Diversional Therapists plan, design, coordinate and implement recreation and leisure-based activity programs to support, challenge and enhance the psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of individuals.
Also known as: Recreational Therapist.
Specialisations: Activities Coordinator, Activities Officer.
A certificate IV or diploma in leisure and health is usually needed to work as a Diversional Therapist.
planning and implementing leisure activity programs for individuals in health care and in the community to assist in their social development, and promote their sense of wellbeing
identifying individual needs through task analysis
evaluating and assessing clients' levels of abilities, interests, needs, strengths and weaknesses, and their ability to carry out a range of tasks and interact with others
maintaining a knowledge of resources available within a facility and within the community
organising leisure and recreational events
assisting with training and supervising volunteers and staff
providing information on available support resources within the local community
encouraging and supporting clients to take part in activities suited to their particular needs and interests
adapting programs to suit individual clients' needs, interests, skills and abilities
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow moderately
- is likely to reach 1,800 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 42% of people employed as Diversional Therapists work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 24 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 40 hours per week in their main job. This is 4 hours less than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).
Median full-time earnings are $1,234 per week, this is much lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,208
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,307
Median hourly earnings are $33, this is lower than the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Overtime hours: ABS, Characteristics of Employment, 2021. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Diversional Therapists||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Diversional Therapists work in the Health care and social assistance industry.
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Diversional Therapists||All Jobs Average|
Around 51% of Diversional Therapists live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
New South Wales has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Melbourne - South East
- Melbourne - Outer East
- Gold Coast
- Newcastle and Lake Macquarie
- Melbourne - North East.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Diversional Therapists is 52 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 91% of the workforce. This is 43 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Diversional Therapists||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||7.2||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A certificate IV or diploma in leisure and health is usually needed to work as a Diversional Therapist.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Health Industry and Community Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Diversional Therapists||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||3.6||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||7.5||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Diversional Therapists who are caring, compassionate and empathetic and can communicate clearly with a diverse range of people
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Reading work related information.
Looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
54%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Teaching people how to do something.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
50%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
48%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
43%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Understanding needs and product requirements to create a design.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
77%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
69%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
64%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
55%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
55%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
49%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
45%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
43%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
38%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
37%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
37%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
36%Sales and marketing
Showing, promoting, and selling including marketing strategy, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
31%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
50%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
See details that are far away.
43%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
79%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
77%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
77%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
71%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
71%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
69%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
68%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
66%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
66%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
65%Coaching and developing others
Working out the needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or helping them to improve.
64%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
63%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
63%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
58%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
57%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
57%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
55%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
52%Leading and encouraging a team
Encouraging and building trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
47%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Use electronic mail.
95%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Work with people in a group or team.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
Talk on the telephone.
88%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
87%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
84%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
82%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
82%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
81%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
80%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
78%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
77%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
74%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
Work to strict deadlines.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
72%Spend time standing
Spend time standing at work.
69%Physically aggressive people
Deal with physically aggressive or violent people.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 29-1125.00 - Recreational Therapists.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.