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Certification is the term applied to the process whereby an individual voluntarily submits his/her credentials for review based upon clearly identified competencies, criteria or standards. The primary purpose of certification is to ensure that personnel employed in recreation, park resources, and leisure services meet high standards of performance. The National Recreation and Park Association instituted a National Certification Plan in 1981. The purposes of this plan are: to establish national standards for certification in the recreation, park resources, and leisure service profession; to provide recognition of individuals who have qualified; and to afford a guarantee to employers that certified personnel have attained stated education and experience qualifications.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of certification are available?There are currently three categories of certification:
Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP)
Provisional Park and Recreation Professional (PPRP)
Associate Park and Recreation Professional (APRP)
Each category has different education and experience requirements making certification an attainable goal for all people in the recreation, park resources and leisure services field.
How do I become certified?Contact the Utah Recreation and Parks Association for more information. The necessary applications and instructions will be mailed including: certification applications and guidelines and examination applications for those seeking CPRP certification. Complete and return the applications which include a summary of education and experience, your school transcripts, and fee(s) to URPA. Applications will be reviewed by the Professional Certification Board. The applicant will receive notification of approval or disapproval. Provisional Park and Recreation Professional is those who meet the educational qualifications but have insufficient experience to qualify for the CPRP level. The Associate Park and Recreation Professional is those with less than a four-year degree.
What is the National Certification Examination?The examination is one of the principal requirements for certification as a "Certified Park and Recreation Professional". It is designed to assess the core knowledge of job-related tasks common to entry-level professionals. The examination is administered each year under the auspices of the NRPA National Certification Board. The examination is given at each NRPA Congress in October and on the second Saturday in November. Applications must be received by August 15th of each year for either examination.
How is certification maintained?Certification is a continuous process designed to keep the individual current with new developments, techniques and standards of practice in the field. To this end, it is necessary to earn two (2.0) approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or equivalent academic credit in lieu of CEUs during each 24 month certification period.
How can I get more information?The National Certification program is administered by 45 approved State Certification Boards and the NRPA Direct National Certification Program (DNC). Only individuals who reside in states without an NRPA certification plan or those employed by the military or federal government may apply to the DNC. Those states include: Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Minnesota, and Nevada. In addition, the certification programs for Maryland, North Carolina and Texas are administered by NRPA. Contact URPA or NRPA Professional Services Division for more information on where and how you can apply for certification.
Why become certified?Attainment of certification assures employers that certified personnel: meet prescribed education, experience and continuing education requirements have shown a dedication to their chosen profession through voluntary certification. Increasingly, employers are listing certification as a desirable element of employment.On a larger scale, the certified practitioner raises the quality of service nationwide and aids in public recognition of the profession.
"To me, the real value of certification is the continuing education that is needed to retain certification. This keeps the professional up to date in the field. Another value is legal in nature. If your organization is facing a court case, it helps if those involved have CPRP behind their name." Robert Toalson, CPRP General Manager - Champaign Park District Champaign, IL 1991 NRPA President 1995 NRPA Distinguished Professional