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:

Volunteer with your State and National TR associations! Join ATRA!


Sorry about the blurry image – my old school digital camera is going out.

Karen Bone, CTRS (left in picture above) and Debbie Tiger (M.S., CTRS) (right in picture above)  co-presented on “Benefits of involvement in state and national therapeutic recreation organizations” on Sun. 9/11/16 (10:00 a.m.) at the American Therapeutic Recreation Association annual conference in Chicago.

I had the opportunity to attend this session!

There were very few people in attendance, which I felt discouraging.  I think more people need involved in our associations.

Those who did attend were already highly involved in their state and national organizations.

The speakers were both president-elect for their state associations.

This session focused on:

  • benefits of being involved in organizations (state or national)
  • Barriers to becoming involved

They played an inspirational TED talk on volunteering by Tuan Nguyen , which gave me some great ideas. He argues that giving back and volunteering is a great way to reach your professional goals.

Here is the video:

Here are some of the benefits Nguyen argued that a person receives for volunteering:

It increases:

  • Gratitude
  • Passion
  • Creativity
  • Efficient
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Leadership
  • Positive energy.

Who else wants to those benefits?


Danny Pettry comments: There are two ways you volunteer for your profession. These are : time and money. You can give money to your professional association (membership) and other special causes (buy membership for a student or intern). Donate your time by writing articles, serving on the board, assisting with a conference.


The speakers had completed research through the listserv and contacting associations to get feedback from members.

Here are some benefits for state involvement:

  • Get acknowledgement
  • Combine resources – stronger
  • Discover career opportunities
  • Collaborate on issues
  • Students can discover internships
  • Help work on state policy, laws, licensure,
  • Advocate for clients
  • Gain new skills and perspective
  • Make impact on profession by giving back
  • Network and meet with other professionals.

Here are some benefits for national involvement:

  • Mentor others
  • Develop skills
  • Meaningful lasting friendships
  • Get codes, standards, scope of practice
  • Know what is going on in the profession
  • Network
  • New skills
  • Personal and professional growth
  • Know current practices


Here is a link where you can join ATRA if you haven’t done so already.

Here is an ATRA link with state TR organizations for you to join your state or local area association:

Disclaimers and other notices: I [Danny Pettry] am a lifetime member of ATRA. I’m not hired or paid by the organization. I do volunteer my money (membership) and my time (presenting articles, participating on special committees (public policy and TR month), reviewing Peg Connolly student application essays, write articles for the newsletter, going to the hill to talk to lawmakers in my state about rec therapy. I don’t get paid to do those things. I do it because I love my profession and I want to make a difference. Although my own state, West Virginia disbanded their state branch of ATRA, I am still involved in personally setting up a state conference every two years for recreational therapists in the West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky tristate area.