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Activity Director Job Description

An activity director, sometimes called a recreational therapist or therapeutic recreation specialist, oversees the activity department and programs at a medical, health care or retirement residence or facility. She assesses patients' needs and strategically develops a program to meet those needs, working with other department heads as necessary.

Job Responsibilities

An activity director plans and administers ongoing activities programs. These include both group and individual social activities, outings, spiritual programs and creative, artistic activities. He encourages patient participation in activities and procures the necessary equipment. He also develops and maintains an activity department budget.

Job Opportunities

If you are seeking to become an activity director, apply directly to the company or medical facility you'd d like to work for. Activities director jobs are often advertised in the classified sections of newspapers and on online job search boards. Professional organizations such as the National Association of Activity Professionals provide employment resources and networking opportunities.

You may also find success using an employment agency that focuses specifically on placing medical and health care professionals. Activityjobs.com and Recreationtheraphy.com are excellent resources for prospective activity directors.

Qualitative Requirements

To successfully work as an activity director, you must possess excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. You must also have exceptional problem-solving skills. You must be patient, able to maintain your composure within a stressful environment. You must also possess the ability to inspire and motivate others. Your interpersonal skills must be top notch, because you will be teaching and training patients of all demographics and with varying degrees of physical and mental fitness.

Educational Requirements

Most employers required successful activity director candidates to possess a four-year degree in therapeutic recreation, physical education or a related field. Many employers also prefer candidates to be certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. Though laws vary by state, certain states require activities directors to obtain a license to work.

Average Compensation

According to Salary.com, in 2009 the average nursing home activities director working in the United States earns an annual base salary of $34,654. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the employment of recreational therapists to increase by 4 percent in the decade from 2006 through 2016.



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