Imagine a career in which you help others get better and stay healthy by having them engage in the things they love to do! Our Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Recreational Therapy (RT) is designed for students who are eager to pursue a career in recreational therapy or for students who plan to pursue graduate education in allied healthcare programs such as physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), audiology and speech language pathology (SLP), nursing, rehabilitation counseling, athletic training (AT), art therapy, music therapy, or child life.
Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illness and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being.
The Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Recreational Therapy is designed to prepare students to become competent entry-level rehabilitation professionals and recreational therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) domains.
The bachelor’s degree program’s Rehabilitation Track prepares individuals for entry-level healthcare positions within a healthcare environment or human services setting. The courses in the Rehabilitation Track emphasize the broad spectrum of healthcare through treatment, education, and the provision of therapeutic services – all of which are instrumental to improving and maintaining physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning, preventing secondary health conditions, and enhancing overall quality of life.
What sets the RRT degree at FIU apart from other universities? Our innovative program is intentionally designed to provide students with exciting learning opportunities. Some of the highlights of our degree include:
Only RT degree available in the state of Florida
Two tracks (Rehabilitation Track and Recreational Therapy Track) for more flexibility to meet your career and education goals
Fully online degree option
Stand-alone degree rather than a track
Focus on experiential education and hands-on learning experiences
Opportunities to learn novel recreational therapy modalities such as scuba diving, yoga, validation therapy, aquatics, therapeutic drumming, reiki, aroma therapy
Diverse faculty and student population
FIU is geographically located in a vibrant city with access to year-round outdoor leisure and recreation opportunities.
Florida is the state with the largest population of older adults.
Students who choose the Rehabilitation Track to pursue other allied healthcare professions have good prospective employment, as the labor and employment market for health and rehabilitation fields is very strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups, with a 14 percent projected growth from 2018 to 2028.
Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Recreational Therapy: Rehabilitation Track choose career pathways in rehabilitation settings, long-term care agencies, disability services, social assistance, and human service settings. This degree track is appropriate for students who want to pursue graduate degrees in allied health professions such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training, rehabilitation counseling, audiology and speech-language pathology, art therapy, music therapy, and child life specialist.
Individuals in the Rehabilitation Track will meet the NCTRC academic requirements for the recreational therapy CTRS credential via the equivalency path, which requires the individual to complete 1,500 hours of paid work experience using the RT process under the supervision of a CTRS post-graduation. The Rehabilitation Track is suitable for students interested in graduate programs in other allied healthcare professions, as this track provides 30 credits of electives that could be used for prerequisite courses for graduate programs.
What is a CTRS?
A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) is a certified recreational therapist who has demonstrated professional competence by acquiring a specific body of knowledge and passing the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam and is the most qualified professional to provide recreational therapy services. A CTRS often serves as a member of the healthcare treatment team with other healthcare professionals.
What is NCTRC?
The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is the premiere credentialing organization for the field of recreational therapy. NCTRC sets standards for certification including education, experience, and continuing professional development. FIU’s RRT program is based off NCTRC standards.
How do I become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS)?
Students who graduate from the Rehabilitation Track are eligible to become a CTRS through the ‘Equivalency Path’ after working a minimum of 1,500 hours under the supervision of a CTRS.
The Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation and Recreational Therapy is designed to prepare students to become competent entry-level rehabilitation professionals and recreational therapists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains. The rehabilitation track prepares individuals for assistant healthcare positions within a healthcare environment or human services setting. Individuals in the rehabilitation track will meet the academic requirements for the recreational therapy CTRS credential via the equivalency path if after graduating from the track students complete 1500 hours of paid work experience that uses the TR process under the supervision of a CTRS. The courses in the rehabilitation track emphasize the broad spectrum of health care through treatment, education, and the provision of therapeutic recreation – all of which are instrumental to improving and maintaining physical, cognitive, emotional, & social functioning, preventing secondary health conditions, and enhancing overall quality of life. The rehabilitation track is suitable for students interested in graduate programs in allied healthcare professions as this track provides 30 credits of electives that could be used for prerequisite courses.
Course Requirements: 30 credits of required courses + 30 credits of electives
DEP 2000 Human Growth Development
Transfer: BSC 2086 & lab OR FIU: PET 3325C/L OR ZOO 3731/L OR BSC 2086/L Human Anatomy (or combination course of Human Anatomy and Physiology)
Transfer: BSC 2086 OR FIU: APK 3110 OR HSC 3549 OR PCB 2099 OR PCB 3702 OR BSC 2086/L Physiology (or combination course of Human Anatomy and Physiology
FIRST SEMESTER (12 CREDITS):
LEI3400 Diagnoses and Conditions in Recreational Therapy (co-requisite: LEI3703)
LEI 3703 Introduction to Recreational Therapy (co-requisite: LEI3400)
LEI 3707 Inclusive Recreation Services (Global Learning)
HSC3537 Medical Terminology
SECOND SEMESTER (12 CREDITS):
CLP4146 Psychopathology (previously known as "Abnormal Psychology." Do not re-enroll if already taken as Abnormal Psychology.)
