Accreditation in therapeutic recreation began with undergraduate competencies identified in 1975 through the Council on Accreditation (COA) sponsorship by the National Recreation and Park Association. This article chronicles the adjustments in these original standards. Accreditation criteria are at the heart of defining entry-level professional competencies in the profession of therapeutic recreation while also being used as quality indicators of academic programs. Therapeutic recreation was the first specialization recognized by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions [(COAPRT) formerly COA] during the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, while undergoing enhancements and expansion, controversy arose over the relevance of recreation-based criteria and the ability of the standards to bring consistency to professional preparation. Subsequently, during the first decade of the 21st century, researchers and conference attendees explored alternative accreditation programs. The latest revision in the COAPRT program reflects the scope of therapeutic recreation practice and presents learner outcomes, an expectation of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Guidelines for programs to develop relevant student outcomes are outlined as indicators of quality.
Author Marcia Jean Carter, Ramon B. Zabriskie, Lynn Anderson, Maridith Janssen
Volume Vol 47, No 3 (2013)