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Professional Membership Eligibility Criteria

A profession is partially defined as having a commonly held body of knowledge. This body of knowledge becomes the basis for identifying those individuals who are qualified for some form of professional recognition. To become a Professional Member, the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) requires an applicant to have a diploma or bachelor’s degree which meets title, course content and practicum eligibility criteria.

ATRA makes no attempt to prescribe how content is packaged into courses. That remains the choice of the curriculum developers. ATRA does determine the general nature of content that is acceptable to meet the professional membership and registration criteria. To do this, it is necessary for ATRA to deal with titles of courses in their review process. Thus, the titles of courses remain critical in identifying the nature of course content. ATRA does not "read into" or read beyond the titles of courses. Course titles are assumed to reflect the true nature of the course content. Courses must be valued at three credits or higher, with three credits being equal to three lecture hours per week.

Currently, the criteria for Professional Membership in the Alberta Therapeutic Recreation Association is as follows;


A degree or diploma whose title contains ‘recreation therapy’, ‘therapeutic recreation’ or ‘recreation and leisure studies’ from a nationally or internationally accredited post-secondary institution. NOTE: For Recreation Therapists who have been practising for a substantial period of time (generally 5+ years), other health related degree titles may be considered, although extra Therapeutic Recreation specific course work may be required. For new graduates or those new to the profession, a degree or diploma as listed above is required.

Course Content:

 1.) Three Therapeutic Recreation Courses                                                          

A therapeutic recreation content course is a highly structured and     university/college approved course which focuses on the theory and/or philosophy and/or content of the field. The course title must contain the words "Therapeutic Recreation" or  "Recreation Therapy" or refer to Recreation and/or Leisure for Special Populations. While important to the overall preparation of the student, practicum or internship courses do not fulfill the requirement for therapeutic recreation content courses.        


2.)  Three General Recreation Courses       

General recreation course requirements refer to general, not specialty, recreation areas of study. General recreation courses must be theoretical and/or philosophical in nature. The course title must include the words Recreation, Leisure, Play or Leadership. While important to the overall preparation of the student, practicum or internship courses do not fulfil the requirement for general recreation content courses.


3.) Six supportive courses from three clinically related areas

In reviewing the client populations served by Therapeutic Recreation, the  expressive art therapies involved in Therapeutic Recreation, the functional processes involved in Therapeutic Recreation and the clinical skills used in Therapeutic Recreation, the following clinically areas have been determined to be related to Therapeutic Recreation:    

Psychology (General, Abnormal, Educational, Counseling)        

    1. Sociology (Group Dynamics, Leadership, Volunteerism)        
    2. Education (Special, Physical, Early Childhood)        
    3. Therapies (Music, Art, Dance, Drama)        
    4. Health (Health Promotion, Wellness, Health Trends, Community Health, Rehabilitation)        
    5. Aging (Gerontology, Aging, Aging Disorders)        
    6. Medical (Anatomy, Biology, Physiology, Medical Terminology, Pharmacology)        
    7. Research (Statistics, Evaluation, Research Methods)



Applicants who graduated after May 1, 2011 are required to demonstrate completion of a minimum of 320 hours of internship placement/practicum. A minimum of 250 hours of this placement must have a clinical component and be completed under the supervision of a recreation therapist who is a professional member with their provincial therapeutic recreation association.

Applicants must have the supervising Recreation Therapist complete and sign the Practicum/Internship Reporting Form. The signed form must then be submitted with their application for Professional Membership.