Three Ways to Become an Expert in Recreational Therapy

canstockphoto39066029Three Ways to Become an Expert in Recreational Therapy

By: Danny Pettry, M.Ed., M.S., LPC, NCC, CTRS, Founder of and

Experts have knowledge and experience. They’re the best at what they do. Sometimes they’re called “gurus.” Experts often provide training, consultation, and coaching.

The are three things a person can do to become an expert. These include: gaining experience, gaining education, and gaining an expert reference group.

Below are tips on those three areas:

canstockphoto16769492# 1: You’ve got to gain the experience needed to be an expert.

Having direct experience counts. One of my favorite authors, Malcom Gladwell, author of Tipping Point, argues that a person needs to work at something for 10,000 hours to become skilled at something.

In example, if a woman wanted to become a master at playing the violin, she’d need to practice for 10,000 hours. Starting young gives people a leading advantage.

Example: Imagine a child who already knows her passion. She wants to be a professional tennis player. She starts playing tennis in 2nd-grade. She works every year putting in the hours of practice. Compere her journey to the young adult who is 18-years-old. She’s never played tennis before and she starts to learn. The 18-year-old has a long way to get 10,000 0hours of deliberate practice. The young girl will definitely hit 10,000 hours, pending she continues her interest in it.

They can’t be repeated hours. Danny Pettry comments: I took guitar lessons for almost two years during my teenage years. I did one hour of practice with my trainer weekly. I didn’t practice any during my own leisure time because honestly, I wasn’t into playing guitar. Twelve months by two years is about 24 hours. However, I’d argue that I only had about 1-real hour of practice playing guitar because I pretty much repeated that same hours over 23-more times before I quiet. Where was my passion? Skateboarding. I dreamed, slept, and lived skateboarding. I did it every second I could (pending it wasn’t raining or snowing). I was constantly improving my skills. At my peak year in skateboard (16), I was really good. I was putting in deliberate practice at getting better every day and pushing my game to go further. I slowed down my hardcore skating when I disclosed a shoulder from a skateboarding accident. I only skated the easy moves I already knew during my college years so I wouldn’t get hurt again. At that time, I was only repeating hours that I had already done. I wasn’t improving.

A recreational therapist could work five years and be the same level she was when she started. I read an interesting book a while back (which I can’t recall the title or I’d pay attribution). The author was talking about work experience. He gave examples of a guy who got a promotion for working 25-years at the company. The other guy complained, saying he too had worked 25-years at the company. The manager told him that he worked one-year at the company and repeated the same thing for 24 more years. He argued the other guy continued to improve and take on new roles and responsibilities.

Ten years of full-time employment in a specialty area is often considered the benchmark for being an expert in a field. Of course a person could meet their (Gladwell’s 10,000 hours) benchmark by working five years. Of course that means no down time. All 100% of those five years must be very dedicated practice at becoming better.

The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) offers five advanced specialty certificates to recognize those (distinct professional) with the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) who have advanced knowledge above and beyond the CTRS credential. These five areas include: a.) physical medicine/ rehabilitation; b.) geriatrics; c.) developmental disabilities; d.) behavioral health; and e.) community inclusion services.

A person must have 5-years of experience working in the specialty area to be eligible or (one-year of experience) with a graduate degree.

Danny Pettry experience: I’m definitely proud to say that I’ve worked 15+ years at a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) as a practitioner providing services for children and adolescents with various mental and behavioral health needs.  Disclaimer: I don’t have a specialty certification through NCTRC. I do have National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NCC is the Counseling equivalent of the CTRS. However, the NCC requires a master’s degree where the CTRS requires an undergraduate degree. The NCC requires 80-hours of continuing education in a five-year period and the CTRS requires 50-hours of continuing education in 5-years. The CTRS specialty certification requires 75 hours of continuing education in a five-year period in the specialty area. I’ve decided to just keep the NCC opposed to getting a CTRS-specialty certification in behavioral health.


canstockphoto1146065# 2. You’ve got to gain the education needed to be an expert.

Education helps a person to become an expert.

A person with advanced degrees demonstrate that they have focused education in an area.

Here is a reminder of the types of degrees and the estimated length of time to earn one.

  • Associate’s degree: Two years of education
  • (Undergraduate degree) Bachelor’s degree: Four years of education
  • (Graduate degree) Master’s degree: Six years of education
  • Doctorate: Eight years.

