Kind reader, are you familiar with the role of a certified therapeutic recreational specialist? A certified therapeutic recreational specialist is a professional who designs and implements recreational activities and programs that aim to improve the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning of individuals with disabilities or illnesses. This specialist works with clients of all ages and backgrounds, including those with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses, and physical impairments. With their expertise in therapeutic recreation, they help individuals achieve their goals and enhance their overall quality of life.
What is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist?
A Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) is an individual who provides recreational therapy services to people with disabilities or illnesses. CTRSs work with individuals across the lifespan and provide services in various settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and community recreation centers. CTRSs can help individuals improve physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning by using recreational activities as a form of therapy.
To become a CTRS, individuals must obtain a bachelor’s degree in recreational therapy from an accredited university. They must also complete a supervised internship and pass the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam. To maintain their certification, CTRSs must participate in continuing education and ongoing professional development activities.
Benefits of Working with a CTRS
Working with a CTRS can have numerous benefits for individuals with disabilities or illnesses. According to the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), recreational therapy can improve physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning, promote independence and self-determination, and enhance overall quality of life. CTRSs can also help individuals with disabilities or illnesses learn new skills, participate in new activities, and develop community connections.
Recreational Therapy Techniques Used by CTRSs
CTRSs use a variety of techniques to provide recreational therapy services to individuals with disabilities or illnesses. Some of the techniques they use include:
CTRSs may use sensory stimulation techniques to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve sensory processing and integration. This can include activities such as art therapy, music therapy, and tactile stimulation activities.
CTRSs may use physical activity to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve physical functioning and overall health. This can include activities such as exercise programs, adaptive sports, and outdoor recreation programs.
CTRSs may use socialization techniques to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve social skills and build connections with others. This can include activities such as group outings, team-building activities, and community events.
CTRSs may use emotional expression techniques to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve emotional regulation and expression. This can include activities such as drama therapy, pet therapy, and guided imagery activities.
Education and Training
CTRSs may use education and training techniques to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses learn new skills and develop independence. This can include activities such as vocational training, life skills programs, and educational workshops.
CTRSs may use leisure education techniques to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses explore new leisure activities and develop lifelong leisure skills. This can include activities such as hobby groups, book clubs, and cultural events.
CTRSs may use cognitive stimulation techniques to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve cognitive functioning and memory. This can include activities such as puzzle games, reminiscence therapy, and brain games.
Certification Process for Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist
Becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) involves completing certain educational and clinical requirements, in addition to passing the certification examination. The certification process is administered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), the organization that sets standards for and oversees the certification of recreational therapists in the United States.
Individuals who wish to become a CTRS must first complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in therapeutic recreation or a related field from an accredited college or university. The coursework must cover the specific knowledge areas outlined by the NCTRC, such as anatomy and physiology, assessment and documentation, human growth and development, and theories of therapeutic recreation.
Following completion of the educational requirements, individuals must also complete at least 480 hours of supervised clinical work experience through a NCTRC-approved internship program or other clinical placement.
After completing the educational and clinical requirements, individuals must pass the NCTRC certification examination, which tests knowledge and skills expected of a therapeutic recreational specialist. The examination consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering various topics, such as assessment and evaluation, documentation, treatment planning and implementation, and professional responsibilities and ethics.
The examination is computer-based and administered at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the United States. Exam preparation resources and study materials are available through the NCTRC website, as well as other sources, such as study guides and review courses.
After earning the CTRS credential, individuals must maintain their certification through ongoing professional development and continuing education. CTRSs must renew their certification every five years by completing at least 50 hours of continuing education and submitting a renewal application and fee to the NCTRC.
Additionally, CTRSs must adhere to the NCTRC’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, which outline the professional responsibilities and ethical standards expected of recreational therapists in their practice.
How to Become a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist
Becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) requires completing a specific educational and training program and passing the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam. Here are the steps to become a CTRS:
First, you must obtain a bachelor’s or higher degree in recreational therapy or a related field from an accredited university. Coursework should include subjects such as anatomy, physiology, psychology, and recreational therapy theory and practice.
After completing your coursework, you must complete a 14-week internship, where you’ll gain hands-on experience working in a therapeutic recreation setting under the supervision of a CTRS. The internship can be completed in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, or community centers.
