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Therapeutic Recreation Practicum Placements

















Looking for CTRS preceptors for Fall 2019


Recreation therapy is a growing profession! This is exemplified by the increasing number of therapeutic recreation students completing studies throughout two diploma and two degree programs in Alberta. These students require practicums placements to support their graduation. ATRA is requesting all of our professional members to consider supporting a student practicum and to help build a future, strong workforce.


Of urgent need, will the be first Fall practicum for students from the University of Lethbridge. There are 18 students looking for Fall placements across the province under a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).


If you are a CTRS and are eligible to support a Fall practicum student, please contact


Student Practicum Placements

Eligibility criteria to become a Professional Member of the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), requires that all applicants complete a (minimum) 320 hours of therapeutic recreation practicum placement(s).


Eligibility Criteria

  • Credit Course: The practicum placement must be arranged through a post-secondary education institution and the student must receive course credit for the placement.
  • Preceptorship*: The student must placed with a Recreation Therapist(s) preceptor(s) for at least 250 hours of the practicum placement. The preceptoring Recreation Therapist(s) must be on-site for at least 250 out of the 320 hours. The primary preceptoring therapist must arrange for transfer of equitable preceptorship when not available.

Placements within Alberta: The preceptoring Recreation Therapist(s) must be a current ATRA Professional Member.

Placements outside of Alberta: The preceptoring Recreation Therapist(s) must be a current professional member of their provincial therapeutic recreation association or have current CTRS credentials.

*: Preceptor is a term used to describe a clinician who provides guidance, mentorship and supervision during a clinical placement. “A preceptor works with the learner for a defined period of time to assist the learner in acquiring new competencies required for safe, ethical and quality practice.” (Dalhousie University, 2018. Retrieved from ) ATRA uses this term to be consistent with language used across Canadian health care service providers and across Alberta post-secondary institutions.


Instructions for Students

You must complete your practicum placement through a post-secondary institution within a therapeutic recreation program. Please see ATRA’s post-secondary page for therapeutic recreation program options in Alberta. The post-secondary institution will coordinate the placement and contacts ATRA to verify that the preceptor is a current ATRA Professional Member. ATRA does not coordinate practicum placements.

When you have graduated from your therapeutic recreation post-secondary program you can then apply as a New Applicant for Professional Membership.

Not Eligible: Volunteer and or work experience are not substitutes for practicum placement hours.



Instructions for New Applicants for Professional Membership

New applicants may apply for Professional Membership with more than one eligible practicumplacement. Each placement must meet the described eligibility criteria. The student must have each preceptoring Recreation Therapist sign the Therapeutic Recreation Practicum Placement Confirmation form.

Not Eligible: Volunteer and or work experience are not substitutes for practicum placement hours.

Application Submission: Applicants are responsible for retaining an electronic copy of each signed Therapeutic Recreation Practicum Placement Confirmation form along with the other requirements on the Application Checklist for Professional Member. The checklist and full instructions are available in ATRA’s Application Instruction Manual available on the Application / Renewal section of ATRA’s website.  



Instructions for Preceptors

Primary Preceptors: The student may have one or more Recreation Therapists providing preceptorship during the course of their practicum placement. The Recreation Therapist that is responsible for the overall practicum is the considered the primary preceptor and is the designate for confirming the Therapeutic Recreation Practicum Placement Confirmation form with their signature.

Preceptor Key Responsibilities

  1. Guide and mentor the student’s practice and demonstration of the Essential Competencies described in the Competency Profile for Recreation Therapists in Alberta (ATRA, 2012).
  2. Orientate the student to the site and develop a practicum placement plan. Discuss the plan with the student before assigning patient care responsibilities.
  3. Ensure an understanding of the learning outcomes and role expectations of the student as you may be asked to preceptor recreation therapy assistant and or therapist placements. The post-secondary institution’s supporting documents,  ATRA’s Competency Profile for Recreation Therapists in Alberta (ATRA, 2012).and the Guidelines for the Assignment of Therapeutic Recreation Services to Assistants and Aides (3rd ed., ATRA, 2016) are resources to fulfill this responsibility.
  4. Provide ongoing, open and honest face-to-face feedback to the student.
  5. Conduct regular evaluations of entry-to-practice essential competency areas to ensure the student is delivering safe, ethical and effective recreation therapy services.
  6. Intervene if there are client concerns or risk of harm resulting from the student’s care.
  7. Communicate proactively and regularly with the post-secondary institution about the student placement progress.
  8. Involve the post-secondary institution early if the student requires additional support within their practicum to ensure a constructive outcome for all stakeholders.
  9. In accordance with individual agency policy, obtain informed consent from the client or substitute decision-maker for the involvement of the student in the delivery of recreation therapy services.

10. Ensure the employer understands the preceptor’s key responsibilities regarding therapeutic recreation practicum placements.

11. Ensure preceptorship meets ATRA therapeutic recreation practicum placement eligibility criteria and arrange for transfer of preceptorship when not available.

12. Keep a copy of the signed Therapeutic Recreation Practicum Placement Confirmation  form for your records.

13. Register for CEU Code 115, Clinical Supervision / Preceptorship in ATRA’s Continuing Competence Program.


1) To review Essential Competencies for entry-to-practice as a Recreation Therapist: Competency Profile for Recreation Therapists in Alberta (ATRA, 2012).

2) To be able to distinguish the roles of the students when providing different levels of practicum placements: Guidelines for the Assignment of Therapeutic Recreation Services to Assistants and Aides (3rd ed., ATRA, 2016)

The primary Recreation Therapist preceptor is not obligated to sign a practicum placement confirmation form if, in their clinical judgement, the student has not demonstrated essential competencies appropriate for entry-to-practice that aligns with the ATRA Competency Profile (ATRA, 2012).

Contact Us: Preceptors, therapeutic recreation program post-secondary institutions and students can contact ATRA’s Education Director to discuss any aspects pertaining to therapeutic recreation practicum placements.   

ATRA does not verify or assist in placing students with National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) registered Recreation Therapists with Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credentials. If you are looking for a Recreation Therapist in Alberta with CTRS credentials please use the CTRS Verification Search ( provided by the NCTRC and contact the NCTRC ( directly.



Important Notice

It is the post-secondary institution and or the student's responsibility to confirm that a potential preceptor has current Professional membership status with ATRA.  Please refer to ATRA's website: About / Member Verification.  If the member name you are seeking does not appear, please email for a double check.