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One of the few therapeutic recreation programs in Canada that specializes in gerontology, the Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology diploma at Lethbridge College builds on your organizational skills and makes use of your ability to easily converse with people of all ages and backgrounds to prepare you for a meaningful career working with seniors. It’s also recognized by the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association and offers many direct transfers into degree programs, if you want to further your education.

We’ll help you develop a foundation in therapeutic recreation, teaching you to plan and deliver innovative programs and services. This knowledge will be balanced with a thorough understanding of the sociological, physiological and psychological process of aging.

But it won’t all be theory – we’ll make sure you get the hands-on learning you really need to succeed after graduation through practicum placements. You’ll put theory and knowledge into practice, gaining the skills necessary for immediate employment.

Ready to make a difference in the lives of seniors? Apply today!

Career opportunities

Our program will put you in demand as an integral member of the health care team. You’ll be prepared for work in:

  • Community-based programs
  • Group homes
  • Hospital
  • Lodges
  • Long term care
  • Mental health programs
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Seniors day programs
  • Senior centres
  • Supportive living
Starts In: September (on-campus and online)
Application Deadlines:

For current application status, terms being processed and application deadlines visit the Program Application Status page.

Duration: 2 years
Credential: Diploma

Athabasca University

Diploma graduates may receive a block transfer of 60 credits (2+2 years) toward the 120-credit Bachelor of Professional Arts in Human Services degree at Athabasca University. Diploma graduates may receive a block transfer of 30 credits towards the three or four-year Bachelor of Human Resources & Labour Relations Post-Diploma, Bachelor of Management Post-Diploma (Management Major), Bachelor of Commerce Post-Diploma (Communication Major) programs.

Dalhousie University

Graduates of the Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology diploma may apply for admission to the Bachelor of Science (Recreation) degree at Dalhousie University. Students must meet the requirements for admission for transfer students described in the Dalhousie University Undergraduate Calendar. Graduates of the Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology diploma who are admitted to Dalhousie University may be granted up to a maximum of 60 credit hours of transfer credit towards the Bachelor of Science (Recreation) degree at Dalhousie University. This represents a maximum of 50% of degree requirements.

Griffith University

Therapeutic Recreation - Gerontology diploma graduates may enter into the third semester of the Bachelor of Human Services degree at Griffith University, Logan campus.

Thompson Rivers University

Graduates of Therapeutic Recreation - Gerontology are eligible to receive a maximum of 57 transfer credits into the TRU Bachelor of Health Science or a maximum of 60 transfer credits into the TRU Bachelor of General Studies.

University of Calgary

Graduates will be considered for entrance into U of C’s 10 full course equivalent Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation program.

University of Lethbridge

Graduates will be considered for entrance into the U of L’s Post-Diploma Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation program.

University of Regina

Graduates who have achieved a minimum grade of 60% (GPA) will be eligible for 60 credit hours transfer to the Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Studies -Therapeutic Recreation Major. For more information, please visit:

Delivery Format

A blended course is intentionally designed to include continuum of both face to face/on-campus and online delivery. This includes both synchronous (in real-time on a set schedule) and asynchronous learning strategies (learning that does not occur at the same time or same place). Communication, instruction and assessment components of a blended course provide consistent information but go further by enhancing and supplementing each other. Students may complete some of their lessons online and may also be required to come to campus.


Learning does not occur at the same time or same place. Instructor provides materials including online readings, recorded lectures or presentations, posted lecture notes, video content, assignments and exams for online completion. Students access the course materials within a flexible timeframe prescribed by the instructor.


Learning happens in real time. Student and instructors interact and engage with each other in a specific virtual space, through a specific online medium, at a specific time. This can include video conferencing, live chatting, and live-streaming lectures.

Returning Students
As a continuing student in Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology in the normally on-campus program, you can expect to experience a blended program with in-person work-integrated learning experiences and online learning of theory in a virtual environment. All in-person experiences will follow protocols for your health and safety. Online lessons will be both synchronous (at a specific time with your classmates and instructor) and asynchronous learning (you can access materials within a flexible timeframe prescribed by your instructor).


