Job Titles vs. Certification Trademarks

Job Titles vs. Certification Trademarks

What do the certification credentials “CTRS®” and “Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist®” signify to employers and consumers of recreational therapy services?

These specialized designations inform consumers and employers that the CTRS has met the standards for professional practice, as identified by NCTRC. The credential also indicates that the individual has been authorized (licensed) by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification® (“NCTRC®”) to use these credentials.

NCTRC has worked hard to ensure that employers and agencies recognize the CTRS® and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist® credentials. Unfortunately, NCTRC is now seeing an increase in unauthorized uses of these marks in job titles. When these credentials are used as job descriptions and titles, this directly infringes upon NCTRC’s trademarks. This is true even if the job is performed by anNCTRC certificant. It is impossible to distinguish between authorized uses of these credentials by certified personnel and unauthorized uses by agencies and employers in job titles for positions that are not necessarily held by NCTRC certificants.

Agencies and employers should not identify job positions as CTRS® and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist®. In a nutshell, these designations are certification credentials, not job titles. Although certification by NCTRC may be a requirement for a recreational therapy position, the position’s title should never be the actual NCTRC credential.

Job Titles in Therapeutic Recreation

The title “Recreational Therapist” is identified in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook. Use of the “Recreational Therapist” job title, whenever possible, could also help to ensure that recreational
therapy is recognized as a separate and distinct field of practice.

Trademark Protection

In order to protect NCTRC’s valuable trademarks (and to protect consumers of RT services) every use of NCTRC’s certification marks “CTRS®” and “Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist®” must be authorized by NCTRC. All designated NCTRC trademarks are registered at the national level within the United States and Canada, as well as within all 50 U.S. states. Currently, NCTRC only approves the uses of these marks to indicate certification. Potentially confusing similar designations should also be avoided. NCTRC has observed potentially confusing similar designations used by non-certified individuals who wish to imply that they are certified by NCTRC. Such use may be confusing and harmful to consumers. Potentially confusing similar designation also risk diluting NCTRC’s valuable trademark rights.

If you have any questions about how to use your certification credential, please do not hesitate to contact NCTRC. Thank you for your assistance in protecting NCTRC’s valuable trademark rights.