Start Dates

  • August 30 2018


Course Delivery

  • Blended
Tuition & Fees

Domestic: CAD $1,452
International: CAD $4,323

Includes 4 week unpaid practicum at end of program

Program Description

Recreation therapy aides support the efforts of recreation therapists in enhancing the quality of life for clients. You will work to improve the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of clients in a variety of settings including hospitals and assisted living homes, by implementing activities such as sports, dance, board games, music, or crafts.

This certificate is designed for health care aides looking to boost their employability, and can be taken while you are working. It builds on your skill set as a caregiver and applicants must currently be working in a caregiving role in the health care field.

This program begins every Fall term. Its curriculum has been recently updated and enhanced to provide the best possible opportunities for professional development and learning pathways. You will complete four months of part-time study which includes both online components and on-campus workshops held twice per month. In January, you will complete four weeks of practicum for a total of five months. Practicum shifts may include evenings, nights, and/or weekends.

Practicum placement

You will be required to travel to various locations in order to complete your practicum placement. Every effort is made to accommodate learners in practicum placements within the time frame of the program. In rare instances, there may be a delay in program completion until a practicum placement can be arranged.

Tuition and financial aid

Refer to the Program Tuition Fee Chart for an estimate of the cost of completing a Bow Valley College career program. When creating a budget, consider the costs of tuition, student fees, textbooks, learning materials, and police information check fees. Attend a Financial Aid Information Session for advice on financing a Bow Valley College education.

Course Listings Request More Information
Prospective Student Centre

Room S1111, South Campus
345 - 6 Avenue SE
Toll-free: 1-866-428-2669

Admission Requirements

Academic requirements
  • Successful completion of a recognized Health Care Aide Certificate program or equivalent


  • Current employment in the health care field (please submit documentation from your employer)
English language proficiency requirements
Pre-practicum requirement
  • A current Police Information Check (PIC) must be submitted prior to practicum placements. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent clinical, practicum, or field work placements and, subsequently, successful completion of the program.
  • Immunization requirements must be met prior to participating in practicum placements. Details will be provided after being accepted into the program. Up-to-date immunizations are valid for the duration of the program.
Additional recommendation
  • Basic Life Support CPR is recommended and often required by employers
Course Listings Request More Information
Prospective Student Centre

Room S1111, South Campus
345 - 6 Avenue SE
Toll-free: 1-866-428-2669

Course Listing

Curriculum subject to change.  

Term 1

Required Courses

Learners explore principles of interpersonal relationships and communication, considering the roles of culture, perception, and listening therein. They practice verbal, nonverbal, conversational, and computer-mediated messaging necessary for effective communication within personal and professional contexts.

Course Delivery:

This introductory course focuses on the roles and responsibilities of the recreation therapy aide (RTA) within the recreation therapy environment. Learners consider the key dimensions of recreation therapy: cognitive, physical, psychosocial, spiritual, and emotional components that support the different modalities of therapy. In addition, learners examine how assisting with medication administration, treatment plans, and documentation fit into the scope of practice of the RTA during therapeutic recreation service delivery.

Course Delivery:

Learners examine the stages of human development, and the area of developmental disabilities to identify how recreation can play a part in the different stages of development. This course also introduces learners to common diseases and conditions. They explore recreation modalities that can therapeutically influence progressive conditions and enhance wellbeing in all dimensions of recreation therapy.
Prerequisites: D in COMM1101 and RTAD1106

Course Delivery:

The central focus of this course is recreation therapy programming and the role of the recreation therapy aide (RTA) in the application of the program to meet client needs. Learners study the importance of person-centered care and the associated concepts. They collaborate with recreation therapists to develop programs incorporating the differences in assessment, treatment plans, implementation and evaluations. They explore ways to adapt programs to effectively meet or exceed targeted goals as they collaborate with the health care team. Learners address possible barriers and safety concerns before, during, and after the implementation stage of their program.
Prerequisites: D in COMM1101, RTAD1106 and RTAD1107

Course Delivery:

Term 2

Required CoursesPracticum Course

Practice and demonstrate skills within a hands-on setting. For four weeks, a workplace preceptor supervises and guides the learner in the application of skills and knowledge.
Prerequisite: D in RTAD1203

Course Delivery:
In Class

Program FAQs

The Recreation Therapy Aide Certificate program is designed for health care aides looking to expand their skill sets into the area of recreation therapy.

Courses are delivered in a blended delivery model that includes online learning, on-campus workshops, and a practicum.  This program is designed to be taken while you work, with on-campus workshops scheduled on evenings and weekends.

The four theory courses are offered every September to December. Workshops at the Calgary campus are held approximately three times every month.  In the past, they have been scheduled on Tuesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and occasionally held on Saturdays. The final practicum is held every January for four weeks full-time.

Program length is a total of twenty weeks. This certificate program includes four months of part-time online learning and workshops followed by four weeks of full-time practicum (five months in total).

Book list and costs can be found on the Bow Valley College Bookstore website.

Yes. Bow Valley College is the only school in Alberta to offer this certificate. There is also a two-year diploma available from the University of Lethbridge. Most employers are looking for recreation therapy aides with a certificate.

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