  1. Academic Degree: Completion of a bachelor degree or higher
  2. Professional Content Coursework: Completion of 18 semester units on specific coursework in Recreational Therapy
  3. Supportive Coursework: Completion of 18 semester units of support coursework
  4. Experience in RT Practice: A minimum of 5,000 hours of paid work experience that uses the TR process, OR a minimum 1,500 hours of paid work experience that uses the TR process, if receiving supervision from a CTRS for at least 1 hour for every 10 hours worked each week.
  5. Successful completion of the NCTRC Certification Exam

Program Objectives

At the completion of the certificate program, you'll acquire:

The knowledge to interpret the stages of human development, principles of behavioral change, and models for delivery of recreation therapy programs and services.

The utilization of effective leadership and teamwork strategies, standards of practice, assessment techniques, and documentation requirements in recreation therapy.

The ability to articulate clearly in both written and oral formats the ethical, philosophical, historical, and administrative foundations of the recreation therapy profession.

The skills to identify techniques that contribute to a culture of dignity and respect in the recreation therapy profession, based on principles of access, inclusion, and independence.

Program Format

The Recreation Therapy Certificate program is conveniently offered online with one course (REC 364) that can be taken as hybrid or online only. In order to successfully complete the program, you will need an internet connection and email capability. Courses are compatible with all major browsers and operating systems.

Certificate Requirements

To earn your Recreation Therapy Certificate, simply complete six courses while maintaining a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on all required coursework.

Required Courses

Fall Semester

REC 360: Foundations in Recreation Therapy (Online)
REC 361: Recreation Therapy Diagnostic Groupings (Online)
REC 362: Recreation Therapy Documentation and Assessment (Online)

Spring Semester

REC 360: Foundations in Recreation Therapy (Online) 3
REC 363: Recreation Therapy Process & Techniques (Online)
REC 364: Recreation Therapy Program Planning and Implementation (Hybrid with Online-only option)
REC 365: Advancement of RT Profession & Management (Online)

Summer Term (Optional)

REC 360: Foundations in Recreation Therapy (Online)

Featured Faculty

Dr. Erick Kong

EdD in Educational Leadership and Management
Alliant International University

MS in Education, Concentration in Online Teaching and Learning
California State University, East Bay

BS in Recreation, Option in Recreation Therapy
California State University, East Bay

AS in Physical Therapist Assistant
Ohlone College

Dr. Erick Kong


I believe in creating an environment for students to become critical thinkers so that they can take what they learned and apply it to situations they may face in the future especially when collaborating with other healthcare professionals.

Dr. Kong joined the Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism faculty in 2007 and is an assistant professor. He is the coordinator of the recreation therapy program and also the academic field placement supervisor for internships. Dr. Kong grew up in the Bay Area and is nationally certified by the NCTRC as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) as well as state certified as a Recreation Therapist Certified (RTC) by CBRPC. He has been serving in the California Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS) Recreation Therapy Section board since 2015 and belongs to the NCTRC Standards of Practice (SOP) committee, along with Licensure Task Force for recreation therapy licensure in the State of California. Dr. Kong has presented at local conferences and workshops on learning competencies, as it relates to recreation therapy job tasks. His work experience includes working for the Institute on Aging, TODCO services, Kaiser Permanente, and the Center of Adventure Recreation.

Keelin Jardin

MS in Recreation and Tourism
California State University, East Bay

BS in Recreation, Option in Recreation Therapy
California State University, East Bay

Keelin Jardin


I believe in discovering each student's individual learning styles and help find their passion in pursuits to be intrinsically motivated leaders in the field of Recreation Therapy.