Learning Environment

You can study on campus or online.

Important notes: Online Learning students are responsible for any fees for service by an off-site exam proctor.

All requirements of the Therapeutic Recreation diploma program must be met within six years of the student being accepted into the program.

Students must complete the two practicums on a full-time basis. Due to the limited availability of practicum sites, students may be required to relocate from their home community to complete the practicum placements.

Online learning students must consult with the program chair or the practicum coordinator prior to registering for their practicums. Online Learning students wanting to enroll in either TRG-1199 Practicum I (3 credits) or TRG-2299 Advanced Practicum II (6credits) must register prior to January 1st for a spring/summer term placement.

It is not recommended that Online Learning students register in more than 2 theory courses and practicum concurrently. Contact the TRG program chair to develop a plan.

Online Learning students who reside outside of Alberta must be aware they may not be covered under Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) insurance coverage when participating in practicums outside of Alberta.

Please refer to the online Academic Timetable for course availability.

Year 1 Term I
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Year 1 Term II
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Year 2 Term I
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Year 2 Term II
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New students are admitted into the Therapeutic Recreation Gerontology program in the Fall (September) term.

General admission requirements

All applicants must meet the general admission requirements for Lethbridge College programs as indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar.

Academic requirements

In addition to meeting the general admission requirements indicated in the Admissions section of this calendar, applicants to this program must also satisfy the following specific course requirements (or equivalencies):

  • 60 percent minimum in English Language Arts (ELA) 30-1 or 70 percent in ELA 30-2
  • Grade 12 biology

English language proficiency requirements for Therapeutic Recreation Gerontology program

In addition to the academic requirements, if English is not your first language, English Language Proficiency (ELP) must be demonstrated within the last two (2) years prior to the application. Acceptable evidence of ELP may be one of the following:

  • IELTS Academic with a minimum band score of 6.5 in speaking, 6.5 in listening, 6.0 in reading and 6.5 in writing
  • TOEFL Internet-based test score with a minimum score of 22 in speaking, 23 in listening, 21 in reading and 25 in writing
  • Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of three (3) years of full-time secondary education at a school where English was the principal language of instruction
  • Transcripts demonstrating successful completion of one (1) year of full-time post-secondary education at a school where English was the principal language of instruction

Note: Meeting the English Language Proficiency requirement does NOT exempt the applicant from meeting the English academic admission requirement for entry to this program.

Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Pre-Placement Requirements

This program has a required Work-Integrated Learning Pre-Placement Requirements (WIL) component. The College dictates the legal terms and conditions governing the WIL.

Students must meet and maintain certain requirements to participate in the WIL setting as determined by programs, practice agencies and/or legislated by government bodies. These may include health (e.g. immunizations, screening tests, etc.), privacy and security (e.g. police information check, IT access, etc.), and OH&S requirements (e.g. CPR certification, Fire Safety, WHMIS, Mask Fit-testing, etc.).

Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) coverage - WIL placement agencies and employers usually require WCB coverage on behalf of the student. Students enrolled in post-secondary institutions in Alberta are deemed to be employees of the Province of Alberta and, as such, provided WCB coverage. In certain instances for students outside of Alberta, WCB coverage may not be provided (e.g. non-Alberta residents taking a course solely through distance learning with a WIL placement outside of Alberta). These students are advised to contact the program prior to application.

Students with disabilities who may require accommodations must schedule an appointment with Accessibility Services at Lethbridge College preferably upon acceptance to the program and no later than the Add/Drop deadline to identify potential impacts of their disabilities in the WIL setting. As part of this process, it may be necessary to collaborate with WIL supervisors to determine appropriate accommodations that do not compromise the health and safety of clients, essential placement requirements, or mandatory licensing processes. Failure to consult with Accessibility Services in a timely fashion may compromise the student's WIL placement and opportunities for success in the WIL setting.

