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Started March 1998 - this survey is now closed to new responses

What do you think about NCTRC phasing out their CTRA designation in 1999. What consideration should be given to those Long-Standing CTRA's?

I have no problem with it. It solidified and advanced our profession. We need liscensure. My question to you is, what do you think about "Activity Directors" aka ADC in comparision to CTRS's and how LTC facilities often act as if they are the same - they are not. Advise please!
- Friday, November 03, 2006 at 04:36:47 (CST), IP Address: 7122415283

Snobery and self agrandizment never won respect. I've worked nearly 30 years, that's before most of you were born, with severly mentally ill adults, children, and seniors. The graduates that I have met along the way usually opt out around the time a craft group goes south. If you want to play the insurance game, and now it is all but unavoidable, go ahead and ditch co-workers. soon ya'll be crazy as a barrel of OTRs
Tuesday, February 01, 2005 at 13:33:39 (CST)
I don't think we should lower our standards if we expect to recieve the same respect as other allied health professionals such as Group counselors, Occupational therapist and Physical therapist. Especially if we feel our dicipline is as effective and justified. If the accademic requirements are going to continue to be increased, all the more reason to maintain the CTRS credential. In my opinion your either a CTRS or an R.T. (Rec. Therapist)
Thursday, December 18, 2003 at 10:13:49 (CST)
I am a student in Missouri. I will have a BS in PRT and after the exam I will be a CTRS. I will be one of the last five from my school to finish this program. Due to Budget Cuts, it has been put on hold...likely to never resurface. Jobs are hard to come by here, and I will have to move to find one. In this area, everything is ran by Aides or have completely cut the program. It is not a profession if you do not have the education to back up your work. That is what is happening now. We are not viewed as a profession and are treated like party planners and craft leaders. If we want to have professional rights, we have to eliminate the aides and hire more Certified Therapeutic Recreation SPECIALISTS! Save the profession!
Friday, February 28, 2003 at 17:29:04 (CST)
I am a CTRS and have known CTRA's who are more competent than some of the CTRS' I've worked with.
Friday, October 18, 2002 at 23:36:44 (CDT)
I think they should be phased out. This designation is an excuse for agencies, hospitals ans such to hire 10 CTRA's and one CTRS and call it a program.
Monday, September 30, 2002 at 13:49:58 (CDT)
I think CTRA's have their place in the field. Not everyone can afford to attend or go back to school. CTRA's are very different than a CTRS.I think the expectation of a CTRA and a CTRS needs to be adjusted. In order to be considered CTRA they must pass a test. Long standing CTRA's must also pass a test to meet the basic standard. Further training yearly CEU's to remain current. The field is contiuously changing.
Monday, August 19, 2002 at 14:34:51 (CDT)
I feel that the CTRA should not be required to get a 4 year degree. I feel CEU's are enough. Where I live at, it would require going to a school that is 2 hours away from me(4 hours travel time). This is not feasible for a mother of three children and a husband. I graduated at the time this took place. We were told that we would be CTRA's, until the end of our last quarter. How disappointing.
Monday, May 28, 2001 at 18:38:06 (CDT)
CTRS should be the requirement because it maintains the high standard and the high level of competence in the profession.
Thursday, March 22, 2001 at 12:35:49 (CST)
Dump the CTRA. Increase the CTRS standard to a Master of Art or Science level. The Bachelor level CTRS must also be eliminated. Low standards are a thing of the past.
Friday, January 19, 2001 at 23:56:57 (CST)
As a Recreation Therapist in Canada with a Diploma and a Degree in Recreation we have been going through the same thing as American Recreation Therapists and Activity Workers. In the province I 'am from you use to be able to work in Recreation Therapist positions with a diploma but they grandfathered some Diploma's into thoses positions and left others out. Now that many positions need a Degree many facilities in Canada have Diploma educated people classified as Activity Workers doing a Recreation Therapist job and pating them $7.oo American. And there are no longer many jobs for degree Recreation Therapists, as employers will not pay a degree when they can have a diploma do the same job. And the unions can't do a thing about it.
Friday, January 19, 2001 at 12:19:08 (CST)
I have been working in the field for 16 years and I feel that they should give a grandfather clause to professionals that been in the field for 10 years and above to keep their National Certification. I can benefit any program with my experiences. I live in North Carolina, so I am still certified through my state, but if there is any CTRA in which they do not have a state that has their own certification they are not certified at all. I wish they would reveiw their options. I would even take a test like the CTRS professionals.
Melanie Noble
Thursday, September 07, 2000 at 20:59:32 (CDT)
It's about time! I think the CTRA's should have to go back to school for additional training and accreditation.
Sunday, August 13, 2000 at 18:08:34 (CDT)
I think it was an excellent decision. In Louisiana, assistants were using this classification to advance themselves in the field. Just stating they were certified, not indicating that they were paraprofessionals. Also, CTRA's were given ample time to get a professional degree.
Sunday, April 16, 2000 at 12:36:37 (CDT)
The CTRA was a good thing. The reason NCTRC got rid of it is that they didn't want to bother with the cost it would be to develop another professional examination (est. $100,000). So they phased it out. I am a professor a community college in charge of a curriculum in TR and we are getting hurt by the two year certifications of COTAs and their accreditation of their two year program. TR will NEVER get the respect it deserves if we don't pay attention to certification AND accreditation at all levels. CTRA can still be a respected paraprofessional job supervised by a CTRS, and it WAS better than nothing. Another person on the bulletin board said the CTRA's could just go back and get their B.S. degree. That is not true in my state as there is no place one can go without leaving the state or going to a non-accredited school. The only college is 200 miles away on the other end of the state. My students who have jobs, mortgages, and often kids, cannot afford to pull up stakes and get this degree. Some do and then we lose them to the area they go to school in and our state suffers again. It is a complicated issue, but one thing is certain. All the other disciplines are moving forward and becoming MORE certification and accreditation oriented. We, on the other hand, are moving backward.
Dr. Willa J. Brooks
Friday, January 21, 2000 at 07:15:10 (CST)

