Before being able to take the National
Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification Exam, you must establish
professional eligibility. This can be done via the academic path or equivalency
The academic path consists of
obtaining a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on recreational
therapy, and completing an internship at least 14 weeks long (560 hours),
overseen by CTRS.
The first equivalency path consists of
obtaining a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, coursework in recreational therapy,
and five years, full time, paid work in recreational therapy.
The second equivalency path consists
of obtaining a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, coursework in recreational therapy,
and one year of full time, paid work in recreational therapy, managed by CTRS.
NCTRC is a computer-based test that
includes 150 multiple-choice questions. The total testing time allotted is three
Special testing arrangements are
available for individuals with conditions covered by the Americans with
Disabilities Act. Some of these accommodations include extended testing time
and separate testing room.
What are the topics and sub-topics covered on the exam?
- Foundational Knowledge – 20%
- Assessment Process – 19%
- Documentation – 18%
- Implementation – 26%
- Administration of TR/RT – 10%
- Advancement of the Profession – 7%
This topic will address sub-topics such as the stages of human development, human behavior theories and principles, health and human services, group dynamics and leadership, regulation, practice settings, standards of practice, code of ethics, professional requirements, cultural competency, cognitive and developmental disorders, physical and medical disorders, and psychiatric disorders.
This topic will address sub-topics such as assessment instruments for TR/RT, interprofessional, sensory, cognitive, social, physical, affective, and leisure assessments, reliability and validity as it relates to assessments, and executing an assessment.
This topic will address sub-topics such as interpreting and recording the results of an assessment, intervention plans, composing goals and objectives, keeping track of progress and making changes when necessary, and discharge.
This topic will address sub-topics such as choosing programs, making changes to activities as needed, facilitation approaches, techniques for interventions, risk management, and duties of health and human service professionals.
Administration of TR/RT
This topic will address sub-topics such as evaluating the program and accountability, quality improvement, personnel, payments systems, managing the facility and equipment, and budgeting.
Advancement of the Profession
This topic will address sub-topics such as professionalism, maintaining credentials, advocacy, TR/RT legislation, public relation, associations and organizations, research, and collaborations.
How do I register for the exam?
You can register and pay the fee online. Keep in mind, there are specific dates by which you must register in order to take the exam during a certain testing window.
In order to take the exam during the 07/08/19 – 07/20/19 window, you must register and pay by 07/05/19.
In order to take the exam during the 09/09/19 – 09/21/19 window, you must register and pay by 09/06/19.
In order to take the exam during the 11/04/19 – 11/16/19 window, you must register and pay by 11/01/19.
Once registration is complete, you will receive an email with your Authorization to Test.
What is the cost of the exam?
The exam registration fee is $325
What are the testing dates and locations?
The exam windows are:
07/08/19 – 07/20/19
09/09/19 – 09/21/19
11/04/19 – 11/16/19
This exam can be taken at one of more that 300 testing centers throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.
What should I do the day of the exam?
Report to the testing site at least 30 minutes early. This will give you the time necessary to check-in. Note that being late to the testing center could prevent you from being able to take the exam. If you arrive late and are prohibited from taking the exam, your exam fee will not be returned. You will be required to re-register and pay the fee again.
Bring a valid form of identification with you. This ID cannot be expired and must not be a photocopy. It is necessary that this identification include your name, signature, and photo.
Personal items are not included in the testing area. Some of these items include a cell phone, calculator, books, study papers, ruler, hats, and food/drink.
What happens after I take the exam?
Before leaving the testing center, you will receive an unofficial score report that informs you if you have passed or failed the exam. An official score report will be emailed to you.
What is the minimum passing score of this exam?
How Can I Prepare for the NCTRC Exam?
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!