Education, Consulting & Mentorship for Aging Service Professionals


10 Certifications You Can Add To Your Recreation Therapy Skillset

Recreation Therapists are expected to be a Jack (or Jill) of all trades. We need to have an understanding of a variety of leisure pursuits, to ensure our clients’ needs are being met in the best way possible. I have been asked so many times and have seen on many sites ‘What certifications can I get to expand my scope?’ or something similar.
Here is a list of certifications/courses/certificate programs to expand your scope of services. Remember, some certifications might be more applicable to specific populations or job descriptions. There is MUCH more than these 10 ten listed, so please COMMENT & SHARE your knowledge with other professionals to showcase what can be added to the list!

1. Activity Professional Board Certification (AP-BC)

This certification is specific to those interested in working with geriatrics. The NAAPCC has created a federal board certification for those looking to work in long term care within an activities/recreation department. This certification ensures you are aware of all federal regulations for LTC facilities and the scope of services you need to provide residents in this setting. For information on how to obtain this certification please visit

2. Certified Adaptive Recreation & Sports Specialist (CARSS)

The CARSS certification is available through Blaze Sports of America. This certification is great for anyone working in adaptive sports, recreation programming, camp settings, schools and more. The core content of this certification is to understand disability laws, risk management and injury prevention, program planning and more. There are two levels to the certification and can be found by visiting

3. ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)
(Note: 21 credits in exercise science is required for cert)

If you have an undergraduate degree in kinesiology or minored in a exercise science along with your recreation therapy courses, this certification would be great to add to your wheel house. ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologists® take training to an advanced level by conducting and interpreting physical fitness assessments and developing exercise prescriptions for people who are healthy or have medically controlled diseases. For full information on how to obtain this certification visit

4.Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT)

It seems there are various ways to become a yoga teacher, but the one that comes up the most and seems to be the most reliable source of information is from the Yoga Alliance. To complete the RYT, you need to find a yoga studio in your area to study under a certified instructor for 200 hours of training. This certification is a nationally recognized credential in the world of yoga and showcases your understanding of the minimum standards of yoga training. For more information visit

5. Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. The training helps you identify, understand and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses. This course focuses on adults and/or children. To find a class near you visit

6. Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP)

This certification isn’t directly related to recreation, but it is a credential that many who work in nonprofit settings can utilize to their advantage to obtain director and/or management roles. Understanding the inner workings of how nonprofit agencies work is key to providing quality programming in any setting. The CNP is require a bachelors degree, documented leadership experience, and knowledge in core competencies such as diversity, fundraising and volunteer management. These courses can be taken completely online, and if you feel you are already knowledgeable in these areas you can opt to take the exam to test out of the course! For more information on the CNP visit

7. AAMSE Certified Practitioner (Multi-Sensory Environments)

AAMSE-Certified Practitioners are trained in how to utilize and transform the power of positive feelings, emotions, and sensations for healing and development. A two-day introductory course is designed to provide parents, caregivers, teachers, and practitioners with a basic understanding of the power of MSEs for relaxing people who have anxiety and energizing people who are depressed secondary to a variety of diagnoses. Learners will gain an understanding of how personally preferred physical and social environments provide emotionally self-regulating influences that can be used in treatment to support new learning throughout the lifespan. You will have to pass an online examination to become certified. For more information visit

8. Ageless Grace Educator

Ageless Grace consists of 21 Simple Tools of Lifelong Comfort and Ease – activating all 5 areas of the brain and all addressing 21 primary “aging factors” of the body.  The 4-hour Seminar is to gain an understanding and knowledge of how and why the 21 Tools for Lifelong Comfort and Ease work, how to practice them on your own, and how to develop a daily habit of practicing 10 minutes of the tools for on-going development of neuroplasticity. The 13.5-hour Certification is specifically designed for those who want to be a Certified Ageless Grace Educator and be able to teach group classes or private one-on-ones with clients and students. To find a training seminar near you visit

9. Motivational Interviewing

(MI) is a form of collaborative conversation for strengthening a person’s own motivation and commitment to change. It is a person-centered counseling style for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change by paying particular attention to the language of change. It is designed to strengthen an individual’s motivation for and movement toward a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s own reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion. This 4-hour course allows you a more comprehensive skill set of counseling and motivational talking points with clients. For more information visit

10. Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP)

The CDP® certification represents that the front line staff and health care professional has received comprehensive knowledge in the area of dementia care,  achievement  in completing the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care course /seminar,  met the NCCDP requirements for CDP® certification, applied for the CDP® certification and received the CDP® certification. To become a CDP there are various tracks to certification but all require the NCCDP Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Seminar. To find a seminar and your track to certification visit

There are many for certifications, courses, classes, workshops that can be added to enhance your skill set in the recreation field. Whether it be in a specific population, a certain recreation endeavor, or even to obtain higher status within your agency/nonprofit organization. Your learning never needs to cease!

This list does NOT include various degree programs that can go along with recreation therapy training, nor is this list comprehensive to include ALL certifications we could acquire.

What certifications are you thinking about obtaining? Do any of these ideas interest you!? Comment your thoughts!

Recommended Articles


  1. This is phenomenal! Essential oils/aromatherapy and ROM dance training are also ideas we can explore and use often in practice.
    I wish more resources were available in Montreal Canada ☹️ but hey, I guess I can find out how to bring them here.

    1. Hi Emily! I do not know if they are approved by NCTRC – you can always call and they will let you know! Thank you for following What The Rec!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.