Summary of occupation
Diversional therapists, plan, organise, schedule and run leisure and rehabilitation activities that enhance the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of their clients. They work with people in aged care, who have physical or intellectual disabilities, or mental illness, as well as people undergoing medical treatment or rehabilitation from injury or surgery. They liaise with other health care professionals about the needs of their clients and discuss their clients' interests, and help them to find activities that appeal to them. They organise outings and activities for their clients, coordinate these activities and assist their clients in managing their lifestyle choices. Diversional therapists work mostly in cities and large regional centres.
Plans, designs, coordinates and implements recreation and leisure-based activity programs to support, challenge and enhance the psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of individuals. Registration or licensing may be required.
A diversional therapist needs:
- a caring and compassionate nature
- good communication skills
- a willingness to help people
- excellent organisational skills
- problem-solving skills
- leadership and motivational skills.
Diversional therapists work in aged care facilities, youth and community centres and other organisations that provide social assistance within the community. They may also work with organisations that offer healthcare and social services to people with specific disabilities, such as blindness or deafness. Diversional therapists may also work in private practices or consultancies. They may work full-time or part-time, and usually work regular business hours. They are often required to work with people with severe intellectual or physical disabilities, who require specialist care.
On average, diversional therapists can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a diversional therapist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Diversional therapists use computers to plan and organise the therapy schedules of their clients. They also work with a range of therapeutic materials including arts and craft materials, musical instruments, sports equipment, and other recreation equipment. They may consult textbooks and reference materials to determine the most appropriate treatment for their clients.
To become a diversional therapist, you usually need to complete a formal qualification in diversional therapy; or a related area such as therapeutic recreation, leisure and health studies.
Diversional Therapy Australia recognises the Certificate IV Leisure and Health, available at Central Institute of Technology.
There are no relevant degree courses available in Western Australia (WA), but courses are available interstate or by distance education. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
A National Police Certificate is needed when seeking employment in aged care homes.
To work with children in WA, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department for Community Services.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.