Program description

Recreational Therapy

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences offers a 14-week Recreational Therapy Internship at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. This program provides comprehensive knowledge and skills that enable practitioners to provide therapeutic treatment services and activities.

The Recreational Therapy Internship takes place in a hospital-based environment, where you learn and practice:

  • Treatment that utilizes activity to promote an individual's present functional skills
  • Leisure education as a means to acquire skills and develop knowledge of new activities and adopt or return to past recreational activities
  • Skills in forming positive attitudes
  • Community reintegration skills, which assist in return to past leisure activities and social skills
  • Recreational activities that promote the health and wellness concept and independent leisure activities

When you complete this internship, you take a national certification exam to begin work as an entry-level therapeutic recreation specialist.


See accreditation information for Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.


The education site for this residency is Mayo Clinic Hospital, part of Mayo Clinic in Arizona. You spend the majority of your time on the rehabilitation unit except when ordered for off-unit patients throughout the hospital.

You are exposed to a variety of adaptive activities, equipment, videos and resources, which prepare you for treating adult patients with medical diagnoses typically seen in the rehabilitative clinical setting (stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cardiac conditions, transplant and neurological impairments).

Graduation and certification

Recreational therapy interns graduate from their respective college or university upon successful completion of their internship. They are then responsible for scheduling and taking their certification tests through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. You must successfully pass this national certification exam to begin work as an entry-level therapeutic recreation specialist.

Recreation therapists must complete a 480-hour internship, in addition to completing their degree and passing their certification exam.


For the majority of the internship, your learning schedule includes eight-hour days, five days a week. While the regular workweek is usually 40 hours, additional projects, patient activities and homework may be assigned.

Class size

Each year, Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences admits one student in the spring, summer and fall semesters to its Recreational Therapy Internship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona. This ensures you receive close one-on-one instruction and a comprehensive educational experience.

Jan. 20, 2014