Certification Details

Purposes of the VRPS Certification Plan

The purposes of the Society's Certification plan are to establish standards for certification in the recreation, park resources, and leisure service profession to provide recognition of individuals who have qualified, and to afford a guarantee to employers that certified personnel have attained stated education and experience qualifications.

This certification plan meets the minimum qualifications of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Individuals certified under this plan thus qualify for inclusion in the National Roster of certified recreation, park resources, and leisure service personnel.

Certification Glossary


 The process by which an agency or organization evaluates and recognizes a program of study or institution as meeting certain predetermined qualifications or standards. 
          o NRPA/AALR accredited:  Recreation, park resources and leisure services baccalaureate degree programs accredited by the Council on Accreditation sponsored by the National Recreation and Park Association in cooperation with the American Association for Leisure and Recreation.
          o Regionally accredited educational institution:  An institution of higher education accredited by a Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA) regional accrediting agency.  


     The process by which a non-governmental agency or association grants recognition to an individual who has met certain predetermined qualifications specified by that agency or association.  For  purposes of this plan,  certification encompasses the "Model Certification Plan for Recreation, Park, Resources, and Leisure Service Personnel" established by the NRPA National Certification Board.  

CPRP Examination

     The national examination for Certified Park & Recreation Professionals administered by the NRPA National Certification Board.  

Full-time experience/employment

     Shall be defined by the following characteristics:           
          o 30 hours or more per week employment in a recreation, park resources, and leisure service position; and
          o primary source of income; and
          o cumulative experience requirement met within twice the time (i.e., accumulated time for a two (2) year experience requirement must be within a four (4) year period maximum); and
          o experience is counted only after receipt of the degree or diploma.


     The process of becoming certified again in the NRPA Model Certification Plan after previous certification has lapsed or been withdrawn.  

Renewal of Certification

     The process of maintaining certification.

Who is Eligible?

Any individual who meets the qualifications stated herein shall be eligible for certification under the Certification Plan without consideration of race, creed, sex, age or handicapping condition, whether employed under public, quasi-public, or private auspices.

Note: Therapeutic recreation personnel may be certified under this plan.   In addition, an applicant may elect that a specialization in therapeutic recreation be noted if National Certification has previously been awarded by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification and official documentation of same is furnished with this application.

CPRP Qualifications

Those with this credential have qualified by achieving any one of the following combinations of education and experience.

  • A bachelor's degree from an NRPA/AALR Accredited Program verified by official transcript, and successful completion of the CPRP Examination; OR
  • A bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited education institute (without NRPA/AALR accreditation), verified by official transcript, with a major in recreation, park resources and leisure services and no less than 1 year of full-time experience in a recreation, park resources and leisure service position following the degree, and successful completion of the CPRP examination; OR
  • A bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited education institution, verified by official  transcript, with a major other than recreation, park resources and leisure services and no less than five years of full-time experience in a recreation, park resources and leisure position following the degree, and successful completion of the CPRP examination.
  • High School Diploma, equivalency certificate, or Associates Degree from a regionally accredited institution, verified by official transcript/documentation; have no less than five years full time experience in a recreation, park resources, and leisure services position following the diploma/degree; and pass the CPRP examination.
  • Students who have not yet graduated from an NRPA accredited program with a major in recreation, park resources, and leisure services, but are in their final semester, may be able to qualify for exam status.  Students may complete the CPRP exam prior to the completion of the intership requirement and academic degree attainment.  Certification may be granted upon passing the CPRP exam and after submission of official transcript/documentation verifying graduation.  All students must apply directly through NRPA.


CPRP National Exam

The examination is designed to assess the core knowledge of job-related tasks common to entry-level professionals. The examination is administered under the auspices of the NRPA National Certification Board.

The exam is offered year-round, Monday-Friday, two sittings a day (AM & PM), and has a fee of $195. The exam is administered via computerized testing at designated Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing centers.

The computerized test is comprised of: 10 sample questions to familiarize yourself with the computer (not scored);

  • 150 test questions, including 125 upon which your score will be based, and 25 randomly inserted questions that will not be scored but are being validated for possible exam use
  • Categories include management (41 questions), programming (49 questions), and operations (35 questions).
Three hours are allowed for completion of the exam. Approximate passing score is 70%, or within a few points of 85, and test results are provided to you on-site. You will receive a separate score per content area, and a total score. You will not be provided individual question results.

For a current list of testing facilities visit www.nrpa.org

Why Become Certified?

Attainment of certification assures employers that certified personnel: meet prescribed education, experience and continuing education requirements have shown a dedication to their chosen profession through voluntary certification. Increasingly, employers are listing certification as a desirable element of employment. On a larger scale, the certified practitioner raises the quality of service nationwide and aids in public recognition of the profession.

How Do I Become Certified?

  1. Graduate with a degree in recreation, parks, or leisure services from a nationally accredited college/university and obtain final transcript. Degrees in other majors or from a non-accredited college/university must be accompanied with full-time experience.
  2. Tour www.vrps.com for Certification information and applications AND Review NRPA CPRP Examination Canditate Handbook from www.nrpa.org
  3. Complete new certification application, request transcript from school and letter from employer if experience is to be proven.
  4. Contact NRPA or VRPS with questions
  5. Mail completed application with fee, transcript(s) and letter(s) to NRPA or apply online at www.nrpa.org 
  6. Await the review process (appox. 45 days)
  7. Receive eligibility results and Exam Application and instructions from NRPA
    Study! Study! Study! Go to www.nrpa.org/store to purchase Study Guide
  8. Schedule exam with Testing Company
  9. Take CPRP exam
  10. Receive exam results and CPRP credentials
  11. Congratulations you’re a CPRP! Receive CPRP certificate from NRPA
  12. Notify VRPS of passing exam to update your records!

Staying Certified

As evidence of continued professional development, continuation of certification shall be required and shall be contingent upon completion of a minimum of two (2) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or two hours of academic course credit from an accredited college/university in each twenty-four month period from the date of initial certification or re-certification. An application and the required fee for continued certification must be submitted by the applicant to the Professional Certification Board within 90 days following the anniversary date of certification.  Failure to satisfactorily document successful completion of these requirements with ninety (90) days of the anniversary date of certification shall result in the withdrawal of certification.  PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL CEU'S AND ACADEMIC COURSES MUST BE COMPLETED DURING THE 24 MONTH RENEWAL PERIOD AND MUST MEET CURRENT STANDARDS. A MINIMUM OF .1 CEU'S MUST HAVE BEEN AWARDED FOR EACH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM SUBMITTED.  THERE IS NO LIMIT OR MAXIMUM NUMBER OF CEU'S AWARDED FOR EACH EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM PROVIDED IT MEETS CURRENT IACET STANDARDS.

NRPA Certification Links

New and Renewal Applications for CPRP are available from NRPA at www.NRPA.org

Certification Program Page

Professional Service Form