NCTRC Certification Exam
Once you’ve completed your educational and internship requirements, you’re eligible to take the NCTRC certification exam. The exam consists of 185 multiple-choice questions and covers five major domains: assessment, treatment planning, implementation and documentation, management of therapeutic recreation services, and professional responsibilities and ethics.
You’ll need to score at least 70% on the exam to become a CTRS. If you don’t pass on your first attempt, you can retake the exam multiple times. Once you pass the exam, you’ll be certified as a CTRS and can begin practicing as a recreational therapist.
Continuing Education Requirements
To maintain your CTRS certification, you’ll need to complete continuing education units (CEUs) every five years. CEUs can be earned by attending conferences, workshops, or online courses related to recreational therapy.
It’s important to keep up with your continuing education requirements to stay current with the latest developments and best practices in the field of recreational therapy.
CTRS Certification and Requirements
Obtaining a CTRS certification entails completing a Bachelor’s degree program that focuses on therapeutic recreation or an allied profession, upon which one must pass the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam to become a certified therapeutic recreation specialist.
The Bachelor’s degree program one must complete to become a certified therapeutic recreation specialist involves courses on anatomy, physiology, sociology, psychology, gerontology, disabilities, program planning, and evaluation. This program typically features a practicum, which trains students on how to work with clients with varying challenges. The practicum allows CTRS certification candidates to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations working with clients.
NCTRC Exam Requirements
The NCTRC exam intended for CTRS certification candidates covers five main areas: assessment, documentation, implementation, intervention, and professionalism. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions, and at least 70% of the questions must be answered correctly to pass. Upon passing this exam, an individual becomes a certified therapeutic recreation specialist and can use the CTRS credential.
Note that maintaining the CTRS certification requires ongoing professional development and cooperating with the NCTRC’s continuing education program. Also, it is essential to adhere to the ethical standards of practice of the National Therapeutic Recreation Society (NTRS).
CTRS Continuing Education Requirements
To maintain their CTRS certification, specialists must satisfy the NCTRC’s continuing education requirements (CERs) – taking non-credit courses or participating in professional development programs. CTRS members are expected to complete 50 CERs every five years, with at least ten of them being EBP CERs. EBP stands for Evidenceâ€“Based Practice, signifying courses, workshops, lectures, or other professional development activities approved by NCTRC that incorporate the latest research in therapeutic recreation.
Certified therapeutic recreation specialists must also document their professional development activities to maintain certifications effectively. If a CTRS cannot complete the CER requirements, their certification status can be placed on hold, or they can lose their certification entirely.
After earning CTRS certification, an individual may attain additional specialized credentials in many areas such as behavioral health, developmental disabilities, geriatrics, community inclusion services, and physical rehabilitation. These credentials require additional coursework and hands-on training, but they can significantly improve one’s prospects for professional advancement and career growth.
Skills and Qualifications of a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist
Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialists, or CTRSs, have two primary areas of expertise: therapeutic recreation and recreation therapy. They are trained professionals who use recreational activities to help people with illnesses or disabilities lead more fulfilling lives, and to improve their overall health and well-being. In order to become a CTRS, a person must complete a degree program in Therapeutic Recreation and pass the certification examination administered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
The NCTRC creates and maintains the standards for certification as a CTRS. These standards are based on the latest research and best practices in the field of therapeutic recreation. The certification examination is designed to test a person’s knowledge of the theoretical principles and practical skills of therapeutic recreation.
Skills and abilities of a CTRS
A CTRS is an expert at assessing the needs and interests of clients, developing customized treatment plans, and delivering therapeutic recreational services. They have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, and are able to work effectively with individuals or groups of clients.
In addition, a CTRS must possess knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, as well as the psychological and social aspects of disability and illness. They must be skilled at adapting recreational activities to meet the needs of clients with varying levels of disability, and be able to create safe environments for their clients.
Qualifications of a CTRS
To become a CTRS, a person must first complete a degree program in Therapeutic Recreation, or a related field such as Recreation Therapy. There are over 80 colleges and universities in the United States that offer degree programs in therapeutic recreation.