I believe enough notice was given that if a CTRA wanted to remain in a certified position, course work could have been completed and a CTRS could have been achieved.
Monday, January 18, 1999 at 23:31:35 (CST)

i think that this is a good thing. I feel that people going into the field now really need the educational background and should further thier education. I have worked very hard to get to where I am now and i feel that if we all work together we can soon be considered a professional just like PT and OT are but if we don't work together and better ourselves people will continue to step all over us and feeel recreation is just recreation and not a professional occupation. At this time in CT. , unfortuately the state board of public health code seems to think that a person with 6 credits in recreation at a college level can do my department head position and i disagree and at this moment they are trying to pass this in the public health code and i believe that in order to do the job right with the new pps system that staarted this year you should have at least a BS in therapeutic recreation. thank you for your time and for listening to me . If you have any suggestions i would appreciate it if u email me at
michele petruzzi mstr
Thursday, January 14, 1999 at 18:52:29 (CST)
The pay in my area is so low for activity assistants that the last thing on my mind was hiring a CTRA. The pay is slowly improving, but I do not feel that it is necessary to have the CTRA designation. If activity assistants wants to go on to be a director he or she can go to school for their CTRS or NCCAP certification.
Saturday, January 09, 1999 at 09:38:54 (CST)
It appears the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, except, when it comes to counting my $$$$$ every November. It takes both hands for that! Maybe this is why the annual fees are higher now?? No CTRA money! I think they should leave those folks alone and let it end thru attrition if that is what they want to do. End of Story. It's almost like handing out a pink slip.
Monday, December 07, 1998 at 23:10:16 (CST)

I applaud Sherry Hurwitz's eloquent comments and agree with her totally. I think that the long term implications for the field speak to the need for continuation of, marketting for and strengthening the CTRA designation. While I understand NCTRC's rationale at the time the decision was made, I believe that changes in the health care industry as we approach the millenium speak to the maintenance of a form of the CTRA designation, both as a protection for the consumer and employer, and to further the process of going to one national certification system. I believe that in long term care, with the changes of the last several years, that we would have seen a huge influx of CTRA applications, were it not understood that this designation is being phased out. The phasing out of the CTRA designation was a decision made in a different health care climate. The health care industry has changed dramatically, in long term care and acute hospital settings more than any other arena, and I think as a future directed field that speaks to our responsibility to revisit and reevaluate the potential future impacts of this decision, based on current industry trends, and needs. Lora Serra
Wednesday, November 25, 1998 at 09:37:39 (CST)

I think it sucks for the old CTRA's. They should just not issue any new credentials.
Monday, November 23, 1998 at 22:10:03 (CST)

I think it may be a good idea for the future of the field. If there were less assistants, there may be more CTRS positions to be filled. If the business could not get a similarlly trained person for half the cost, they would then be forced to have a staff of CTRS certified individuals. On the other hand it may dump a huge work load on already overworked CTRS.
- Sunday, October 18, 1998 at 17:14:25 (PDT)

