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NCTRC provides a wide range of professional services to ensure both the quality of the CTRS credential and protection of the consumer.

Professional Eligibility

This service includes the review and processing of new applicants for professional eligibility with NCTRC. NCTRC receives approximately 1,500 new applications for professional eligibility each year. About 95% of the new applications are received from graduates with an academic major or option in therapeutic recreation and within 12 months of the applicant’s graduation. More

CTRS Annual Maintenance

Each year of the five-year certification cycle, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) must submit an annual maintenance application and fee. The annual maintenance application and fee are due by the certificant’s expiration date. More

CTRS Recertification

Each CTRS is required to recertify every five years. In order to recertify, the CTRS must chose one of two options from the NCTRC Recertification Components.

The CTRS submits a recertification application to demonstrate completion of these continuing competence requirements along with the annual maintenance fee. More

Specialization Areas

Individual CTRSs who have extensive experience and expertise in a given area of TR practice are eligible to apply for NCTRC Specialization Areas. The attainment of advanced knowledge and skill is acquired via several methods including education programs, training focused upon specific skills or diagnostic populations, and the successful acquisition of expert skills that have been mastered over a substantial period of practice. The primary purpose of NCTRC Specialization Areas is to acknowledge the CTRS whose practice has reached an advanced professional level, and to provide formal recognition of competence beyond the CTRS credential. Applicants who have met the specific requirements may apply for specialization at any time during the certification cycle. More


NCTRC provides a process which allows individuals whose certification recently expired to qualify for eligibility to take the NCTRC CTRS certification examination without needing to meet the current educational and experiential requirements for initial certification. Reentry certification eligibility is limited to those candidates who were CTRS certified within two years prior to their application for reentry and who successfully complete the CTRS certification examination within the two year window immediately following expiration of their CTRS certification. More

Certification Exam

NCTRC has offered an international standardized certification exam for therapeutic recreation since 1990. The NCTRC Exam is based on the NCTRC Job Analysis Study of the Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, that assures the test specifications and the exam are related to the practice of therapeutic recreation. Since 1990, NCTRC has tested over 30,000 professionals. About 2,000 candidates sit for the exam each year as either a new applicant for CTRS certification or to complete CTRS recertification and reentry requirements. More

Verification and Monitoring Services

NCTRC provides verification of CTRS credentials to employers and consumers on a continuous basis. In addition, NCTRC has an active program to monitor adherence to the certification standards and to take disciplinary action as required. Disciplinary and misrepresentation complaints are received through the employer verification system, by self-report of certified individuals, and by complaint from professionals or consumers related to therapeutic recreation practice. More