On Getting Advanced Specialization in Recreation Therapy

Guest blog post submitted by Rebecca Halioua

In June of this year, I obtained my Specialty CTRS in Physical
Medicine/Rehabilitation. Acquiring a Specialty CTRS has been a wish of mine since
NCTRC implemented this type of certification. However, I was never really sure that I
could do it, which I’m sure is a feeling many other Recreational Therapists have, so I
never committed it to my list of career goals. Mostly, I didn’t think I could do it because I
didn’t really know enough about it, and I never took the time to reach out to NCTRC to
find out what my options were other than reading the information on their website.
I attended the Southeastern Recreational Therapy Symposium in April where
representatives from NCTRC lead a session on Specialty Certification. I got so much
out of this session that it ignited the spark in me that said “I can do this!” In the weeks
following the conference I printed all the materials from the website and determined that
Path B was the best route for me, as I had already completed my Master’s Degree in
Recreational Therapy Administration and I took specialty courses in Physical Medicine. I
still had questions about the process so I reached out to NCTRC. The staff was
amazingly helpful. I had phone calls and emails with their staff to guide me on things I
wasn’t sure about, they made the whole process very easy.

When I mailed off my application I felt confident that my paperwork was complete
and that I had the appropriate documentation needed, it was just a matter of the
committee determining if I qualified or not so I was still a little nervous. Flash forward to
the day I received that beautiful brown envelope in the mail, I was so excited because I
knew based on the size of it that there was a certificate in there. The first thing I did was
post a photo of it to Facebook of course. It gave me a sense of accomplishment that I
really needed to refuel my tank. I was excited to share the news with my coworkers the
next day, I had not told any of them that I had applied so they were all surprised and
happy for me as well. I am the only one in my workgroup with a Specialty Certification,
and I have been encouraging my peers to take continuing education courses to get
theirs.
My suggestions for anyone who is even remotely interested in getting a Specialty
Certification of their own is to contact NCTRC directly by calling them and see what your
options are. Their staff is incredibly helpful and you may qualify for one without even
realizing it. They will work with you on ways to adjust your regular CTRS renewal and
your Specialty renewal so you can get them on the same renewal date even. If you
don’t qualify for it yet, set a goal for yourself and take the required CEU’s to get yourself
to the qualification standard for Path A. Danny has several courses that can get you
there, and NCTRC can help give you guidance on the types of courses you can look for
to meet the criteria as well. I didn’t do anything special to get this certification, I just
decided that it was something I wanted, so if it is something you want you can do it too.
Good luck!

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