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.