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


Applicants may apply for professional eligibility review using the academic path option after completion of the following conditions:
1. Enrollment in a baccalaureate degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university with a major in (a) therapeutic recreation (recreation therapy); (b) recreation or leisure with an option in therapeutic recreation; (c) therapeutic recreation, recreation, or leisure in combination with other fields of study (e.g., Therapeutic Recreation and Health Studies; Recreation and Sport Management; Leisure and Tourism); and (d) a major in another field of study with a concentration/emphasis/sub-plan/option/minor/certificate in recreation therapy/therapeutic recreation.

2. Completion of a minimum of 90 credit hours toward degree attainment.

3. Therapeutic Recreation Content Courses: A minimum of 18 semester or 24 quarter credit hours of Recreation Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation (RT/TR) content coursework. A minimum of six (6) courses in RT/TR is required and each course must be a minimum of three (3) credit hours. Two (2) of the required RT/TR courses may be taught by the applicant as an educator in a college/university/academic program. Educators may not enroll in their own courses to meet certification requirements.

4. Supportive Courses: A total of 18 semester hours or 24 quarter hours of support coursework with 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.

5. Submission of an official academic transcript denoting the completion of the above requirements.

Applicants will be awarded the CTRS credential upon demonstration of the following:
1. Successful completion of the NCTRC exam.

2. Completion of a internship experience in accordance with NCTRC Standards:
A minimum 560-hour, 14 week internship experience in therapeutic recreation services that uses the therapeutic recreation 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. The agency supervisor must also possess the CTRS credential for one year prior to supervising an internship student. An acceptable internship experience is one which is completed after the majority of required therapeutic recreation coursework is completed as verified on the official transcript.

3. Academic degree attainment as documented by an official academic transcript.

Professional Eligibility Application

Online Submission