Mrs. Jardin joined the Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism faculty in 2016. She is a lecturer and an academic field placement supervisor for recreation therapy internships. Mrs. Jardin has been in the field of recreation and hospitality for the past 20 years as a program assistant, teacher, and activity director. For the past nine years, she has worked in a senior community leading activities as the program services manager. Mrs. Jardin has worked to enhance the profession by joining professional boards that are advocating for Recreation Therapy licensure. She has been a board member as president and secretary/treasurer for California Parks and Recreation Society in the Recreation Therapy section for the past three years. Jardin has spoken at conferences to promote and inform the public about the recreation therapy profession, internships, guided meditation, and prevention through play practices.

 Swipe left or right for the next/previous instructor
Dr. Erick Kong

Dr. Erick KongEdD, CTRS, RTC

Keelin Jardin

Keelin JardinMS, CTRS, RTC

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the program, you must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, have supportive coursework in-progress or completed, and have recreation therapy work experience.  

Applying to the Program

The application for admission to the certificate program is open year-round. New students are admitted to the program three times a year, in fall, spring, or summer term.

How to Apply

To apply to the program, complete the certificate application form below, as well as submit the following documents by email:

  • Your current résumé
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • Request to have your official transcript(s) that indicate your degree awarded be sent to the email:

All documents must be emailed to Dr. Erick Kong at:

Cal State East Bay
Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism
ATTN: Dr. Erick Kong
25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard, PE 130
Hayward, CA 94542

Admission Deadlines

Term Application Period Transcripts & Other Documents Due
Spring 2023 7/12/22 - 12/5/22 12/5/22
Summer 2023 12/6/22 - 4/17/23 4/17/23

Still have some unanswered questions? Visit the Support section for additional program information. »

Common Questions

What is the refund policy for this program?
This program follows a strict refund policy. Once you obtain course materials and have been given access to the online class, you are ineligible for a refund.
How long does it take to complete the program?
Three (3) courses are offered in the fall semester and three (3) courses are offered in the spring semester. You may take one to three course(s) in each semester.
What software or hardware do I need to take the program, and what are the system requirements?
You must have access to a computer and the internet. You can access the program content from any web-enabled computer. You don't have to use the same computer to log-in to the program every time. A word-processing program (such as Microsoft Word) and the latest version of Internet Explorer are recommended.
Who should take this program?

Recreation professionals who want to advance their careers as recreation therapists, and those currently working as:

  • Activity Directors
  • Activity Therapy Directors
  • Activity Coordinators
  • Activity Assistants
  • Activity Therapists
  • Activity Specialists
  • Activity Aides
  • Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Inclusion Services Assistants
  • Recreation Aides
  • Recreation Coordinators
  • Recreation Leaders
  • Recreation Therapist Assistants
  • Rehab Therapists
  • Rehab Aides
  • Social Workers


Is there financial aid available for this program?
Traditional Financial Aid (such as completing the FAFSA, Pell Grants, etc.) is not applicable for Continuing Education certificate programs. However, there may be other options available to you. Learn more about other financial aid options.

Accessibility Services

Does the university provide accessibility services?
Yes, our Accessibility Services department provides academic accommodations and support services to address the individual needs of students with differing abilities, permanent disabilities or temporary disabling conditions. For more information, including program details and contact information, visit

Certificate of Completion

How do I request my printed certificate?
To obtain your official certificate, you must complete all requirements of your program and then complete and submit this form. Upon verification of requirement completion, your certificate will be mailed to you.

Search Results

At Cal State East Bay, we pride ourselves on putting students first, from the moment you inquire until you graduate. We hope you've found answers to your questions in this support center, but if not, please get in touch.

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At a Glance

Area of study: Certificate in Recreation Therapy

Ideal for: Professionals interested in working with seniors, veterans, people with disabilities or mental illness.

Program format: Online

Number of courses: 6 courses

Program length: 2 semesters (3 classes in Fall and Spring), self-paced

Tuition cost: $350/unit $6,300 total (Tuition fees are subject to change at any time.)


Please let us know if we can answer any questions about the Recreation Therapy program. Many answers can also be found in our online Support Center.

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