LEI4711 Client Assessment & Documentation (prerequisite: LEI 3703)
LEI 4724 Recreational Therapy Facilitation Techniques (prerequisite: LEI3703)
SDS4403 Facilitative Communication and Helping Skills
THIRD SEMESTER (12 CREDITS):
LEI4705 Program Planning in Recreational Therapy (prerequisite: LEI3703)
LEI4712 Evaluation and Evidence-Based Practice in Recreational Therapy (prerequisite: LEI3703)
Electives Electives (6 Credit Hours; consider taking global learning foundations class; see advisor for GL requirement)
Advisor-approved electives, minor or certificate to reach 120 total credits: 24 credit hours
Internship is an important part of the RRT degree. For Rehabilitation Track students, internship is NOT required. Fieldwork in Rehabilitation & Recreational Therapy is recommended for students to take as an advising approved elective.
FIELDWORK IN REHABILITATION & RECREATIONAL THERAPY (LEI 4940 – 6 credits)
Recommended for Rehabilitation Track students. Fieldwork in Rehabilitation & Recreational Therapy is comprised of a total of 320 hours of practicum experience. Students have the option to complete two separate 160-hour rotations at an approved therapeutic agency (3 credits each) OR a full 320 hours at one approved agency (6 credits).
All internship locations must be approved by the internship coordinator before the internship begins. The internship coordinator offers several ‘Internship Orientation Meetings’ every semester to review the steps to obtain an internship and the requirements to complete a placement.
Graduation Requirements1) Note: If CLP 4146 and/or HSC 3537 was taken as a transfer 1000/2000 level course, student will need to take an additional elective.2) Students must get a 'C' or better in all program specific courses in order to get credit applied towards completion of degree requirements.1) FIU cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better on a 4.0 scale2) Completion of a minimum of 120 semester hours in acceptable coursework; minimum of 45 credits must be upper division3) University Foreign Language (FLENT/FLEX), Global Learning, and Summer Enrollment requirements must be met4) All program and University requirements must be met
To ensure every student’s success, we have certain admissions requirements for our program. To help you through the application process, our enrollment advisors can help to answer your questions and guide you every step of the way.
Applications are accepted for Spring, Fall and Summer terms.
Steps To Apply:
Please submit the following:
- Online application
- $30 application fee
- Official SAT or ACT scores
- Official high school transcripts
Please submit the following:
- Online application
- $30 application fee
- Official college transcripts
If you have less than 60 transferable college credits, you must also submit official high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores in addition to any transcripts from postsecondary schools to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
In addition to the above requirements, international applicants should submit:
- Official English Language Proficiency exam scores (TOEFL or IELTS).
- NACES official course-by-course evaluation and translation of college transcripts.
If you have less than 60 transferable college credits, you must also submit official high school transcripts with translation.
Program Admission Requirements
Candidates must first be accepted into the university. Students admitted to Florida International University are admitted directly to their chosen major.
Program Completion Requirements
A total of 120 credits are required to complete the fully online undergraduate degree. Students must complete the University Core Curriculum, University requirements and College of Arts, Sciences and Education requirements while satisfying requirements toward their major and are expected to make good progress based on critical indicators, such as GPA in specific courses or credits earned. In cases where students are not making good progress, a change of major may be required. Advisors work to redirect students to more appropriate majors when critical indicators are not met. For specific course requirements, visit the Courses tab on this program page.
To complete the online undergraduate programs admissions form, select your program from the application form. You may complete the online application and submit it, even before taking any entrance exams. All supporting admission documents may be sent to:
Florida International University
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
P.O. Box 659003
Miami, FL 33265-9003
FIU also accepts transcripts electronically via:
- Faster (All FL public institutions)
- Naviance (Typically used by private high schools)
- SMART/Joint Service Transcript – Military records
*Meeting the university minimum requirements does not guarantee admission
Tuition and Aid
We’re thrilled that you’re considering online education and want you to know exactly what to expect for tuition and fees. Education is an investment in your future. Use the following student tuition and fees calculator to determine your costs.
Lauren Ortega: Lauren Ortega, MS, CTRS, earned her B.S in Physical Education: Sports and Fitness Studies and her M.S in Recreation and Sport Management: Recreational Therapy from FIU. After getting her M.S. in RT, she started working at FIU as the Internship Coordinator for the Recreational Therapy program. Then, she went to work as an Activities Director at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Miami, FL. Currently she is the Director of the Recreational Therapy Internship Program at FIU and a member of ATRA (American Therapeutic Recreation Association). She has also served as a visiting instructor for the program. Director Ortega also works part time as a Recreational Therapist for Strive Recreational Therapy Services. She has done 1 poster presentation at a ATRA National Conference in 2013 and she has, furthermore, co-authored a chapter on Equine Assisted Therapy in the textbook, Facilitation Techniques in Therapeutic Recreation (Dattilo & McKenney, 2016). Major areas of interest within RT include Equine Assisted Therapy, Special Olympics, Aquatics, SCUBA therapy, and Paralympics.
