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Therapeutic Recreation Assistant Program Added to PCC Human Services Department

Kristina Cudney, left, will coordinate PCC's new Therapeutic Recreation Assistant program, which is part of the college's Human Services Department chaired by Dr. Ray Taylor, right.WINTERVILLE—The Public Services and Fine Arts Division at Pitt Community College is launching a new program this month for students interested in pursuing careers in the field of therapeutic recreation.

According to Dr. Ray Taylor, chairman of the PCC Human Services Department, the college received approval from the N.C. Community College System this spring to offer a two-year Therapeutic Recreation Assistant (TRA) curriculum. He added that PCC and Morganton’s Western Piedmont Community College are the only community colleges in North Carolina to offer a TRA program.

“Pitt Community College started the Therapeutic Recreation Assistant program in response to current and anticipated trends in health care,” Taylor said. “We considered a number of additional factors as well, including the need to control rising health care costs, increased demand for therapeutic recreation services, and the desire by employing agencies to develop a workforce with TRA credentials.”

Kristina Cudney will coordinate PCC’s newest curriculum. A Licensed Recreational Therapist, she gained extensive clinical experience while working with Greenville’s Walter B. Jones Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center the past seven years.

“We are very excited to have Kristina join the Human Services Department at PCC,” Taylor said. “I feel strongly that our students will benefit greatly from the knowledge she can provide them after having been involved with a wide variety of clinical experiences, including HeartMath biofeedback, risk management assessment, programming for cancer survivors, and outreach programs for military veterans and their families.”

Though it is part of the Human Services Department at PCC, Taylor stressed that the new TRA program is not a Human Services Technology (HST) degree. “The HST curriculum is much broader with general applications of helping relationships with a variety of individuals,” he said.

TRA coursework, Taylor said, includes teaching students how to facilitate universal activities that are adaptive and inclusive, including ropes courses, creative arts and watersports. He said students would also learn how to lead and assist with recreational therapy sessions that involve social skills utilization, team building, problem solving and leisure education for people with disabilities and their families.

Depending upon which elective students choose as part of their coursework, Taylor said they must complete 69-70 credits in order to earn an associate degree from the program.

Graduates of the TRA program may seek certification from the N.C. Board of Recreational Therapy Licensure, Taylor said, adding that jobs could be found in group homes, psychiatric and mental health agencies, retirement facilities, agencies serving individuals with development disabilities, hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.

For additional information on the TRA program at Pitt, contact Cudney by e-mail at kcudney@email.pittcc.edu.