In order to participate in a WIL, a student may be required to complete a Police Information Check or other type of Security Clearance to the satisfaction of Lethbridge College and the WIL organization. Completion of a WIL does not guarantee employment with a WIL organization. Many disciplines are provincially or otherwise regulated (e.g. health professions under Alberta's Health Professions Act); such regulation is beyond Lethbridge College's control. Completion of a WIL and graduation from a certain program do not guarantee one's licensure or admission into a regulatory body. Prospective students are encouraged to consult with a representative of the relevant regulatory body if they have concerns.

WIL sites will include Lethbridge and may include surrounding rural communities. WIL’s may include day, evening, and/or weekend schedules. Students will be expected to travel to assigned sites and will be responsible for arranging travel and any associated costs.

Applicants who lack the required academic admission requirements can apply to the Academic Upgrading program to upgrade their academic skills.


Upon successful completion of all requirements, students are awarded a diploma in Therapeutic Recreation - Gerontology.

Academic Year Tuition Fees Books & Supplies
Year 1 $3,195.00 $1,055.00 $1,700.00
Year 2 $3,420.00 $1,087.00 $1,200.00

Our Budget Wizard is a free self-service tool that can help you make sense of your finances and the cost of your education. Give it a try!

Budget Wizard

  • Costs for supplies may vary considerably depending on what students already have or where they purchased their supplies; cost provided is on the moderately high end.
  • Any fees for service by an off-site test proctor are the responsibility of the student.
  • Students will be charged a medical/dental benefit fee unless they opt out by demonstrating alternative coverage prior to the end of the first week of class.
  • Tuition for international students is $13,095 for Year 1 and $14,562 for Year 2. The cost of additional fees, books and supplies is the same for all students.

Set yourself apart

Our program isn’t your standard Therapeutic Recreation program. We’ve worked hard to set our program apart from others so you’ll stand out when you begin the job search. Here’s just a few of the reasons our program sets our grads apart from the rest.

Learn from educated, committed and passionate instructors: Our instructors have been where you are, they know the challenges and rewards, and they’re here to help you through those challenges and to celebrate in your successes. The relationships our instructors have with the provincial and national organizations can benefit you with networking and employment opportunities, access to experts in the field and information on the profession of therapeutic recreation as it continues to grow and evolve.

Attend class online: That’s right. As one of the only Therapeutic Recreation programs that is available online, you can complete our entire program from the comfort of your own home. Attend class in your pyjamas if you want – no one will know!

…or join us on campus: We also offer the traditional on-campus college education. Although the designated space for Therapeutic Recreation might be anything but traditional. Day-to-day learning on campus generally happens in our lab space, which features a kitchen, dining area, greenhouse, recreation space and a classroom with desks and whiteboards.

Hands-on, immersive learning

Get involved, get experience
Get involved, get experience

Community involvement enhances your education beyond the classroom.


Get involved, get experience

We encourage our students to get involved with the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) or their own provincial therapeutic recreation association, by attending monthly meetings and other events. It’s all on a voluntary basis, of course, but it’s a great way to connect with professionals, keep up with what’s happening in the industry and prepare for a seamless transition from student to professional.

Beyond encouraging you to be involved with ATRA, we’re always looking for ways to enhance your education and bring industry, community and you together. In May 2017, our students participated in a Drumming Facilitation event, which was a huge success. We continually look for and organize similar events that support the industry, our community and your experience as a student.

SPHERE: A learning environment like no other

Experience realistic health training made possible by on-campus and industry collaboration.


SPHERE: A learning environment like no other

The Simulated Patient Health Environment for Research and Education (SPHERE) helps to close the gap between theory and practice. What can you expect from your experience in SPHERE during your program?

Well, the simple answer is: anything you might encounter on the job.

The experiences students have during their programs range from communication-focused interactions with simulated patients to acute medical or surgical patients requiring more complex care. All the experiences in SPHERE are specific to your health profession and are aligned with what you are learning in the classroom.

SPHERE is an evolving learning environment primarily for students in the Centre for Health and Wellness that uses using high-tech manikins and role-playing. SPHERE provides a comprehensive range of health-related experiences to enhance your education and better prepare you for your future role.

