In 2009, a task force was established to work toward licensure for recreation therapy in California. The purpose of licensure is to protect consumers and to regulate the practice of recreation therapy.  Recreation therapy practice is already licensed in four states.  Many more states and Canadian provinces are also pursuing licensure.

Efforts to achieve the goal of licensure in California are supported by the following:

  • Faculty and students in the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, & Parks Management
  • California State University, Chico
  • California Parks and Recreation Society
  • American Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification
  • California Board of Recreation and Parks Certification


In Spring 2009, the RT Section of the California Parks and Recreation Society voted unanimously to establish a task force to pursue licensure of recreation therapy. A call for individuals interested in serving on the task force was made during the 2009 Institute as well as in the RT Newsline. Several practitioners, educators, consumers, and retirees responded. They have been working diligently for the past two years attending monthly meetings and bi-annual retreats. This report summarizes accomplishments, current action items, and future action items.


State-wide survey

The purpose of the survey was to perform a job analysis of recreation therapy and to determine the feasibility of licensure. Over 500 people responded with well over the majority in favor of pursuing licensure for recreation therapy. Based on the support of the RT profession to seek licensure, the task force has continued their work.

Scope of practice

Scopes of practice from states with licensure were reviewed. After a lengthy discussion, a draft was completed and will be included in the bill.

Review of existing RT licensure bills

Bills from other states (New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Utah, and North Carolina) were reviewed and analyzed. Attention to specific areas such as Definitions, RT Assistants, RT Aides, Standards of Practice, Prohibition on Unauthorized Practice, Eligibility for Licensure, and Renewal of License were discussed. A draft is currently being revised.

Educational Materials/Sessions

PowerPoint presentations were created to be used during educational sessions. These presentations will be aimed at a variety of audiences including practitioners, students, and the general public.

A “Frequently Asked Questions on Licensure” has been developed and will be disseminated at public meetings.

A CSU RT Consortium has been completed. This allows professionals to take the necessary coursework to become licensed.


A budget was developed and accepted for the remainder of 2010. Items include travel & lobbying costs, slick folders for legislators, marketing materials, pins or buttons to wear, and pens to be distributed to promote the bill.


Several ideas will be used to generate funds for licensure. They include:

  • Donations (through an installment plan)
  • Adding a request for donation on each conference/workshop registration
  • Collaborate with political action committee of CPRS
  • Host a fundraising dinner at CPRS conference
  • Add a donation box to check at the bottom of each membership application
  • Provide a donation box at the RT Institute and CPRS conference
  • Communicate with other agencies (BATRA, Special Olympics, Easter Seals, etc.) to request funding
  • Solicit volunteers and other populations to educate the public and raise funds
  • Host a fun run which could be organized by RT students
  • Get involved in TR week to promote task force’s efforts
  • Conduct rallies at the capitol to educate the public about RT

For more information about volunteering, visit our Volunteer page!

Marketing Strategies/Tools

A variety of marketing strategies and tools have been identified

  • Licensure logo was created to be used on materials
  • Buttons and pens will be disseminated at the RT Institute to promote licensure


  • Obtain statements from CBRPC, ATRA, NCTRC, and NTRS
  • Update Title protection packet to be shared with sponsors/lobbyists
  • Identify list of states pursuing licensure
  • Identify marketing strategies & tools to be implemented
  • Explore cost to cover licensure fee for applicants
  • Meet with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Department of Mental Health (DMH)
  • Create a list of tasks for non-task force members
  • Draft letter for multi-campus project (student-sponsored fun run @ Institute to raise awareness and funds)


  • Educate lobbyist about RT bill
  • Identify bill sponsors and co-signers
  • Conduct presentations at conferences/workshops
  • Finalize bill
  • Get bill to sponsor
  • In-service Senators and Assembly on key committees
  • Develop data base of supporters for bill
  • Testify in Senate committee
  • Identify consumers, insurance providers, allied therapists, family members, etc. to provide testimonies and/or write letters
  • Prepare to respond to key issues in sub-committees
  • Make necessary amendments
  • Get date to go before full Senate
  • In-service representative on key committees
  • Testify in the House

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