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About New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania
Therapeutic Recreation Association


Established in 1988, the New Jersey/Eastern PA Chapter Affiliate was the second ATRA (American Therapeutic Recreation Association) affiliate to be organized in the United States. NJ/EPA TRA is a non-profit, professional organization with priority focus on promoting the needs of recreation therapy professionals in healthcare and human service settings.



The purpose of the NJ/EPA TRA is to serve as an advocate for therapeutic recreation profession in order to promote the health and well-being of the public through service, education, research and the development and enforcement of standards of professional practice.


About Recreational Therapy

"Recreational Therapy” means a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.

Recreational therapy, or therapeutic recreation, is a healthcare profession carried out by trained providers who use recreational activities to help improve or maintain an individual's cognitive, emotional, social, or physical functioning. People who receive recreational therapy are often ill, disabled, or elderly. The therapist provides adapted recreation opportunities in order to help the patients develop independent living skills and improve quality of life. Recreational Therapists provide treatment in healthcare facilities in New Jersey including but not limited to VA hospitals, State psychiatric hospitals, pediatric health care facilities, inpatient acute and sub-acute rehabilitation centers, long term care facilities and nursing homes, and substance abuse programs. 

Recreational Therapists work with children, youth, and adults in healthcare facilities, or in the community and are expected to have extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology, psychology, human development, CPR, and more. These professionals are tasked with completing assessments, creating treatment plans, and working independently with individuals with complex medical conditions in a hospital or in the community. Many of these therapists facilitate field trips for medically-complex patients in the community, oftentimes driving vehicles to transport patients on these trips; this requires professional skills and knowledge about medical conditions, CPR, crisis management, and safety. 

Qualified recreational therapists hold a national certification through the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) which requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree, completion of clinical training, and passing of its certification exam. 


Read more about National Certification and how to become a Recreational Therapist here. 


Become a Recreational Therapist

Local Universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with Therapeutic Recreation Degree Programs:

Temple University

Kean University

York College

Slippery Rock University


Our Jurisdiction

The Chapter jurisdiction includes all of New Jersey and the following Pennsylvania counties:
Adams, Berks, Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northhampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, Wyoming, and York.

Our Committees

The Chapter has eight working committees dedicated to addressing the goals set forth by the membership. Members are encouraged to join and share their valuable input on the various committees.


  • Those committees are as follows:

    Public Policy
    Outreach and Advocacy
    Past Board of Director's Council

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about the profession?

Learn more here