Start Dates

  • September 03, 2024


Program Delivery

  • Combined Online
  • Off-Campus
Tuition & Fees

Domestic: CAD $1,918
Estimated Book Costs: CAD $80


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 games, music, dance, and crafts.

This certificate is designed for those with work experience or education in health or human services looking to increase their employment opportunities. 

This five-month full-time program starts with four months of online study which includes self-directed study and scheduled weekly evening classes along with two longer Saturday sessions. In the fifth month, you will complete four weeks of practicum (approximately 37.5 hours per week for a total of 150 hours) at a placement location arranged by Bow Valley College.

Practicum placement

Depending on availability, students may be able to complete their practicum placement in their own town. However, you may be required to travel to other 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 Applying FAQ
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Regional Applicants


Airdrie Campus
Cochrane Campus
Okotoks Campus

Admission Requirements

Academic requirements
  • Credit in either English 10-1 or 10-2 or equivalent
  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test with a standard score of 520 in Language Arts: Reading and Writing.
  • Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test


English language proficiency requirements
Pre-practicum requirement
  • A current Police Information Check (PIC), with Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS), must be submitted prior to practicum placement. The existence of a criminal record may postpone or prevent practicum placement and, subsequently, successful completion of the program.
  • Immunization requirements must be met prior to participating in practicum placements. Up-to-date immunizations are valid for the duration of the program.
  • Details will be provided at the start of the program. 
Additional recommendation

Related Links

Course Listings Request More Information
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Regional Applicants


Airdrie Campus
Cochrane Campus
Okotoks Campus

Employment Rate


Training Related Employment Rate


Based on 2019-2020 domestic and international students who self-reported finding employment or training-related employment within 6-12 months after graduating.

Course Listing

Full course outlines are available here.

Curriculum subject to change.

Term 1

Required Courses

Through practice and reflection, learners nuture personal and professional relationships using interpersonal communication skills. With a focus on other-oriented communication, learners demonstrate how inequities and power dynamics influence relationships.

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 to facilitate programs that meets that the needs of clients in facility and community. Further, learners will engage in learning activities to exhibit understanding in the benefits from program participation by demonstrating creativity, time management, positive reinforcement, supportive strategies and cultural awareness.

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.

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: COMM1101, RTAD1106 and RTAD1107

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: RTAD1203

Program FAQs

The Recreation Therapy Aide Certificate program is designed for those with work experience or education in health or human services looking to expand their skill set into the area of recreation therapy. For those without previous education or experience, successful completion of HMSV9102 Personal Support Skills for Caregivers will help fulfill the requirement.

Courses are delivered in a blended delivery model that includes scheduled and non-scheduled online learning followed by a practicum.

In terms of pre-requisites, a learner must pass RTAD1106, RTAD1107, and COMM1101 in order to take RTAD1203. A passing grade in RTAD1203 is required to take the practicum course RTAD1999.

The four full-time theory courses are offered in the first term. Class sessions are scheduled on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and two Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and held online. The practicum occurs in the second term for four weeks and requires a full-time commitment as learners will spend 150 hours (approximately 37.5 hours per week) at a placement site.

Program length is a total of twenty weeks. This full-time certificate program includes four months of online class sessions and self-directed study followed by four weeks of 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. Most employers are looking for recreation therapy aides with a certificate.

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