To create opportunity and equitable access to the professional certification programs and to ensure the eligibility requirements remain current, the National Certification Board has approved a revision to the minimum eligibility requirements for the Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) and the Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE) examinations.

The revised eligibility requirements went into effect on January 1, 2023. A 6-month grace period will be implemented until June 30, 2023, during which time applicants for the CPRP or CPRE examinations may qualify under either the revised eligibility requirements or the former eligibility requirements. After June 30, the former eligibility requirements will no longer be a valid means of qualification.

Timeline

  • January 1, 2023: Revised eligibility requirements come into effect
  • January 1 to June 30, 2023: (6-month grace period) Applicants for the CPRP and/or CPRE may qualify under the newly revised eligibility requirements or under the former eligibility requirements
  • July 1, 2023: The former eligibility requirements are no longer a valid means of qualification

Eligibility Requirements

 

CPRP Revised Eligibility Requirements Effective January 1, 2023:

  • Have received or is set to receive* a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by the Council On Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredited program, and successfully pass the CPRP examination; OR
  • Have a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited education institution (from a non-COAPRT accredited program), with a major in recreation, park resources, or a related profession and no less than 1 year of full-time experience** in a recreation, park resources, or a related profession that encompasses each domain of the job analysis; and successfully pass the CPRP examination; OR 
  • Have a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited education institution, with a major other than recreation, park resources, or a related profession and no less than 2 years of full-time experience** in a recreation, park resources, or a related profession that encompasses each domain of the job analysis; and successfully pass the CPRP examination; OR
  • Hold an associate degree from a regionally accredited education institution and no less than 4 years of full-time experience** in a recreation, park resources, or a related profession that encompasses each domain of the job analysis; and successfully pass the CPRP examination; OR
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalency certificate from a regionally accredited institution and no less than 6 years of full-time experience** in a recreation, park resources, or a related profession that encompasses each domain of the job analysis; and successfully pass the CPRP examination. 

*Students who have not yet graduated from a COAPRT-accredited program but are in their final semester may be able to qualify for exam status. They may complete the CPRP exam prior to the completion of the internship requirement and academic degree attainment. Certification may be granted upon passing the CPRP exam and after submission of documentation verifying graduation. All students must apply through the NRPA office.  

** Full-time experience/employment shall be defined by your employer. Alternatives to full-time employment include the following:

  • Part-time equivalent/Seasonal/Temporary Employment experience in a recreation, park resources, or a related profession that encompasses each domain of the job analysis = 1 year of employment is equivalent to 6 months of full-time employment.
  • Consultants – Letters of reference from employers/clients should be equivalent to the needed years of work experience.

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CPRP Eligibility Requirements Effective Until June 30, 2023:

  • Have received or is set to receive* a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by the Council On Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredited program, and pass the CPRP examination; OR
  • Candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited education institution (without COAPRT accreditation), with a major in recreation, park resources, or a related profession and no less than the equivalent of 1-year full-time** experience in a recreation, park resources or a related position, and pass the CPRP examination; OR
  • Candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited educational institution, with a major other than recreation, park resources, or a related profession and no less than the equivalent of 3 years full-time** experience in a recreation, park resources or a related position, and candidate must pass the CPRP examination; OR
  • Candidate must hold an Associate degree from a regionally accredited educational institution, and no less than the equivalent of 4 years of full-time** experience in a recreation, park resources or a related position, and pass the CPRP examination; OR
  • Candidate must hold a high school diploma or equivalency certificate and have no less than the equivalent of 5 years full-time** experience in a recreation, park resources or a related position, and pass the CPRP examination.

*Students who have not yet graduated from a COAPRT-accredited program but are in their final semester on campus may be able to qualify for exam status. They may complete the CPRP exam prior to the completion of the internship requirement and academic degree attainment. Certification may be granted upon passing the CPRP exam and after submission of official transcript/documentation verifying graduation.

** Full-time experience/employment shall be defined by your employer. Alternatives to full-time employment include the following:

  • Part-time equivalent/Seasonal/Temporary Employment experience in a recreation, park resources, or a related profession that encompasses each domain of the job analysis = 1 year of employment is equivalent to 6 months of full-time employment.
  • Consultants – Letters of reference from employers/clients should be equivalent to the needed years of work experience.

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CPRE Revised Eligibility Requirements Effective January 1, 2023:

  • Hold a current Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) Certification, or have held a CPRP certification whose expiration date is within two years of the date of application for the CPRE; AND
  • Hold a master’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited education institution, and 3 years of professional full-time manager experience*; and successfully pass the CPRE examination; OR
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a program accredited by the Council On Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredited program and 4 years of professional full-time manager experience*; and successfully pass the CPRE examination; OR 
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited education institution (from a non-COAPRT accredited program), with a major in recreation, park resources, or a related profession and 5 years of professional full-time manager experience*; and successfully pass the CPRE examination; OR  
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited education institution, with a major other than recreation, park resources, or a related profession and 6 years of professional full-time manager experience*; and successfully pass the CPRE examination; OR 
  • Hold an associate degree from a regionally accredited education institution and 8 years of professional full-time manager experience*; and successfully pass the CPRE examination OR
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalency certificate from a regionally accredited institution and 10 years of professional full-time manager experience*; and successfully pass the CPRE examination.

* Full-time experience/employment shall be defined by your employer. Part-time/Seasonal/Temporary employment not accepted for CPRE.

An individual may be either a CPRP or a CPRE; they cannot maintain both certifications at the same time.

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CPRE Eligibility Requirements Effective Until June 30, 2023:

  • Hold a current Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) Certification, or have held a CPRP certification whose expiration date is within two years of the date of application for the CPRE; AND
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited education institution, and 5 years of professional full-time* manager experience; OR
  • Hold a master’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited education institution, and 4 years of professional full-time* manager experience; AND
  • Successfully pass the CPRE examination.

* Full-time experience/employment shall be defined by your employer. Part-time/Seasonal/Temporary employment not accepted for CPRE.

An individual may be either a CPRP or a CPRE; they cannot maintain both certifications at the same time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the CPRP exam?

Apply online here. All applicants must meet certain education and work history requirements to qualify for the exam. All applications will be reviewed by a member of our staff. If your application is accepted, you will receive an email that provides instructions describing how to schedule your exam. You will have one year to schedule and sit for your exam.

If the application is denied, you will be notified via email and receive a full refund of all application and exam fees.

How do I apply for the CPRE exam?

Apply online here. All applicants must meet certain education and work history requirements to qualify for the exam. All applications will be reviewed by a member of our staff. If your application is accepted, you will receive an email that provides instructions describing how to schedule your exam. You will have one year to schedule and sit for your exam.

If the application is denied, you will be notified via email and receive a full refund of all application and exam fees.

Not a CPRP? Apply for both the CPRP and CPRE exams at the same time for a discounted rate using the CPRP and CPRE Dual Application. Please contact certification@nrpa.org for more information.

What if I don’t qualify?

Applicants who submit a completed initial application and do not qualify will be offered a full refund of their exam and application fees only.

I qualified previously for the CPRP/CPRE but need to reapply. Do I need to meet the new eligibility requirements?

If you previously completed the CPRP or CPRE examination, you are eligible to apply to retake the exam with the Exam-Only Application. You are not required to resubmit your eligibility information or meet the revised eligibility requirements. Not sure if this applies to you? Please email certification@nrpa.org

How do I know if I qualify for the examination?

Please contact certification@nrpa.org.

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