The majority of Recreational Therapists hold a Bachelor’s degree. That is the current entry-level education requirement for our profession. Those recreational therapists with a 4-year-degree have more knowledge about the profession compared to those who have completed a two-year associates, recreational therapy assistant degree.

There are some Recreational Therapists who hold a Master’s degree. These practitioners have more knowledge compared to those with only an undergraduate degree.

It appears that the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is attempting to get more people to earn a Master’s degree with their specialty certification program. A person with a graduate degree (with 9 graduate level hours in specialty focus) can earn a CTRS-specialty certification with only one year of professional experience.

Recreational therapy has a major gap in the number of people with a Ph.D. Currently, there are several colleges and universities that are posting opening positions and are having a difficult time finding people with a Ph.D. Many of those professionals with a Ph.D. in our profession are getting close to retirement meaning there are going to be even a greater need.

Danny Pettry comments: Some recreational therapists argue that they are not as respected as other allied professionals. Recreational Therapists work on treatment teams with other professionals. Some of those professionals require a Master’s degree for entry-level practice. These professionals may unintentionally think of recreational therapists as those professionals who only need an undergraduate degree, how much could they possibly know.

Some of our allied professionals require a higher number of continuing education compared to recreational therapists. In example, counselors must earn 80 hours to maintain NCC. Occupational Therapists in my state of West Virginia must earn 24 hours of continuing education every two-years. In four years, they must earn 48 hours (almost 50). Where a CTRS only needs to earn 50 in five-years. Our allied professionals are required to earn more continuing education.

There are some people in Recreational Therapy who want to move the entry level for our profession to a Master’s degree. Danny Pettry’s beliefs: I personally think our profession should keep the entry-level requirement at a 4-year-degree. I believe that because it makes our profession a little more marketable for colleges and universities. A person could learn the skills needed to be an entry-level practitioner with only 4-years-of training.

A person who wants to be an expert in recreational therapy must continue her education and training.

Danny Pettry’s Leisure Education experience: As a teenager, I got my education in skateboarding. I read Thrasher magazine and Transworld Skateboarding magazine. I watched 411-skatevideos and videos released by various skateboard companies: Alien Workshop, Toy Machine, Maple Skateboards, Blind, Vision, Powell.  I studied those skates who were slightly better than me.

Danny Pettry’s Professional Education: I’m definitely proud to share that I have a Master’s degree in Recreational Therapy from Indiana University (2006), which I feel makes me qualified to provide online continuing education training for recreational therapists with an undergraduate degree. I also have a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling (2012), which I believe makes me qualified to provide focused continuing education training in mental and behavioral health. My undergraduate degree is in Therapeutic Recreation (2002).

Plus – I love reading and learning. Those are my hobbies, so it makes it easier for me. I ready about two books per week. That is about 100 books per year. And I select my favorite books to required readings for my self-study CEU programs. I’ve read the books and I know which ones are worth reading and which ones are worth skipping. I also take a lot of trainings both online and at workshops. I hire personal coaches to teach me skills in areas that I feel I need to develop.


canstockphoto14579579# 3. You’ve got to be part of the expert association

My favorite inspirational speaker, the late Jim Rohn argued that a person is the average of the five people she spends the most time with.

Here are some examples:

  • If a teenager spends most of her time with five cheerleaders, then she is probably a cheerleader.
  • If a teenager spends most of his time with five “D-students,” then his average is probably a D, too.
  • If a person spends most of her time with five people who are very involved in the church, then you can imagine she is probably involved too.
  • If a woman spends most of her time with her five “besties” who happen to all be millionaires, then she is probably a…

Many different self-improvement gurus talk about Rohn’s (5-people principle). They have different names for it.  Napolean Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich calls it a “Mastermind Group.”  Author, Brian Tracy, calls it a “Reference Group.” Regardless of the term.

The good news is that you can surround yourself with experts through audio learning programs, video training, webinars, and books. This can help you gain their knowledge and thinking styles.

However, you must have real connections with experts too. There is something powerful about networking and connecting and being part of a group. Its cliché; but here are two that I’ll repeat it here: “Two heads are better than one” and “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” 

Where is the expert association for recreational therapists? I’d argue that it is the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA). It is the leading membership organization. You can meet and network and join committees with recreational therapists from around the world through ATRA. You can attend ATRA conferences so you can learn from experts (presenters) and then even talk to the presenter after the session.

Imagine if your professional network included the best recreational therapists. Wow, that would be amazing. You can join our professional association, ATRA. Many recreational therapists work solo, meaning they’re the only recreational therapist at their facility. Being part of ATRA gives those people a suppoRT group.

