Sunday, May 7, 2017

I’m still Proud to be a CTRS

 Anyone who holds a professional certification knows that eventually it will be time to renew that certificate, so when I got the email reminder that it was recertification time again I was not overly surprised.  Even though it felt like only minutes, five years had quickly passed since my last renewal.  In the field of recreational therapy, we have a 5-year recertification cycle that requires certified recreational therapy professionals to complete a combination of professional work experience and continuing education or a certification examination to ensure continuing professional competence in the field. 

Even though I have not actively worked in the field of recreational therapy in the last 12 years, being a recreational therapist is a huge part of my life and my identity.  I am extremely proud of my years working as a recreational therapist as well as my years serving in leadership positions in not only my state recreational therapy organization, but also in the American Therapeutic Recreation Association as a member of the board of directions and past president.  Recreational therapy provided me with professional skills that I still use today in my teaching career.  Despite the cost and effort involved, I decided that I really wanted to do what it takes to maintain my certification.  I was so proud to receive my CTRS all those many years ago, and I am still very proud to hold that title. 

I am extremely lucky to have a supportive husband, so when I explained that I wanted to keep my certification and I would need to take a test, and it would cost a few hundred dollars, my hubby was completely supportive. 

I do admit, I was nervous.  Although I had taken the test twice before for recertification, I have not worked in the field for over 10 years and I am getting older, so I wasn’t as confident in my abilities.  I pulled out my old RT textbooks and began studying.  I completed several practice exams, and identified the areas where I needed to focus my studying.  I was amazed at the range of online resources that are now available.  I found quizlets that others had made, I reviewed terminology, and I planned some specific study time. 

The day of the test arrived and I will admit I was nervous.  I have always had confidence in my clinical skills as a recreational therapist, and I worked in a wide variety of settings, but that was a long time ago. I was very worried that my fifty-year-old memory and retention might be a struggle. 

I pushed back my fear and walked into the testing center.  A friendly but professional staff checked me in and showed me to my computer terminal – This was it, time for all that studying to pay off.  I began to review the questions, and while a few challenged my memory, I read through each one and felt confident in my responses, and yet……..when I realized I had come to the last question I felt that lurch in my stomach as I hit the submit button.  Those few seconds felt like an eternity until the computer screen updated to proudly boast that I had passed!

I am officially a CTRS for 5 more years.

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