American Therapeutic Recreation Association

What is RT/TR?

Certification & Licensure

Credentialing is the process by which an agency grants recognition of compliance to recognized standards to individuals who have met stated qualifications. Credentialing programs develop when there is a need to define entry standards and assure compliance with these standards to protect the public, assist employers, and increase the credibility of the discipline.

It is highly encouraged that RT/TR professionals undergo the voluntary process of national credentialing. In fact, you will find that many employers will not hire practioners who have not obtained national certification (or in the case of new graduates, individuals who are in the process of obtaining certification). Certification in RT/TR is administered by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification® (NCTRC®). For more information on certification, please follow this link to NCTRC.

Licensure is a legal non-voluntary process regulated by state government.  This means that in states that have RT/TR licensure, you can not practice without a license. Currently, four states have RT/TR licensure laws and other states are in the process of creating legislation to achieve licensure in their state. For more information on the national effort to achieve RT/TR licensure, consult the Joint Task Force for Recreational Therapy Licensure

In addition to licensure, states may regulate the practice of RT/TR in other ways; California has Title Protection and Washington has Registration.

It is important that all practitioners in regulated states understand the laws governing RT/TR practice. Please follow the links below to the offices that administer state level licensure, registration, and title protection.

States with Licensure

New Hampshire

North Carolina




States with Other Regulations


California Title Protection  (scroll to Section 17505.2);  Also, see


Washington Registration

To learn more about certification and licensure, view the following webinars:

  • 2014 Webinar Series D: Professional Issues 
  • 2010 Webinar Series B: Professional Issues
  • 2011 Webinar Series C: Professional Issues
  • 2012 Webinar Series D: Professional Issues
  • 2013 Webinar Series D: Professional Issues