Danny Pettry’s teenage experience: as a teenager, I constantly sought out skateboarders who were slightly better than me. The people who I spent most of my time with were skateboarders! The good ol’ days. We formed out own skater-club. Some of those friends ended up getting sponsored by local companies. Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory is important too. If I skated with beginner skaters, I often felt bored. If I skated with the most advanced skaters, I often felt anxious. In order to get in the flow, the level of difficulty must be slightly greater than the current level of skill.

Danny Pettry’s disclaimers: I’m not a hired spokesperson for ATRA. I’m not an elected board member for the association. I am a Lifetime Member of ATRA! I won the 2004 Peg Connolly Scholarship (named in honor of the first president of ATRA and former executive director of NCTRC, Dr. Peg Connolly). I won the 2005 Recreational Therapy Advocate of the Year award. I’ve assisted with the supervision and training of the 2009 Peg Connolly Scholarship winners. I’ve severed on the Recreational Therapy Month committee when Norma Stumbo was present of ATRA. I would love to run for a board member position, however, I’m afraid it would be a conflict of interest since I operate an online continuing education program. So, I don’t run. I do offer to volunteer my time, money, and experience helping the board whenever possible, like submitting vital mental and behavioral health updates to the association, and presenting at national conferences. I was also a good-standing member of the West Virginia Therapeutic Recreation Association (WVTRA) branch of ATRA before it disband. I served several roles on the WVTRA board, including: student representative when I was a graduate student, CTRS representative when I started to work, and the ATRA Rep for WVTRA from WV.

[0.1 CEUs] — Rec Therapy Month Webinar

rtmonthaFebruary is Rec Therapy Month!
I’m presenting a free webinar:
The difference between recreation activities and recreation therapy.
(0.1 CEU) provided.
Date: Wed. Feb. 1, 2017. Time: 7:00 p.m. (eastern time).
Of course, you already know the difference.
If you enjoy the webinar you can get access to replay the webinar at your facility to help educate your co-workers about recreation therapy.
best wishes.
your friend,

How RTs can get more recognition.


  • Rec therapists (some, but not all) have complained to me over the years that they are not respected and recognized as well as their allied professionals.

My Feelings:

  • I strongly believe that our allied professionals may be advancing more often because they require more continuing education.  Unfortunately, many professionals do not independently continue their education. Therefore, agencies (like hospitals), state license boards, national certification boards have all set a minimum level of required continuing education hours per year.

Some Examples of the Difference in Continuing Education

Recreational therapists must earn 50 continuing education hours in five years in order to maintain their certification with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

Let’s see what other professionals require:

  • Physical Therapists must earn 24 continuing education hours per year to maintain their state license in my state, West Virginia. That is 120 hours in five years. A physical therapist is getting 70 more hours (beyond the 50 hours that Rec Therapists are required) in a five-year period.
  • Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Therapists in West Virginia are required 20 hours of continuing education per year to maintain their state license. That would be a total of 100 hours in a five year period. That is 50 hours (beyond the 50 that RTs are expected to earn for their national certification) in a five-year period.
  • National Certified Counselors (NCC) must earn 80 continuing education hours in five years. That is 30 more continuing education hours (beyond 50 hours that Rec Therapists are required) in a five-year period.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in West Virginia must earn 35 continuing education hours every two years to maintain their license. That is a total of 70 hours every four years. Do you see the difference? A licensed counselor requires 70 hours in four years and a certified rec therapist requires 50 in five years.

I’ve not checked on other professional groups and organizations.

The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) appears to be working to encourage RTs to gain more knowledge and skills. They currently offer the specialty certifications (which require 75 hours of continuing education in a five-year period, among other requirements like a graduate degree or advanced certificate courses).

Here is the good news for you.

There are no limits to your continuing education.

You can make a choice to be a leader in the field.  You can earn well above and beyond the minimum 50 hours required by NCTRC.

I’d argue that it might be safer to go the extra mile on hours – just in case one hour isn’t accepted.

Of course, you’re probably aware that I provide online continuing education courses. However, RTs don’t have to go with my program. My program focuses on mental/ behavioral health. RTs may want to seek out other expertise areas and learn more. I’d be glad to help you in your search for those courses and training too.

Are you ready to take your own career to the next level?

I’d like to invite you to check out the self-study CEU courses that I offer Rec Therapists.

Go here:


Imagine what learning more can do for you in both your personal life and your professional life?

Best wishes and to your success.

