Therapeutic Recreation (Diploma)

Applied Community Studies
Therapeutic Recreation
Length of Program
Two years
Credential Type
Learning Format
Admission Type
Limited Enrolment


Make a positive difference in the lives of people living with physical and mental health challenges through a career in recreation therapy. Through purposeful leisure and recreation interventions, you can help children, adolescents, adults and seniors improve their overall health and well-being and live full, independent lives. 

A practical program 

The two-year Therapeutic Recreation Diploma prepares you to plan, implement and evaluate a wide range of programs for people with barriers to participation in leisure activities. Such programs could include individual or group fitness, cognitive activities, creative arts, gardening, cooking, adapted sports, nature and outdoor activities.  You will have the opportunity to apply classroom theory in real-life situations through two semesters of practicum work in healthcare or social service settings. 

Earn the Therapeutic Recreation Diploma online 

The Therapeutic Recreation Diploma now offers both online and in-person studies. The online diploma program allows you to study and complete the diploma from the comfort of your own home and get practical experience within your own community. You’ll also have the option to choose between full-time and part-time studies so you can learn at your own pace. 

Job prospects are strong

From 2022 to 2032, there will be more than 6,800 job openings for recreation program leaders, recreation assistants, and related positions in B.C.  

Surveys show that 100 percent of our Therapeutic Recreation diploma graduates are working in the field after graduation. (Source: B.C. Student Outcomes). 

Complete a bachelor’s degree 

The diploma program fulfils the requirements of years one and two of the Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation program at Douglas College. 

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission requirements listed below:

  • General College Admission Requirements
  • Attendance at an Information Session is strongly recommended. 
  • Admission to the Diploma in Therapeutic Recreation program is contingent upon suitability and readiness for the program.

Suitability is determined on the basis of awareness of self and others, life/work experience and overall personal readiness.

    • Applicants will submit:

      • A Letter of Intent outlining the reasons a candidate has chosen this program, long and short term goals, and strengths and limitations as a candidate.

      • A program application form.

      • An up-to-date resume.

      • A minimum 2 letters of reference with one being from a current (within 1 year) employer, teacher or instructor.

      • A personal interview may be required.

    • Due once an offer of admission is made:

      • A Criminal Record Check – Applicants will receive instruction from Enrolment Services once an offer of admission has been made.

      • A tuition deposit to secure seat (full-time applicants only)

    • Note: A negative TB test or Chest X-Ray, flu shot and proof of current vaccinations will be required for most practical experiences.


More admission and program details are available in the Prospective Student Guide.


Calculate your tuition and see the approximate cost of taking your program at Douglas College with the tuition & fee estimator. See costs broken down into categories including tuition fees, textbooks, student activity fees, U-Pass and more. 

For more information, refer to the tuition fee charts

Program Requirements

Curriculum Framework

Graduation Requirements For Students Completing By Summer 2023:

  • Successful completion of 61 credits
  • 25% (15 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • Students in the Therapeutic Recreation diploma program are required to attain a minimum of 60% ( C letter grade) in all courses utilized for credit towards a Diploma in Therapeutic Recreation in order to progress in the program.
  • Time limit to complete program graduation requirements: seven (7) years

Graduation Requirements For Students Completing After Summer 2023:

  • Successful completion of 61 credits
  • 50% (30 credits) of all coursework must be completed at Douglas College
  • Students in the Therapeutic Recreation diploma program are required to attain a minimum of 60% ( C letter grade) in all courses utilized for credit towards a Diploma in Therapeutic Recreation in order to progress in the program.
  • Require a minimum program GPA of 2.00
  • Time limit to complete program graduation requirements: seven (7) years

Course Requirements:

Course Number Course Title Credits

Required Courses:

BIOL 1104*

Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology


CFCS 2432

Understanding Aboriginal Perspective and Experiences


ENGL 1130

Academic Writing


PSYC 1130

Lifespan Human Development


THRT 1101

Therapeutic Recreation Foundations


THRT 1102

Leisure & Community Recreation


THRT 1122

Professional Skills and Person-Centred Approaches in Therapeutic Recreation


THRT 1203

Recreation Leadership I


THRT 1204

Principles and Practices of Health


THRT 1205

Communication Skills for Recreation and Health Professionals


THRT 2301

TR Process I Introduction to the TR Process


THRT 2306

Inclusive Leisure Practice


THRT 2307

Valuing Diversity: Therapeutic Recreation and Mental Health


THRT 2308

Older Adulthood: Psychosocial Issues and Therapeutic Recreation


THRT 2309

Physical Fitness: Theory and Application in Therapeutic Recreation


THRT 2333

Therapeutic Recreation Practice I: Diploma


THRT 2406

Recreation Leadership II


THRT 2407

Therapeutic Recreation and Physical and Developmental Disabling Conditions


THRT 2408

Older Adulthood: Chronic Health Conditions and Therapeutic Recreation


THRT 2444

Therapeutic Recreation Practice II: Diploma


Total Credits



*BIOL 1103 and 1203, 1105 and 1205, or 1109 and 1209 can be substituted for BIOL 1104.

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this program and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the program, consider the previous version as the applicable version.


This depends on the setting, the type of work you choose to do, and whether you have a diploma or a degree. The average starting salary for a Diploma graduate is approximately $25/hour and upwards.

We do offer online courses for the diploma program. We also work with various professional organizations that represent T.R. practitioners and health promotion professionals to provide practical experience in your areas.

No, you can apply to the degree program as a first year student and complete the four years as a degree student. Applicants unable to commit to attending full-time classes for four years can complete the diploma on a full-time basis then apply to the degree program as a third year access student.

Yes, you can choose to do third year degree access as a full-time or part-time student. A number of the third and fourth year courses are offered in the late afternoon, evening, three hour blocks or in alternate delivery styles.

This is a common question, especially if you've been out of school for some time. We recommend that you feel comfortable with your writing skills. If you know that you could improve your writing skills, we recommend that you take a suitable course or that you involve yourself in any experience that will give you practice and feedback on your writing skills. For example, you may want to take a short course or workshop through your local School Board Continuing Education offerings, or through you local Parks and Leisure Service Agency Program offerings. If you are confident with your academic writing skills, this is likely not necessary.

It's also helpful to have good computer skills, especially word processing (for writing papers) and internet research skills. Other skills include time management, organizational skills and coping skills for wellness.

While volunteering isn't required, you may wish to volunteer in the industry in order to get a feel for Therapeutic Recreation.

Lastly, we recommend that you start the program having practiced what we preach; in other words, enjoy some leisure and do whatever it is that builds wellness for you.

More Information

The program utilizes computer technology and it is therefore expected that students enter the program with basic word processing and Windows application skills.

Tuition Deposit

When offered a full-time seat in this program a non-refundable, non-transferable $350 tuition deposit is required. 

Career Pathways

You'll work in various health, social service and recreation agencies such as: 

  • Hospitals  
  • Long-term care facilities for older adults  
  • Youth assessment centres  
  • Rehabilitation settings  
  • Group homes  
  • Mental health settings  
  • Adult day centres  
  • Rehabilitation centres  
  • Correctional facilities  
  • Municipal recreation centres  
  • Agencies working with people with developmental disabilities  

Career opportunities include:

  • Activity Worker/Recreation Programmer 
  • Client and Volunteers Assistant 
  • Community Recreation Coordinator 
  • Health Promotion Educator 
  • Client and Volunteers Assistant 
  • Program Planner 
  • Recreation Leader/Assistant 
  • Social Rehabilitation Worker 
  • Therapist Assistant
  • Youth Outreach Worker 
  • Wellness Assistant