CTRS: The Qualified Provider

CTRS: The Qualified Provider

A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist® (CTRS) is the qualified professional providing recreational therapy services.

The CTRS is a certified recreational therapist who has demonstrated professional competence by acquiring a specific body of knowledge and passing the NCTRC exam. The CTRS employs a scope of practice that is based upon theoretical constructs and applied methodology, and addresses a wide range of disabling conditions and illnesses. In practice, CTRSs apply this critical set of competencies and skill toward the total person and the life factors that are associated with a specific disability or illness. The CTRS often serves as a member of the treatment team in concert with other healthcare professionals, significantly contributing to the effectiveness and efficiency of patient care and service outcomes.

The CTRS designation is the unifying credential for recreational therapists throughout the United States, Canada, and 13 other countries with approximately 19,000 Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (who hold active, inactive, or eligible for re-entry status) in the NCTRC registry.

What is Recreational Therapy?

Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being. The purpose of the RT process is to improve or maintain physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual functioning in order to facilitate full participation in life.

Why Certification is essential

In today’s demanding employment market, NCTRC certification indicates to employers and the public that the CTRS has met the educational, experiential and professional requirements necessary to be a qualified provider of recreational therapy services. Only individuals who have met the specific qualifications to become certified by NCTRC can use the CTRS designation.

Certification is important because:

  • The CTRS credential provides a level of protection for consumers of RT services.
  • The CTRS designation has been established for nearly 35 years as the most recognized credential within the field of recreational therapy.
  • The demonstrated competencies of a CTRS effectively impact system outcomes of patient care.
  • Federal agencies and national regulatory and accreditation organizations recognize the CTRS as the benchmark credential for recreational therapists.
  • Certification provides guidance to employers about qualifications.
  • NCTRC Certification elevates the status and value of RT services in the eyes of the public, regulators and employment sectors.

CTRS Professional Profile

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists work with a wide spectrum of client populations within a diversity of service settings from hospitals and nursing facilities, to community parks and recreation and residential settings. The majority of CTRSs are employed by private (non-government) healthcare systems. Recent research suggests that nearly 70% of CTRSs are either required or encouraged by their employer to maintain their credential. The CTRS credential serves as the basic requirement for state licensure and is the qualifying criterion within many state personnel systems. NCTRC’s credentialing program is accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the most recognized accrediting body within healthcare.
Download: CTRS Professional Profile brochure