Your friend and partner in Rec Therapy,

Danny Pettry.


P.s. here is that link again:

Go here:

Amazing opportunities coming in 2017!

0001awesome online training program is dedicated to professional recreational therapists.

We’re determined and persistent in helping you. And we’re definitely preferred by recreational therapists as the leader in online trainings for recreational therapists.

We’re going to be rolling out some new amazing training programs in early 2017.

We’re not going to pre-announce these training courses quiet yet. – to keep my new direct competition in the dark from copying us.

But here are some things I can tell you. I asked 2,000 recreational therapists what they wanted. We got a good turnout of answers.

  • 92% of my mailing list wanted our main program. – so we’re definitely going to offer this!
  • 57% of my mailing list wanted the second program. – so we’re going to offer this too!
  • 47.9% wanted the third program. – and we’re going to offer this too.


Keep reading emails from my site so you won’t be in the dark about this dynamic programs! If you haven’t done so already – then you can go here to sign-up: 

A new design

I created a new flyer to help market my CEU program.

I have been sending these out to people.

I also gave them out to people at the ATRA 2016 Conference in Chicago.

Email me if you’d like to get some of these flyers in the mail to give out to other RTs. Be sure to include your full complete mailing list and how many you’d like to have.

Outside cover


Inside cover:


Email me if you’d like to get some of these flyers in the mail to give out to other RTs. Be sure to include your full complete mailing list and how many you’d like to have.

Some Tips on Earning More in Recreational Therapy (a book review).

© Can Stock Photo / tang90246canstockphoto11452270

© Can Stock Photo / tang90246

A book review of Brian Tracy’s (2012) book, Earn What You’re Really Worth: Maximize Your Income at Any Time in Any Market.

By: Danny Pettry


Tracy, B. (2012). Earn what you’re really worth: maximize your income at any time in any market. Philadelphia, PA: Vanguard Press


I [Danny Pettry] do not promise that you’ll earn any additional income from this book review. I am reviewing a book by Brian Tracy on the topic of income. Please note that I do not offer any guarantees for Recreational Therapists.


The Author and the Book:


Brian Tracy is well-known in the self-development field. I’ve read several of his books in the past, including: Goals! and Eat that Frog! I was browsing the library for leadership books when I accidently found this book and decided to check it out.

I often check out books based on recommendations of other authors. Several of my favorite authors had praise for this book, including:

I know with a list of recommendations from that group that I had to read this book.

Tracy (2012) has 12 chapters with useful tips. This review will cover a brief overview of the chapter and provide practical information for recreational therapists.


  • Chapter 1: the new normal


The main concept: Change is always happening. There is always new information. Competition is strong.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Be prepared for change. Work at improving your own set of skills to be competent for when change happens. Continue to invest in yourself and your own career. Money is often fault for in the competitive world of healthcare services. Be sure to be a professional who is using evidenced-based practice to demonstrate outcomes. Those services that are not producing outcomes are going to get discontinued.


  • Chapter 2: your personal service corporation


The main concept: Everything about “you” is a corporation. It consists of your own life mission and goals, personal values, work ethic, skills, abilities, and traits. It is valuable to have your own personal service corporation in gear.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Recreational therapists are often self-aware of who they are and what they want to do. This is why they decided to become a recreational therapist. Be sure to make your own name (insert your name here) a personal brand of excellence.


  • Chapter 3: increase your earning potential

The main concept: Be competent in your job. Produce the results that the job requires. Do the most important (big jobs) first on your daily to-do list. Invest your own time on becoming better. Continue to improve your own skills and competencies.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Make sure your recreational therapy services are bringing about measurable results. Here is a sample generic idea of this: Patient has x ability before services (able to sit in chair and participate in social activity for 30 minutes).  Patient participates in recreational therapy services (which appears to be playing cards, but it is strength building).  Outcomes after services: patient now has 2x ability (ability to sit up for the full hour). Results get payment. No results mean no payment. Be sure to invest and prepare for your own future too. What skills might you need in five or ten years?


  • Chapter 4: capitalize on your strengths

The main concept: There are certain things you do well. There are other things you might struggle with doing. The focus here is to really develop those skills that you do well, which are marketable. These are the skills that give you a leading edge.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Become a specialist in the area that you do well. It could be assessments, program planning/ goal writing, an intervention, measuring outcomes, documentation. Be the best you can be in the area that you’re already doing well. You could become a paid consultant or trainer in that area.


