Professional Development

NRPA is dedicated to providing learning opportunities to advance the development of best practices and resources that make parks and recreation indispensable elements of American communities.

Whether you’re a park and recreation professional, student in the field, concerned citizen, or your business is associated with the park and recreation field, NRPA offers a wealth of professional development resources aimed at helping you successfully integrate the three pillars of conservation, health and wellness, and social equity.

Certification Programs

Certification – It’s the professional thing to do! NRPA is committed to creating and maintaining the global gold standard in the parks and recreation profession by providing certification programs that reflect the increasingly complex nature of the parks and recreation field. NRPA currently administers four certification programs: Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP), Certified Park and Recreation Executive (CPRE), Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) and Aquatic Facility Operator (AFO).

Online Learning

NRPA offers webinars and more than 30 online courses that cover topics of vital importance to parks and recreation professionals. Online learning offers a convenient and affordable way to fulfill your education needs without leaving your home or office. In addition, NRPA’s Knowledge Center is full of plans, guides, white papers and other resources from around the country and is available free to NRPA members.

Academic and Agency Accreditation

NRPA administers two accreditation programs.

The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA)

CAPRA accredits park and recreation agencies for excellence in operation and service.  CAPRA Standards provide an authoritative assessment tool for agencies.  CAPRA accreditation provides independent evaluation against established benchmarks delivering a high level of quality.

The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT)

COAPRT accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the United States and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada, and Mexico.

Conferences and Schools

NRPA offers a wide variety of in-person educational conferences, including five content-based schools, the NRPA Innovation Labs and the NRPA Annual Conference.