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Q: Education needed to become an Activities Assistant ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Education needed to become an Activities Assistant
Category: Reference, Education and News > Job and Careers
Asked by: baska-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 27 Mar 2004 22:17 PST
Expires: 26 Apr 2004 23:17 PDT
Question ID: 321221
I have a BA in Criminal Justice but now wish to pursue a career as an
Activities Assistant in a nursing home or retirement community
(helping with the spiritual and mental health of seniors through arts,
crafts, recreation, etc).  I need to know whether I can complete some
short program to become
certified or if I need to go back to school for another degree.  Also, which
colleges in Illinois, specifically Chicago or surrounding burbs offer
these courses?

Much thanks!

Clarification of Question by baska-ga on 02 Apr 2004 16:25 PST
*Therapeutic Recreation Assistant programs
Subject: Re: Education needed to become an Activities Assistant
Answered By: loopaction-ga on 03 Apr 2004 08:18 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Employers are always subject to set up their own guidelines to which
they choose to hire as an activities assistant based upon their needs.

To find the answer to your question I started at
which is the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification
or better known as the NCTRC.
The NCTRC is a much wanted certification as the "NCTRC's certification
program was accredited by NOCA's National Commission for Certifying
Agencies. NCTRC certification program parallels the standards followed
in medicine by the American Board of Medical Specialties and by other
related professions such as the National Board for the Certification
of Occupational Therapy Board and the Certification Board for Music
Their book of information and standards for application and
certification is 54 pages long and is available at  .
 - It is very long and detailed but thorough. There are multiple paths
to certification. Either formal education in Therapeutic Recreation or
work experience with some classes, about 18 hours in therapeutic

Through The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability I found the following
"Currently, universities offering four-year degree programs in TR can
be found in 40 U.S. states. Degree requirements include a 360-hour
internship under the supervision of a certified TRS. Courses taken
outside of the major usually include but are not limited to: anatomy
and physiology; psychology; and medical terminology."

To find a program that suits your needs, I typed in "Therapeutic
Recreation programs Chicago".
This is what I found. The Therapeutic
Recreation website lists all colleges that offer a program in TR.

Aurora University seemed to be the closest program to you.  To get more information
you will need to contact them at .
Because you already have a degree, your situation will be unique as
many of the classes you have already taken may count toward your new
degree. You may only have to take the "specialty" classes for this

To become certified, you will have to meet the minimum hour
requirements set by the NCTRC. The listing of colleges I have linked
for you are all the schools whose programs are "approved" and will
lead you toward certification.

In addition to contacting these schools and learning how your existing
degree may help you toward completing your new goals, look for
volunteer opportunities at your local hospital or possibly a MRDD
center. It would be a great way to log hours for experience and to
confirm that this is the career you want to have.  The DHS of Illinois
can be found at
There website has a lot of information about the types of services the
city provides and has links to opportunities that may apply to you.
You may find that by calling them direct will be the fastest way to
obtain the information you seek.
Best of Luck.
baska-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thanks for the links to the schools.  I do not want to become a
certified activities director but their assistant.  I must have read a
type-o about a 75 hour training course for it.  Thanks regardless

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