I echo the feelings stated on Apr. 7, 1998. The CTRA was never a strong credential and the numbers were always too small. Don't you think that if there were enough CTRAs that it never would have been let go? It's also meaningless unless the credential has clear, objective standards. I was appalled at the little experience and knowledge had by the few CTRAs I worked with. Then again, I was amazed that there were CTRAs who were department heads. These were people who if they had some true professional sense would have gone and upgraded to CTRS. But noooo- they'd rather spend time complaining that they were "entitled" to upgrade without the effort - just because they were "good professionals" and why can't NCTRC see that? Our credentials exist to make a statement to the public - not to self serve our profession. When we want recognition, we need to be clear about what the credential represents. I'm fed up with all this self serving whining! It's sad how people don't understand the real purpose of credentialing - and licensure. It's for the public - not for us!
- Friday, October 16, 1998 at 05:32:02 (PDT)

Mixed feelings ... on the one hand, I only know of ONE CTRA in my state (NJ) so it seems ready to be phased out. On the other hand, there are no standards for "recreation assistants" or "activity assistants" so the kinds of services they deliver, even under supervision of CTRS's, varies so widely that our field lacks consistency. CTRA's can take advantage of correspondence education to take courses in order to qualify to become CTRS's.
- Tuesday, October 06, 1998 at 20:30:45 (PDT)

I would like to see the certification continued.
- Tuesday, September 29, 1998 at 11:01:34 (PDT)

I think it was wrong to eliminate the CTRA certification. It was unethical to go back on the "promise" made to these students and professionals. Many do not have resources/time/available program etc. to be able to go back to school. Why not allow a different certication criteria in place of the standardized test since that was w the reason for eliminating (NCTRC said it was too expensive to develpop a separate test). Instead of the test, why not look at degree and classes only?
- Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 09:35:59 (PDT)

let them grandfather in.... in a given period of time
- Monday, September 21, 1998 at 13:02:40 (PDT)

I think that good CTRA's play an important role in the delivery of TR services. I have taught in a CTRA program and know that there are some very good therapist at this level. In my opinion, having a CTRA level of professional service allows for the CTRS to do more involved, therapy based treatment and keeps them from doing the diversional type activities. I would love to have a good CTRA in my outpatient program to help compliment our TR services. I think to judge others and to simply state that these professionals should just go out and get their BS degree so that they can become a CTRS is silly. Who are we to dictate that to others? Having levels makes the CTRS title elite. I do believe, that just like with CTRS's there are good professionals and then there are those that make you embarrassed that you are in the same profession. These people are valuable - I say keep the program, fight to make it stronger and fight to make the CTRS position stronger as well. We could stand to improve cirriculum on ALL levels!
- Monday, August 24, 1998 at 20:06:50 (PDT)

Eventually the profession will have to consider the trained aide. With health care changes it feels as if we must prep are for working with more for less; CTRS's supervising trained aides. We simply can't out-price our services. I also understand the cost of maintaining a certification process for a small number of folk. While I feel for the CTRA's, they have had the opportunity to go back to school and no one has taken away their right to work at the aide level. An for those long standing CTRA's
- Friday, August 07, 1998 at 21:32:50 (PDT)

I think it is just plain idiotic and bull shit
- Tuesday, June 30, 1998 at 16:22:47 (PDT)

We tried to voice our opinion about this years ago when maybe something could have been worked out. My opinion is of little use now when the decision has already been made by the powers that be. But my opinion is this- we as a profession have taken several steps backwards- what would OT and PT do without their assistants? Why not have put time, effort, and money into the further development of the CTRA level?
- Monday, June 29, 1998 at 09:00:46 (PDT)

I feel it's a mistake. If properly trained and certified the CTRA is able to conduct programs and treatments with the supervision of the CTRS just as the PTA or COTA do for the other therapists. The unit I work on is too large for a single CTRS alone, but I could not build a case at this time for a second CTRS. I was left with the choice of a nurses aid or someone without training. I was able to convince the administrators to allow the hiring of an Associate Degreed Recreation Therapy Aid. She is not allowed to be called an assistant because the Cert. is being phased out. So even though she is performing the same tasks for me as a PTA or COTA for their fields, she is less recognized, and therefore compensated.
Richard G. Fritz, M.Ed., CTRS
- Tuesday, June 23, 1998 at 11:45:29 (PDT)

I don't have a problem with it as I've never heard of or encountered an actual, employed CTRA. I do think we should give present CTRAs the same consideration they have always had. I do think, though, that there is getting to be an overabundance of new "paraprofessional" occupations popping up in other disciplines. I don't mind delegating tasks when I'm too busy to do them anyway, but I'm a bit wary of the trend towards multiskilling and delegation of a large number of tasks to assistants and aides. It used to be that you would eval AND treat, but now there are more instances of eval only and leave the assistants and aides to treat once a plan is developed. I just don't want to see situations where we cannot treat because our facility thinks that time is better used doing more evals while the PTAs, CTRAs, and COTAs treat.
- Tuesday, June 16, 1998 at 16:00:46 (PDT)