After completing a degree program, a person must take the certification examination administered by the NCTRC. In order to be eligible to take the exam, a person must have completed the degree program and have at least 480 hours of supervised practical experience in the field of therapeutic recreation.
Once a person has passed the examination, they may use the designation of CTRS. However, in order to maintain their certification, they must engage in ongoing professional development and continuing education.
Steps to Becoming a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist
To become a certified therapeutic recreational specialist, professionals need to meet specific educational and professional criteria presented by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).
The first step in becoming a certified therapeutic recreational specialist is to get a bachelor’s degree or higher in therapeutic recreation, recreation and leisure studies, or a related field. This degree must be from an accredited institution.
Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field must complete specific courses in therapeutic recreation to be eligible for certification.
Graduate degrees can enhance employment opportunities for therapeutic recreation specialists; thus, they are encouraged but not required.
After individuals have acquired their educational degrees in therapeutic recreation, they must fulfill specific professional requirements to sit for the certification exam.
Individuals must have completed a supervised 14- to 15-week internship, with at least 560 hours of practical experience in therapeutic recreation service. The internship must be completed within five years of the certification application.
The NCTRC requires that applicants hold a current CPR and First Aid certification.
The certification exam comprises 185 multiple-choice questions and has a 3-hour duration. Individuals must receive a passing score of 70% or higher to become certified as therapeutic recreational specialists.
Continuing education is an integral component of certification for therapeutic recreational specialists.
Certified therapeutic recreational specialists need to participate in continuing education activities, comprising 50 hours of approved continuing education every five years.
The NCTRC provides an electronic system that enables certified individuals to track their professional development activities.
|Bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation, recreation and leisure studies, or a related field
|Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field must complete specific courses in therapeutic recreation to be eligible for certification
|Graduate degrees are encouraged but not required
|Completed a supervised 14- to 15-week internship with at least 560 hours of practical experience
|Hold a current CPR and First Aid certification
|Passing score of 70% or higher on the certification exam
|Participate in continuing education activities comprising 50 hours every five years
Job Opportunities for Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist
There is an increasing demand for certified therapeutic recreational specialist in various settings from clinical settings to community rehabilitation centers. Typically, the certified therapeutic recreational specialist works in healthcare facilities, substance abuse centers, mental health centers, hospitals, long-term living facilities, correctional facilities, and schools. Besides, recreational therapists can work for personal care services, the Federal government, and nursing homes.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for recreational therapists is projected to increase by 8 percent from 2020 to 2030, due to the aging population, which is likely to require therapeutic recreation services. Furthermore, public interest in using recreation to maintain overall health and well-being is expected to increase. The median annual wage for recreational therapists was $49,730 in May 2020, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $31,810, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $81,710.
Top Employers of Recreational Therapists
|Top Employers of Recreational Therapists
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
|Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)
|Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals
|State, Local, and Private Educational Services
|Individual and Family Services
Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist FAQ
Welcome to the Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist FAQ! Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about becoming a certified therapeutic recreational specialist.
1. What is a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist?
A Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist, or CTRS, is a healthcare professional who uses recreational activities to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning. CTRSs work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, and community agencies.
2. How can I become a CTRS?
To become a CTRS, you need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation, pass a national certification exam, and complete an internship or work experience under the supervision of a CTRS. For more information, please visit the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) website.
3. What areas do CTRSs specialize in?
CTRSs can specialize in a variety of areas such as geriatrics, pediatrics, mental health, physical rehabilitation, and community recreation. They can also work with individuals who have specific needs such as spinal cord injuries, autism, or developmental disabilities.
4. What are the benefits of working with a CTRS?
Working with a CTRS can help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning. CTRSs can also help individuals regain their independence, develop new skills, increase their confidence and self-esteem, and improve their overall quality of life.
5. What kinds of activities do CTRSs use?
CTRSs use a variety of activities such as arts and crafts, music therapy, sports and games, horticulture therapy, and outdoor recreation. They also design activities based on the individual needs and interests of their clients.
6. Can CTRSs work with individuals of all ages?
Yes, CTRSs can work with individuals of all ages, from children to seniors. They can also work with individuals with a range of disabilities and illnesses.
7. What skills do I need to become a CTRS?
To become a CTRS, you need to have good communication skills, strong interpersonal skills, creativity, and compassion. You also need to be able to design and implement programs that meet the individual needs and interests of your clients.