  • Chapter 5: get the right job

The main concept: Be self-aware of the job you really want to have. This is the perfect dream job. Be prepared to get that job. Do what you must to be the best person for the job. Go talk to someone that has the job you want and ask them questions on how they got there.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Recreational therapists are pretty self-aware that they want to be a Recreational Therapist. However, they may have future goals. They might want to become a Manger/ program director, a consultant, works with a certain population, or become an educator. Develop the skills you need to become what you want. Take a person out to lunch who is already working in that job and ask them some questions.


  • Chapter 6: the future belongs to the competent

The main concept: Those who produce results get the job and keep the job. Be competent in communication: written (typing documentation, emailing, writing official reports), speaking: to groups, patients, customers, and other people). Be a good listener to find out what they (boss, customers, patients) need and deliver it/ produce it/ create it, make it happen.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Identify the competencies needed to be in the top of your field. Consider getting specialty certifications. Continue to grow and develop your competencies. The skills you have today might not be the skills you’ll need in the future. Stay current of what is happening in the profession.


  • Chapter 7: double your productivity

The main concept: Identify the jobs and tasks that must be completed. Make a list of those responsibilities. Do the biggest, toughest, or most important ones first. Be disciplined to work hard and get the job done.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Identify what your employer wants you to do and do it. Manage your time well. Constantly be productive and producing. Of course, on your own leisure time, be sure to identify areas you want to grow and improve. Constantly work on improvement there too. Be disciplined to go the extra mile, learn more, and specialize.


  • Chapter 8: practical project management

The main concept: Do projects one at a time. Be sure to identify the results that are needed or the outcomes. Write it down and outline it. Decide who on the team is going to be helping is responsible for each part. Lead the team to success.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: What project are you working on? Danny Pettry: One of my big projects this time of year is the Holiday Play. We start the first day of November. What is the play going to be? What kids in the program will do which part? Who will help with costumes? Who will help with make-up? Who will help the kid learn the lines? Who will help with rehearsals? About mid-December, we deliver a wonderful holiday performance for patient families and administration. We plan ahead to identify therapy treatment goals for each kid as well (interpersonal skills, cognitive skills, affect regulation skills, self-esteem) and many other skills that are measurable and accomplished via the holiday performance. Recreational therapists can do projects and develop their own leadership skills.


  • Chapter 9: put people first

The main concept: People are important. Develop your interpersonal skills to the best they can be. All people want to feel validated, important, and worthwhile, included, affirmed, and have some sense of control in their own lives.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Recreational therapists work in the human service field. They are probably pretty apt towards having good people skills. As a reminder, be friendly to all people you meet (at work) and in your personal life too. I doubt any RTs need that reminder. One day any person (neighbor, the facility maintenance/ Gardner, etc.) might have what you want or need. Ethics reminder: that we never take anything or use patients for our own gain.


  • Chapter 10: powerful problem solving and decision-making

The main concept: Be an effective problem solver. Identify the problem. Identify the solutions. Seek feedback from others. Implement.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: This sounds a lot like the Recreational Therapy process. Assess the situation (identify the target problem). Collaborate with the treatment team to get therapy goals. Implement the recreational therapy interventions to get the problem-solved. Evaluate the outcomes. Recreational therapists are can be very marketable in other professions too with their ability to go in and assess a situation, prepare a plan, implement the plan, and evaluate the results. That same process could be used for rec therapists for personal self-development as well.


  • Chapter 11: get paid more and promoted faster

The main concept: This chapter focuses on dressing for success. Being able to ask for what you want (like a pay increase). It has a large focus on continuing to learn and grown and double your professional knowledge and skills.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Recreational therapists can continue their education in many ways (like my online program NCTRC requires recreational therapists to earn continuing education units that are based on TR knowledge areas. However, do not limit yourself to that alone. Continue to grow and develop other skills (above and beyond that what is required for certification) that could enhance your skills and knowledge as well.


  • Chapter 12: perception is everything

The main concept: Develop the right mindset. Gain and demonstrate a positive mental attitude. Be grateful. Meet new people. Continue to develop your skill set.


Thoughts for Recreational Therapists: Learn about improving your own attitude (even if you already have a positive attitude). Continue to meet people (professional conferences), attend and participate in your own town or county local events. Advocate for Recreational Therapy on your own time (public speaking) and you’ll also be getting your own name out there.