I think that is is only gong to hurt the profession. Why notrecognize the 2year degree? What is the point of removing thiscertification. Some folks are just content to have the CTRA.If they take this away, what will happen to the folks that are paid according to have this certification? I think it is a big mistake!!!
- Friday, June 12, 1998 at 05:58:40 (PDT)

- Wednesday, June 10, 1998 at 07:53:24 (PDT)

I am/was one of those CTRA's,one with 20 yrs experience in the field,and a MA in a related field. I also had taken a CLP from NPRA. I have just dropped the CLP as I took the Test last Nov. and upgraded to CTRS. I did this by taking 6 upper div. correspondence courses over a 6 year period. I have worked in large departments being supervised by a CTRS,with other CTRS's all of whom respected my competence to "do what they do", the only thing I was not allowed to do was write on the chart-the CTRS's copied my notes into the chart stating I had written them. I have also worked independently in the gen. hospital setting, and supervised a p/t MT. My cert.'s were accepted by JCAHO. It was a struggle finishing those courses as I was "Downsized" twice during those years (with excellant letters of reccomendation from my supervisors), and at times had to borrow the money to pay for them. Now, I am supervising 3 assistants and an aide in the Adult Day Care setting ( 2 more positions will be opening soon). Personally, I wish my co. would pay for at least 1 other CTRS, but they will not. My assistants ask me where they can go to upgrade their skills/cert's and I have to say, sorry there is no CTRA anymore you are going to have to look at becoming certified in Activities. These are not people who are going to/or want to/or can afford to get a BA. I feel some anger that I have to send good people into another field when there could be a place for them in TR. New standards for CTRA's should be developed so that those who are competant can stay in the field, and new folks can be invited into a rewarding career.
Sherry Hurwitz
- Friday, May 29, 1998 at 04:21:17 (PDT)

I disagree about assistant's phasing out therapists. I have an assistant's degree in occupational therapy and I have found it difficult to find a job in CA.
- Wednesday, May 27, 1998 at 20:27:34 (PDT)

I feel this is a good idea. There are few CTRS's and (my guess) even fewer CTRA's. CTRS should stand alone. There are so many other "certifications" that rec. professionals can have, it think it's already too confusing to others outside of the profession.
- Sunday, May 24, 1998 at 10:50:19 (PDT)

What a bunch of bogus!!! Is it bad enough that our professions are looked down upon? Phasing out the CTRA designation is just one more think to make recreational therapy less of a professional field. I thought our long term goal was to increase awareness and professional recognition. We are going backwards not forwards!!! I didn't pay 80,000 for 4 years of college(that I am still paying now) to be in a profession where people with only high school diplomas can be my supervisor. We have been striving for the acceptance that OT and PT get and they have their licensed assistants to assist. I think that CTRA's should have specific requirements to assist them in attaining their NCTRC certification because if we don't they all will be heading to other fields where they get some professional recognition. Big mistake to whoever decided to eliminate the CTRA designation!!
- Tuesday, May 19, 1998 at 12:59:10 (PDT)

I think the phasing out of the CTRA will backfire. At least nowfolks working with a CTRA designation are working under a controlledsystem. There are obvious requirements needed to get a CTRA and maintain it.The NCTRC has deluded itself, sitting on the mighty throne, itmisses the reality of capitalism. Not everyone will run out to geta CTRS, for many, this is simply not possible. CTRAs are trainedprofessionals, monitored, and required to keep up their CEUs.The NCTRC may have forgotten that Recreation Therapy remains unlicenced,another mistake! The backfire of phasing out theCTRA is this: Like it or not most of the places where TRs work are interested in money, period. There now will be no standard on hiring,and keeping those who would have been required to meet the currentstandard of the CTRA. The employers will bring in the unskilled atlower wages; there will be no standard to measure by,no one interested in the keeping up of CEUs. By all means, those who have a CTRA designation now should be allowed to maintain it for life. The removal of the CTRA designation by 1999is a really bad decision that will ultimately hurt the client and theprofession. Following OTs lead, where OTs and COTAs are licensed, the correct action should have been to set up a licensing proceedure for TR, open it to the CTRA before phasing out, as well as to the CTRS. This standard would have protected all. Theremoval of the CTRA designation without this safety net is suicide to the profession.
Joe Mondano
- Sunday, May 17, 1998 at 15:56:38 (PDT)

