Township of Westfield, NJ

Somerset County Park System

Professional Credentials

As your parks and recreation programs are essential public services they should be lead by professionals in their field. A profession requires specialized  training and education, a body of knowledge including evidence-based research, Professional Standards and Credentials, and a Code of Ethics. The profession of recreation and parks has all of these. Shouldn’t the leader of this vital  service in your community be a professional?

What degree should they have?
There are baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies. The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredits these programs. These degrees give students in-depth knowledge about programming, financial management, risk management, and other trends and issues related to managing parks, public lands, recreational sports, therapeutic recreation, and inclusion. 

What credentials should they have?
Several professional certification programs are available to Parks and Recreation Professionals.

Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE)
The Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE) establishes a national standard for managerial, administrative and executive parks and recreation professionals. This mastery-level credential focuses on the practical knowledge and current real-world skills necessary in today’s changing park and recreation environment. The CPRE exam is administered by the National Recreation and Park Association.  More information can be found online at National Recreation & Park Association

Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP)
The Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification is the national standard for all parks and recreation professionals who want to be at the forefront of their profession. Attaining the CPRP designation shows that you have met education and experience qualifications, and illustrates your commitment to the profession as well as your knowledge and understanding of key concepts within parks and recreation.
The CPRP exam is administered by the National Recreation and Park Association.  More information can be found online at National Recreation & Park Association

Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI)
The CPSI exam is administered through the National Recreation and Park Association and is hosted in New Jersey by NJRPA.  CPSIs are individuals certified to inspect playgrounds for safety hazards and to ensure compliance with national standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  For information on how to become certified, please click here.

Aquatics Facility Operator (AFO)
The Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO) program is a state-of-the-art 5 year certification for professionals managing and operating aquatic facilities. Individuals who obtain the AFO credential are knowledgeable in the systematic approach to pool operations including pool chemistry, management, pool safety and risk reduction.  For information on how to become certified, please click here.

Certified Pool Operator (CFO)
A Certified Pool Operator is responsible for public pool operations including proper pool chemistry, safety and risk reduction.  The CPO exam is administered through multiple pool operations agencies.  Courses near you can be found online through a Google Search, enter keywords: State of New Jersey, CPO Exam.

(CTRS) Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Offered to qualified individuals by the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), this professional recognition is granted based on education, experience, an exam, and continued professional development. For more information on NCTRC, current standards, and exam dates please go to http://www.nctrc.org

New Jersey Recreation & Park Association |  1 Wheeler Way  Princeton, NJ 08549 

Phone: 609-356-0480 | Fax: 609-356-0475 | Email: info@njrpa.org

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