Certification is the term applied to the process whereby an individual voluntarily submits credentials for review based on identified competencies, criteria or standards. The primary purpose of certification is to ensure that personnel employed in park, recreation and leisure services meet high standards of performance.

The National Recreation and Park Association instituted a national certification plan in 1981. The purposes of this plan include:

  • To establish national standards for certification in the recreation, park resources and leisure service profession
  • To provide recognition of individuals who have qualified
  • o afford a guarantee to employers that certified personnel have attained stated education and experience qualifications.

Certification is one way to achieve individual recognition, enhance self esteem, and gain respect of parks and recreation peers and the public. Certification enhances the credibility of the individual and the profession as well as providing a reward system for those individuals who achieve a high level of professionalism. ARPA adheres to the NRPA and AAPRA certification plans and encourages professionalism through certification.

NRPA Conference is October 10-12, 2023.  Let us know if you are attending.

2023 NRPA Phone List


Agency Accreditation

Nearly 200 million people use local park & recreation services annually to enhance their physical and social well-being, all of them seeking the highest-quality recreation experiences possible. The National Committee on Accreditation for Public Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) was formed in 1989 by the American Academy for Park & Recreation Administration (AAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), with support from Michigan State University and the National Recreation Foundation, to develop a pilot program. CAPRA developed the standards and procedures, conducted the pilot program including training visitors, and recommended the final version of the standards and procedures. The commission formally adopted the accreditation program and its standards and procedures, and is now fully responsible for the administration of the program.

Aquatic Facility Operator Course

The AFO program is an advanced, state-of-the-art educational training program for those persons managing and operating aquatic facilities. The AFO program is fast becoming the leading training opportunity for pool operators and aquatic facility managers in the United States and to date has certified more than 11,000 aquatic facility operators in the program’s 14 years of existence.  Register Now

Certified Playground Safety Inspector

Being a certified playground safety inspector (CPSI) enables one to inspect and perform audits on playgrounds nationwide. The criteria for which are learned in a two-day course and are set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Certification is good for a period of three years.

Next Arkansas Exam May 15-17, 2019

NRPA Webinars

NRPA is dedicated to providing high quality and relevant education in a timely and convenient manner. Take advantage of the opportunity to catch a free webinar you may have missed. Video recordings of all free webinars are available for you to watch at your convenience. Link is http://www.nrpa.org/Content.aspx?id=2510