It appears that assistants are popular in the re-engineered world of rehab med. PTA's,OTA's are replacing therapist level postions, therefore we should keep the creditial to ensure some level of service
- Monday, May 11, 1998 at 14:26:16 (PDT)

I guess I will just tell you a little story to begin. I am a bit enraged at this moment, however, sometimes (evern therapeutic recreation specialists have a temper too. so forgive me if this doesn't make too much sense. I just arrived back to my hometown from a three day seminar held in Springfield, Illinois. Many of you may have heard of the conference, Midwest Symposium, which offers a great opportunity to network within our field. Anyway, getting back to the point of the whole survey, I was just informed in one of the seminars that the Illinois Department of Public Health (pertaining to Illinois residents only) may be changing their state regulations in accordance to certain requirements for the state of Illinois. Forgive me if I get this botched up, however, I was told that the department will be proposing that the requirements to be a activities director in the state of Illinois is lowering their standards. They are proposing a deal as follows: their will be no need for a CTRS in a long term nursing facility, any individual with or without a high school degree will be eligible to be an activities director, you can become a ctrs by completing a 36 hour activity directors course if desired and there will be no need to receive a bachelor's degree in therapeutic recreation. Now, correct me if I am wrong: This is how I feel about the entire situation, not only is this degrading to Certified Therapeutic Recreation specialist who have endured four years at a college university to get where we are today, but it is also going to lower our salary at CTRS's as well. I mean come on, you don't even have to have a high school diploma to work in our field. Those of you who have worked to get were your are today, how does that make you feel? This is ridiculous and outrageous to our field.Those of you who don't reside in Illinois, watch out that regulation changes may be coming your way. The Illinois Department of health will be having a hearing heald on either May 18 or 19,1998 ( I can't recall) If interested in writing a proposal or starting a petition, please contact someone from NCTRC as I will. This just ticks me off.
Sandra Shaves
- Wednesday, April 29, 1998 at 15:56:10 (PDT)

I think that if an individual dedicated their college career, whether i
Traci L. Pareti
- Wednesday, April 29, 1998 at 15:41:13 (PDT)

I feel we shot ourselves in the foot with this one. I have been a CTRS for a very long time, and I believe we need both profesionals and paraprofessionals within a departmental complement, just like OT has their COTA's. I do agree that the CTRA was too losely structured as a credential, but I don't think elimination was the solution.I think it should have been strengthened to include a certain amount of additional coursework if an AAS has not been earned plus AAS or not, CEU requirements for maintenance. Elimination of the CTRA will only result in perpetuating multiple credentialling bodies, which is not good for us. On this one, I am saddened by NCTRC's lack of vision, and lack of responsivened to the CTRS's out there in practice, who advocated for finding a way to keep the CTRA credential.
- Sunday, April 26, 1998 at 19:36:58 (PDT)

Honestly, I have never met a CTRA. I think it would be beneficial to the clients and our field to have assistants who are better trained and understand what we stand for. I say keep CTRA's and make it a standard like COTA or PTA. CTRA's in long standing should have higher pay for the certification.
- Sunday, April 19, 1998 at 16:22:02 (PDT)

The CTRA never got real credibility because the requirements were too loose and the jobs and positions too undefined. Both true para-professionals and also supervisory people who never met the CTRS requirements were in this category. The numbers were also too small to be given the attention to develop this credential. Too bad - but we've got to maintain integrity of our professional credentials by either keeping them strong and meaningful - or letting them go. Who knows - maybe someday the CTRA can return - with more meaning. Wonder if there might be some way of giving them some "credit" towards the CTRS eligibility requirenments?
- Tuesday, April 07, 1998 at 18:48:09 (PDT)

Being in the recreation field for 10 years and in long term care the past 1.5 years with a Masters in health, Physical Education and Recreation and the Concentration in Recreation Administration, I feel the more qualified personnel you have in the field the better the field, I believe in professional certification in all fields but I do not carry a chip on my shoulder because of the type of certification I do or do not have, I feel this is a growing problem in the health care setting.However, the CTRS, ADC, CLP certifications are the areas our people should try to obtain certification within.Cary Q. Lyle - CLP/ADCActivities DirectorKentucky Veterans Center
- Tuesday, March 24, 1998 at 08:35:32 (PST)

I feel that by phasing out the CTRA designation it gives more credibility to the field. The more schooling and knowledge base that is required to practice Therapeutic Recreation with a certification the better off the profession is.
- Sunday, March 22, 1998 at 18:11:35 (PST)



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