Tracy (2012) offered a lot of tips that are useful towards getting the job a person really wants to have (often which has a higher salary) or getting paid the maximum salary possible. Tracy’s suggestions are fairly simple. They consist of denying the job you want and the salary you want. Identify what skills, knowledge, and competencies are needed for that position. Gain those skills. Be a hard-working person who produces results and outcomes. Over deliver by doing more than what you’re expected. Demonstrate a positive attitude. Be people friendly. Network and grow. Go for it.



Tracy, B. (2012). Earn what you’re really worth: maximize your income at any time in any market. Philadelphia, PA: Vanguard Press

Competent employees are given more work duties (and they are stressed about it)


There was an interesting article by Bouree Lam in The Atlantic (based on research) (2015, May 22) that indicates that competent people are assigned more work duties.  Bourbee points that that it often causes additional stress on the high-performing employee. Bourbee points that that that the competent person is not always rewarded financially for those efforts and argues that mangers should compensate their high-performing employees.

Danny Pettry thoughts: I argue that the high performing employee very well “IS” being compensated more (over the long-run). The economy goes up and down. Sometimes employees are let go. I imagine those drivers (hard-workers) are going to be the ones that will turn out on top (keeping jobs and salary) and probably more apt to be the ones who will obtain new jobs (salary again) if they had to be let go or if the company closed. These drivers obtain the knew jobs because they have already built a Brand Name for themselves as in “Jennifer” is already well-known as being a hard-working, competent, person who gets results. In conclusion: it is stressful. Do the work. Make a great impact on the world. One day when you look back, you’ll more apt be satisfied with what you’ve done. Deal with the stress of being assigned more.

Danny Pettrys advice: Quote: “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

Continuing your education and continue building your skills. The knowledge and skills you have today may be okay. However, the world is always changing. Go ahead and learn more to be prepared.

Danny Pettry: My tip for Recreational Therapy mangers: compensate more if you have the power to do so. I’d also like to point out that a lot of research based indicates that pay (extrinsic rewards)  for performance is not always the most effective. Intrinsic motivation is the real key to results. Read Daniel Pink’s Drive or Decie and Flaste’s why we do what we do. Rec Therapy mangers could give small tokens of appreciation: a pizza party, a small gift card from amazon, or other creative things.

The article can be found here: 

Ptarmigan West’s “Recreation Therapy Learning Opportunities”


Ptarmigan West’s “Recreation Therapy Learning Opportunities”
Barbara Bond-Howard, MA, CTRS/R
Ptarmigan West has been about  education ever since July, 1990.  We have educated thousands of students across the United States and Canada with our video/DVD series.  More recently we have been about seminars and on-line learning opportunities for continuing education for re-certification.  Specialty Certification has come to Recreation Therapists and most people say they find it difficult to get enough CEUs in the area of their specialty and therefore, do not pursue it.  We wanted to help with that and provide cost effective CEUs for our field.
Our live seminars are always small groups of 10-18 therapists where we tackle difficult topics. They are full day classes.  Current classes of topics  & locations can be found at:
Our on-line classes are both lecture and self-study.  They are completed on a platform that lets you watch a video and then complete homework.  All homework assignments are web-based and we fully embrace the idea the  “E-Learning Manifesto” which says that CEUs done on-line should give the learner an opportunity to use the internet to go deeper into a topic thereby becoming more fully vested in the learning opportunity.  Just like on social media you might lose track of time by clicking and reading, your  CEU classes should help you become engrossed in what you have just been learning about.  Our aim is by the time you finish each class, you will go away with something that you can immediately use with your patients or residents.  It’s an opportunity to fall back in love with your profession.  You know, the reason you went in to this field to begin with.
I know, I’m a bit of an “education junkie” myself.  I typically have over 100 CEU hours at my certification renewal time.  I find that taking classes keeps me from burning out.  It gives me new ways to look at doing “the same thing”.  I remember a few decades ago, before the internet was a viable option, when I got my last CEU 2 weeks before my renewal.  I sweated that one out as I waited and waited for some CEU opportunity to show itself that was priced reasonably.   Times have changed.  There are many opportunities now.  My hope for you as you take classes is that it’s not just a CEU that you need for re-certification..  These opportunities  should:
  1. help you get better at your profession.
  2. create a new opportunity to do the same thing in a different way.
  3. learn something new that excites you.
  4. remind you why you wanted to become a recreation therapist
I love teaching.  I love learning.  There’s something in both of these that gives my life energy.  Life is very full:  Family, friends, work, and play.   Don’t let CEUs exist because you HAVE to have them, but rather, because you CAN have them.   You can find Ptarmigan West’s on-line classes at