Program description

Recreational Therapy

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences offers a 15- to 16-week Recreational Therapy Internship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, that provides comprehensive knowledge and skills to enable you to perform recreational therapy treatments and clinical activities.

Your education prepares you to treat adult and pediatric patients with medical diagnoses commonly seen in the rehabilitative clinical setting, including stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cancer, cardiac conditions and neurological impairments.

You learn to utilize adaptive physical activities, specialized equipment, training videos and other resources designed to assist those with physical impairments.

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

  • Treatment that utilizes physical activity to promote the individual's functional skills
  • Skills that patients need to successfully live in their communities, including exploration of accessibility to buildings and return to past leisure and social activities
  • Leisure education as a means to acquire skills and develop knowledge of new activities
  • Recreational activities that promote patient mental and physical well-being and independence


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


The site for this internship is Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus. You train primarily on the rehabilitation unit, except when you are assisting patients with community-based educational opportunities and activities.

Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, includes an extensive outpatient complex, Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, and substantial research and education facilities.

This Mayo Clinic site is among the largest, most advanced medical centers in the world.

Graduation and certification

Students receive a degree from their college or university commensurate with their didactic and clinical training.

Graduates then must schedule and complete their certification tests through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. You must successfully pass this national certification examination to begin work as an entry-level therapeutic recreation specialist. Recreation therapy graduates must also complete a 480-hour internship.


For the majority of the internship, your learning schedule includes eight-hour days, five days a week. Hours may vary and weekend days may be included. 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 three students — one each semester: spring, summer and fall — to the Recreational Therapy Internship. This ensures you receive a comprehensive educational experience with one-on-one instruction.

Nov. 02, 2016