Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shortage of RTs?

I recently read with interest a post on Charlie Dixon's Recreational Therapy Blog.
He stated that: "over the course of this past several months I have heard from about six employers that they are having a difficult time finding someone to take their recreation therapist or activity director job opening. They say that they have posted job openings at the Therapeutic Recreation Directory,, local newspapers, etc and was not able to find a suitable candidate and/or very few people applied for the job.

"There is a state psych hospital near where I work that has had extreme difficulty in finding a TR for their rec therapy position for several years!

"I don’t know what the real answer is. I can only speculate… can it be that the position is in a very rural area and no one wants to relocate to such a setting? Can it be that people are “picky” with the types of jobs or places they are willing to work? Are people not willing to “pay the dues” and work in lower paying or less desirable jobs? Are the pay scale too low? With more colleges dropping TR programs are there not enough TRs out there?

I also hear from others having gone through many interviews and not being selected."

I wonder just what is going on with the situation with jobs. There are fewer and fewer universities producing RTs. Perhaps this enters into the shortage. Also, I know that at many universities students take undergraduate degrees in RT and then go on for a master's degree in PT or OT instead of entering the field.

As for those who interviewed and were not selected, perhaps they should look at the quality of professional preparation they have received. Too many universities simply have weak programs that do not adequately prepare their graduates to do clinical work.


Blogger Mike Sutherland said...

I have always been amazed at the inability of employers to find RTs as well. I wonder if they are being too picky or they are "holding out for higher pay"? But it seems to me that if employers search for too long, they might get other ideas including ones that don't include RTs at all.

Recently my coworker left and created an opening for a new RT. I work in an urban, Level 1 trauma hospital's inpatient rehab unit. We had 9 applicants for this position...not too shabby. We interviewed 7 before selecting one. I would say that of the 7 we wold have hired maybe the top 5 which also speaks highly of the quality of those candidates. This seems to fly in the face of the shortage theory but overall I still wonder about the quality of RTs.

8:11 PM  

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