Tonia Porter: Tonia Porter, MS, CTRS/LRT earned her bachelor’s degree in Brain, Behavior & Cognitive Science from University of Michigan and master’s degree in Recreational Therapy Administration from East Carolina University, and is a registered yoga instructor. Porter began her recreational therapy career working in inpatient rehabilitation at Shands Rehab Hospital during which time she co-founded a non-profit organization called Warrior Institute. Warrior Institute provides outdoor recreation programs combined with biofeedback training to military service members, veterans and their families. Porter enjoys introducing individuals to outdoor adventure and facilitating RT programs in nature. She joined FIU for the first time from 2015-2018 and then spent a couple years working between North Carolina and Alaska, happily returning to FIU faculty in 2020.
Tania Santiago Perez: Tania Santiago Perez, MS, CTRS, has been an Assistant Teaching Professor of Recreational Therapy at Florida International University since 2015, and the leader of the Recreational Therapy tracks since 2018. She earned her B.S. in Exercise and Sports Sciences in 2010, and her M.S. in Recreation and Sport Management, Recreational Therapy track in 2013. She is currently on her third year of doctoral studies at Clemson University in the PhD in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Recreational Therapy cognate area. Her dissertation involves investigating the relationship between scuba social identity and levels of self-efficacy, socio-psycho-bio health, and health-related quality of life among individuals with physical disabilities. Tania has published one article in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, and has an article in press in the Therapeutic Recreation Journal. Also, she has 3 conference proceedings and 10 presentations at recreational therapy state, regional, and national conferences.
Tania started her professional career at a nonprofit organization working as a Recreation and Sports Coordinator. After getting her master’s degree, she worked at an Assisted Living Facility helping older adults with neurocognitive conditions. Then, she went to Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces where she worked as a Recreational Therapist with a variety of populations including children and adults with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, children with physical disabilities and/or visual impairments, and veterans. During her time at FIU, Tania has taught over 60 courses in 8 different topic areas and has co-founded three community programs with students and community partners: 1) a handcycling program for adults with physical disabilities, 2) a soccer program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and 3) a virtual adult day training program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Tania has served as reviewer for the American Therapeutic Recreation Research Institute since 2015, as board member for the South Florida Paralympic Partners since 2015, as secretary and senator for the United Faculty of Florida-FIU Chapter since 2017, as member of the Faculty Senate Interprofessional Ad Hoc Committee since 2019, as board member of the Therapeutic Scuba Institute since 2019, and as member of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association International Committee since 2020.
Tania has received several FIU awards including the 2017 CASE Engagement Award, the 2018, 2019 & 2020 CASE Service Awards, and the 2019 Top Scholar Award for Teaching and Mentorship.
Emily Messina, PhD, CTRS: Emily Messina is an Associate Professor of Recreational Therapy at FIU. Messina received her BS and MS in Recreation Studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Florida. She has been a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist since 2004. She completed her doctoral degree in Public Health (emphasis in social behavioral health science) at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Messina’s research focuses on the benefits of recreation and leisure for marginalized population groups, particularly those within the criminal justice system, behavioral health settings, and those experiencing housing insecurity.
Amelia Saul, PhD, LRT/CTRS: Dr. Amelia D. Saul, LRT/CTRS recently graduated from East Carolina University with her PhD in Addiction and Rehabilitation Studies. Her PhD Dissertation examined the effectiveness of a 2-week at-home paced breathing intervention to reduce anxiety in college students. Prior to receiving her PhD, Dr. Saul studied Recreational Therapy and Recreational Therapy Administration. Dr. Saul is also the Past President of the North Carolina Recreational Therapy Association. Her research interests include examining anxiety and depression in college students, assessing effectiveness of evidence-based stress management techniques, utilizing biofeedback technology to assess coping mechanisms, and implementation of prevention mechanisms for people with a family history of cardiovascular disease.
120 Credits Required
$228.81 In-State Tuition Cost
$345.87 Out-of-State Tuition Cost
Fully Online Degree
Only RT degree available in the state of Florida
Every undergraduate student is paired with success coach
Program starts: Fall, Spring, Summer
Become part of an exceptional community and make the most of your education. Join the Honors College.
Opportunities to learn novel recreational therapy modalities such as scuba diving, yoga, validation therapy, aquatics, therapeutic drumming, reiki, aromatherapy