NCTRC Practice Test

Qualified professionals who are interested in earning the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) credential must pass the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) exam. For more than 35 years, the CTRS credential has been recognized as the highest certification in the field of recreational therapy. The CTRS certification is available in the United States and Canada, as well as 15 other countries.

NCTRC Study Guide

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The NCTRC exam, which is typically offered every two months, requires applicants to demonstrate a foundational knowledge of disabling conditions, as well as proper practices in recreational therapy. Many accredited organizations, federal agencies, and employers use the CTRS credential as a benchmark, while some states require this credential for state licensure. The NCTRC is accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which is the most recognized accrediting organization in healthcare.


The NCTRC exam is offered six times a year and tests applicants’ knowledge on a wide range of patient illnesses and standard industry practices. Applicants will have 3 hours to take the exam. There are 150 questions, including questions that are used for statistical data that do no impact your final score. The non-scored questions are presented randomly throughout the test. At the end of the exam, applicants will receive their pass or fail score report.

NCTRC Eligibility Requirements

Before applicants can take the NCTRC exam, they must satisfy one of the following paths.

Academic Path

  • Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university or college, a major in recreation or leisure with an option in therapeutic recreation or a major in therapeutic recreation. An official transcript is required.
  • Applicants must meet requirements for professional and supportive coursework.
  • Applicants must complete an internship supervised by a CTRS, with a minimum of 14 weeks/560 hours.

Applicants may apply for the exam prior to degree completion with the following requirements:

  • Enrolled in a degree program for Recreational Therapy (meeting NCTRC standards)
  • Completed a minimum of 90 credit hours
  • Completed requirements for professional and supportive coursework

Applicants must complete internship requirements prior to receiving the CTRS certification.

Equivalency Path A

  • Applicants must complete at least 5 years of full-time paid work experience in recreational therapy
  • Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Applicants must meet the professional and supportive coursework requirements

Equivalency Path B

  • Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Applicants must meet the professional and supportive coursework requirements
  • Applicants must complete at least 1 year of full-time paid work experience in recreational therapy, supervised by a CTRS

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NCTRC Application Process and Fees

After completing the requirements for the academic path, equivalency path A, or equivalency path B, applicants can apply for the exam on the NCTRC website. If the application is approved, applicants can schedule their test appointment at a Prometric test site. The exam is offered 6 times a year, with a two-week window to schedule and take the test.

The exam registration fee is $325 and the exam reschedule fee is $25. If you haven’t completed your degree, you may submit your coursework early for review. The fee is a $125. The fee to submit an application for professional eligibility is $100.

If you are a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), each year (for the 5-year certification cycle), you must submit the annual maintenance fee, which is $80.

Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) Specialization Areas

The CTRS specialized areas give professionals an opportunity to demonstrate their skills in specific areas of recreational therapy. There are many ways to earn this specialty credential including education courses, conferences, and acquiring skills through experience. Just like the CTRS certification, the specialty credential is valid for 5 years. The following are the CTRS Specialization Areas.

  • Adaptive Sports and Recreation. This area includes skills related to coaching and training disabled patients in competitive and recreational sports.
  • Behavioral Health. This area explores the skills related to assisting patients with mental, emotional, and cognitive disabilities.
  • Community Inclusion Services. This area includes skills related to assisting a variety of population groups, with specific conditions and illnesses.
  • Developmental Disabilities. This area includes skills related to disabilities and conditions that manifest before adulthood, and impact at least 3 major life functions.
  • Geriatrics. This area includes the skills related to assisting older adults with psychological, physical, and social disabilities.
  • Pediatric. This area includes skills necessary for assisting children with social skills-related conditions.
  • Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation. This area includes skills related to assisting patients with conditions such as stroke, brain injury, and neuromuscular skeletal disorders.

NCTRC Exam Topics

The NCTRC exam consists of 6 content areas found below.

  • Foundational Knowledge (20%). Examples include human development stages, code of ethics, and disorders.
  • Assessment Process (19%). Examples include assessment instruments, types, and procedures.
  • Documentation (18%). Examples include intervention plans, behavioral objectives, and assessment results.
  • Implementation (26%). Examples include risk management, intervention techniques, and safety concerns.
  • Administration of TR/RT Service (10%). Examples include intern and volunteer management, facility equipment management, and policy development.
  • Advancement of the Profession (7%). Examples include public relations, professional organizations and associations, and research activities.

How to prepare for the NCTRC exam

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To prepare you, even more, our test-taking experts also created the Mometrix NCTRC Flashcards. Made with high-quality material, these flash cards are ideal for quizzing and studying on the go!
We look forward to assisting you with your test preparation journey! We wish you the best of luck!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: October 12, 2022