Welcome to the Homepage for the Undergraduate Program in Therapeutic Recreation

Therapeutic Recreation (TR) is a nationally recognized health and human service profession. Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists work with many different age groups: children, teens, adults, older adults, and persons with many different disabilities, illnesses or conditions (i.e. physical disabilities, cognitive disabilities, long term illnesses). About the profession

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Therapeutic Recreation. Please use the links on the left menu to learn more about the program. You can also contact the program director.

What does a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist do?
Employment Possibilities
Information about a CTRS credential

A CTRS uses recreation activities for a particular purpose. These activities can help improve health and quality of life. The nature of the setting and the needs of the clients will determine the types of programs offered. A CTRS can use many different types of activities in programs:

  • Outdoor recreation
  • Music or dance
  • Social activities
  • Discussions
  • Resource information
  • Community service
  • Animal assisted programs
  • Many other types of activities
  • Arts and crafts
  • Games
  • Expressive activities
  • Decision-making skills
  • Physical activities or sports
  • Special events
  • Camping and adventure
  • Gardening

There are 3 main purposes of Therapeutic Recreation Programs:

  1. Functional Improvement
    A CTRS might help a person with a brain injury regain use of numbers and conversation skills by playing a card game or using puppets for self expression.
  2. Leisure Education
    A CTRS might help a person recovering from alcohol addiction learn how to relax and find recreation activities that support sobriety.
  3. Recreation Participation
    A CTRS might help a person with a cognitive disability to participate in Special Olympics, wheelchair sports, or an adventure camp weekend.

Therapeutic Recreation at UWL is nationally accredited and all graduates are eligible to sit for the national certification exam. The UWL Therapeutic Recreation program is noted as one of the top 4 in the country. UWL TR has a comprehensive curriculum, opportunities for practical experiences, supportive professional associations, and an active Therapeutic Recreation Faculty. This curriculum received both state and national awards. Our students are dedicated and caring individuals who become outstanding professionals.

The extraordinary thing about being a Recreational Therapist is that you get to affect the whole person: mind, body, and spirit.

Melissa Hill, class of 1999