SPHERE focuses on creating collaborative opportunities within the Centre for Health and Wellness, other campus programs and departments, as well as industry stakeholders. SPHERE strives to ensure all elements of realism are present in the experiences so students get to experience the most realistic experience.

Created in collaboration with programs to meet their specific needs, scenarios either use high-tech manikins or people to role-play the patient and family members. This level of simulation encourages students to treat/interact with a patient just as they would during a clinical experience.

For more information about SPHERE or experiences you’d have within your program please contact

Two practicums, hundreds of hours
Two practicums, hundreds of hours, invaluable experience

Your education isn't just about learning the job, it's about experiencing the job.


Two practicums, hundreds of hours, invaluable experience

Whether you’re taking the Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology program online or on campus, getting to experience the profession firsthand before you leave the program is an essential part of your education. During your program, you’ll participate in two practicums and other enhanced learning experiences that provide you with hands-on training. These are full-time, continuous experiences resembling the work you’ll do when you graduate.

You’ll be placed with a therapeutic recreation professional, working alongside him or her in a real-world setting. Placements are generally environments that will have you working with seniors (the gerontology focus of the program) and can include:

  • acute care hospital settings
  • community care
  • mental health centres
  • designated assistant living facilities
  • other types of senior care facilities

Practicums occur at the end of first year courses and at the end of second year courses. We offer two opportunities for practicum; one during the winter term and one in the summer term. The first practicum (TRG 1199) is 200 hours or five weeks in length. The second practicum (TRG 2299) is 320 hours or eight weeks in length.

ProTip: If you’re thinking of taking the program online, register for your practicum courses prior to Sept. 1 for a winter term placement and Jan. 1 for a summer term placement to ensure there is enough time for our Placement Office to arrange a practicum site. We also recommend contacting Career and Academic Advising at or the TRG program office at to develop a course load plan to complete the program. Online students should not take theory courses at the same time as practicum courses.

A student’s perspective

“I chose the Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology program because of that passion for helping people . . . I want to make life different for a senior.”

Therapeutic music making

Forty-six participants – including therapeutic recreation students, therapeutic recreation professionals and community members – came to campus in May to learn how to connect seniors to rhythm at a recreational therapist facilitator training program called Lulujam. This training, led by musical educator Lulu Leathley, has a scientifically-documented medical, emotional and even spiritual benefit and can bring seniors, clients and their families together. Participants learned skills and activities to promote participation in drumming, rhythmic body movements, auditory stimulation, playing musical instruments, singing and chanting – all with a therapeutic purpose.

“I was amazed at the active participation I saw by all who attended,” says Kathie Ervin, an instructor in the Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology program who called the workshop one of the most beneficial training programs she has been involved in. “After the workshop, I could see how this drumming/music making could be used with all ages and disabilities in therapeutic recreation services, and also how this could be used to build teamwork, collaboration and relationships of employees in any workplace.” Ervin adds that the Therapeutic Recreation – Gerontology program will explore future training with Leathley for students and practitioners.

– From Fall 2017 Wider Horizons

From here to there: alumni updates

Lethbridge College isn’t just a place to go to school – we’re a community that is here to support you from your initial interest in our program through to the moment you cross the stage at Convocation and beyond. Just take a look at where an LC education has taken some of our grads.

Reginald D. Ellet

“I have a lot of experience working in related health care employment. The college education in Therapeutic Recreation has provided me many opportunities in recreation therapy. I have a great job in my field here in Calgary and my boss, co-workers and residents in the nursing home treat me with kindness, respect and fairness. Thank you Lethbridge College for all that you have given me.”

– From Spring 2016 Wider Horizons

Lisa Blacquier-Rempel

"I now have a very rewarding job working as a therapy assistant in psychiatry on a unit in the Medicine Hat Hospital. I am continuously furthering my education and have become a proud advocate for the mentally ill."

– From Spring 2011 Wider Horizons

Megan Orr

“I was ready to walk into my job at Green Acres after college. The field work placements really prepared me for the job field. I loved my instructors and I still keep in contact with them. The education was awesome.”