8. How much do CTRSs make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for recreational therapists, which includes CTRSs, was $48,220 as of May 2020. The salary can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and work setting.
9. Does every state require CTRS certification?
No, not every state requires CTRS certification to work as a recreational therapist. However, many employers prefer or require CTRS certification for their employees.
10. What kind of licensure or certification is needed to become a CTRS?
To become a CTRS, you need to pass the national certification exam administered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Once you pass the exam, you will be eligible to apply for CTRS certification. Please visit the NCTRC website for more information.
11. How long does it take to become a CTRS?
The time it takes to become a CTRS can vary depending on the individual. In general, it can take four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation, six years to earn a master’s degree, and six to twelve months to complete an internship or work experience. It can also take several months to prepare for and pass the national certification exam.
12. What is the difference between a CTRS and other healthcare professionals?
A CTRS uses recreational activities to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses improve their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning, while other healthcare professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists focus on specific areas of functioning.
13. Can CTRSs work in schools?
Yes, CTRSs can work in schools as part of the special education team to help students with disabilities or illnesses participate in recreational activities. They can also work in after-school programs, summer camps, and community agencies that provide services to children and adolescents.
14. Can CTRSs work in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities?
Yes, CTRSs can work in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities to help residents participate in recreational activities and improve their overall quality of life.
15. What is the role of a CTRS in mental health settings?
In mental health settings, CTRSs work with individuals with mental illnesses to help them improve their physical, emotional, and social functioning through recreational activities. They can also help individuals build coping skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance their sense of well-being.
16. Can CTRSs work in hospitals?
Yes, CTRSs can work in hospital settings to help patients with disabilities or illnesses participate in recreational activities and improve their physical, emotional, and social functioning. They can also help patients stay engaged and motivated during their recovery process.
17. What is the role of a CTRS in physical rehabilitation settings?
In physical rehabilitation settings, CTRSs work with individuals who have suffered a physical injury or illness to improve their physical functioning and help them regain their independence. They can also help individuals set and achieve functional goals and build self-confidence and self-esteem.
18. Can CTRSs work in community recreation programs?
Yes, CTRSs can work in community recreation programs such as parks and recreation departments, YMCAs, and Boys and Girls Clubs to help individuals with disabilities or illnesses participate in recreational activities.
19. What is the Code of Ethics for CTRSs?
The Code of Ethics for CTRSs outlines the ethical standards and guidelines that CTRSs must follow in their professional role. It includes principles such as confidentiality, professional competence, and respect for individual dignity and rights.
20. What is the difference between NCTRC and ATRA?
The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is a national credentialing organization that administers the certification exam and grants certification to qualified individuals. The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is a professional organization that provides resources, education, and advocacy for recreational therapists.
21. What kind of continuing education is required for CTRSs?
CTRSs are required to complete a certain amount of continuing education credits every five years to maintain certification. These credits can be earned through workshops, conferences, online courses, and other approved training activities.
22. Can CTRSs work with individuals with terminal illnesses?
Yes, CTRSs can work with individuals with terminal illnesses to help them maintain their quality of life through recreational activities such as art and music therapy, reminiscence therapy, and life review activities.
23. Can CTRSs work with individuals in the military?
Yes, CTRSs can work with individuals in the military to help them improve their physical, emotional, and social functioning through recreational activities. They can also help military veterans with disabilities participate in therapeutic recreation programs.
24. How can I find a CTRS in my area?
You can search for CTRSs in your area through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) website or by contacting local healthcare facilities and community agencies that offer therapeutic recreation services.
25. What kind of facilities hire CTRSs?
CTRSs can be hired by a variety of facilities such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, schools, community agencies, parks and recreation departments, and military and veteran affairs facilities.
Learn about the skills required to become a certified therapeutic recreational specialist and the benefits of pursuing a career in this field.
Thank You For Joining Me, Kind Reader
I hope you have found this article to be informative and helpful in understanding what a certified therapeutic recreational specialist does. Remember that these individuals play a crucial role in helping people with disabilities and other challenges to improve their quality of life and achieve their goals. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me. And be sure to check back with us soon for more engaging and inspiring content. Thank you for your time and interest, and I look forward to seeing you again soon!