Frequently Asked Questions - Internship in Therapeutic Recreation

Q: When is a student eligible for the internship course?

A: An acceptable internship must be completed after all required therapeutic recreation, support, and elective coursework is completed.  Students must follow their Program Planning Guide and eligibility requirements as per the UofL Academic Calendar.

Q: How long is the internship?

A: The internship experience will take place over a 15-week period. The total minimum number of required hours is 560.

Q: How do students select their internship sites?

A: With the assistance of the internship coordinator and internship specialist (Marina Christman), students will select potential internship sites and may or may not be asked to make initial contact with the agency. Students are encouraged to research and look into potential sites in their local area (though we cannot guarantee students find a placement in their preferred area and may need to relocate).  Placement sites and preceptors have to meet course requirements and will be vetted by the Internship Coordinator.  Once an internship agreement is complete, the student submits the agreement form to the academic supervisor for final approval.

Q: When may students look for internship sites?

A: Students are encouraged to begin researching possible internship sites once they have completed 10 courses or 30 credits.

Q: Who qualifies as a site/agency supervisor?

A: According to NCTRC, an acceptable internship must have one (1) identified primary supervisor. The primary supervisor is responsible for working with the student on a consistent basis, coordinates all other secondary supervision and completes all evaluation materials and weekly reports pertaining to the internship experience. Individuals must have had their CTRS credential for one year minimum to supervise. You can go to and place the supervisor’s last name there and see if they have had their credential for 1 year.

Q: Can students get paid for their internship?

A: Typically, the internship is unpaid. The agency is not required to arrange living quarters for students or defray student living expenses while they are engaged in the internship; however, there are some that may partially cover expenses or allow for a stipend to be given to the student. Students are also responsible for parking, transportation, insurance, and other costs associated with the role.

Q: How will students be evaluated and graded?

A: Students will receive a pass/fail upon completion of their internship experience. The grade will be based on the agency supervisor’s evaluation and satisfactory completion of assignments. Students are required to achieve a minimum final GPA greater than 2.5 in order to attain credit for TREC 4550.

Q: Can students complete an international internship?

A: Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and submit a Letter of Intent written by the student about why they are interested in this experience, 3 Letters of References (supervisors, employers, faculty, etc.), and have an interview with the Internship Coordinator (and potentially other faculty). *Students looking to do an international placement must communicate this with the internship coordinator between 8-12 months in advance of their expected internship. Required documentation (letter of intent, reference letters, etc.) must be submitted to the internship coordinator no later than 7 months before the expected start of the internship.

Q: Can students complete a non-CTRS placement?

A: Yes, however, if a student is looking to do a non-CTRS placement, it is important to remember that this means you will not qualify to become a CTRS through NCTRC’s academic pathway. A non-CTRS supervisor still needs to meet certain criteria: 50% of their job is in the TR process; they have an undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation or a related program; they work over 30 hours a week; they have worked as a recreation therapist for over a year; they can supervise the student for the full 15 weeks, 560 hours; and they are willing to do an interview with the internship coordinator to ensure a placement with them meets course requirements. Students must communicate with the internship coordinator if they are seeking a non-CTRS placement and are required to sign a waiver pertaining to this decision.

Q: Can students complete a virtual placement?

A: The internship is expected to be in person and to follow the format that the site supervisor primarily works (i.e., if they provide in-person TR services, students are expected to follow this same format). However, in some instances, it may be appropriate for a student to complete a virtual internship. For a student to qualify for a virtual internship, the following pre-requisites must be met: Have a minimum of 5000 hours of paid work experience as a recreation therapist (must provide proof of the hours worked in the role and that the experience used the TR process – job description/employment letter or equivalent); have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5; provide 3 reference letters (1 from employer, 1 academic, 1 recreation manager/supervisor/practice lead); provide a letter of intent (i.e., why you are looking for a virtual placement versus in person); and have an interview with the internship coordinator (if requested). The potential site supervisor must also meet certain criteria: have an undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation or equivalent (Note – for this to be a CTRS placement, the supervisor must be a CTRS); be able to demonstrate in-person experience in the field; at least 50% of their job utilizes the TR process; willing to have an interview with the internship coordinator to ensure course requirements can be met through the placement; and their normal/typical duties are virtual. Just like any internship, the student is expected to follow the hours and format that the supervisor works; thus, students cannot request a virtual placement from a supervisor who provides TR services in an in-person/hands-on format. A virtual placement means that the supervisor already offers their TR services in a primarily virtual format. *Students looking to do a virtual placement must communicate this with the internship coordinator no less than 5 months in advance of their expected internship and provide the necessary documentation (i.e., letter of intent, reference letters, etc.) no later than 4 months prior to the expected start of the internship.