Academic Path

Academic Path

The Academic Path to Certification is designed for the traditional academic graduate.

Academic Path Overview

  1. Completion of Bachelor degree or higher with concentration in recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation) in addition to specific support coursework
  2. Completion of a minimum 14 week / 560 hour internship supervised by a CTRS
  3. Pass the NCTRC Certification Exam


Academic Degree

The Academic Path eligibility requirements to take the CTRS exam are a baccalaureate degree or higher from an accredited college or university with a major in recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation) or a major in recreation or leisure with an option in recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation). An official transcript must be submitted with the application that verifies the degree, major and coursework. A “major in therapeutic recreation” or “major in recreation with an option in therapeutic recreation” refers to the completion of a degree which includes the following:

Professional Content Coursework

A minimum of 18 semester or 24 quarter hours of recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation) and general recreation content coursework with no less than a minimum of 15 semester or 20 quarter hours in therapeutic recreation content.

  • A minimum of five (5) courses in recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation) is required and each course must be a minimum of three (3) credit hours. Two (2) of the required recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation) courses may be taught by the applicant as a full-time educator.
  • Content specific recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation) coursework is recommended as part of the NCTRC professional eligibility requirements. Specific course content in the following areas: a) Assessment; b) TR Process; and c) Advancement of the Profession is highly recommended but not required for eligibility.

Supportive Coursework

A total of 18 semester hours or 24 quarter hours of support coursework.

  • A minimum of: (i) three (3) semester hours or four (4) quarter hours coursework in the content area of anatomy and physiology; (ii) three (3) semester hours or four (4) quarter hours coursework in the content area of abnormal psychology; and (iii) three (3) semester hours or four (4) quarter hours coursework in the content area of human growth and development across the lifespan.
  • The remaining semester hours or quarter hours of coursework must be fulfilled in the content areas of social sciences and humanities.

Experience in RT Practice

A minimum 560-hour, fourteen (14) consecutive week internship experience in recreational therapy services that uses the recreational therapy process as defined by the current NCTRC Job Analysis Study, under the supervision of both academic and agency internship supervisors who are NCTRC CTRS certified. An acceptable internship experience is one which is completed after the majority of required recreational therapy (therapeutic recreation) and general recreation coursework is completed as verified on the official transcript.

Application Prior to Degree Completion

Applicants may apply for professional eligibility review after completion of the following conditions:

  1. Enrollment in a degree program pertaining to Recreation Therapy (Therapeutic Recreation) as defined by the current NCTRC standards.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 90 credit hours toward degree attainment.
  3. Completion of all required coursework other than the internship requirement, as defined by the current NCTRC standards.
  4. Submission of an official academic transcript denoting the completion of the above requirements.

Applicants completing this option of the Academic Path application process will be awarded NCTRC certification and the CTRS certificate upon demonstration of the following:

  1. Successful completion of the NCTRC exam.
  2. Completion of an internship experience in accordance with NCTRC Standards.
  3. Academic degree attainment as documented by an official academic transcript.

Please note: Applying through this process will require an additional $25.00 fee. The total application fee is $450.00 when submitting the Professional Eligibility Application.

Professional Eligibility Application

Download Printed Version (PDF) OR Online Submission