Are you wondering what the difference is between TRO’s designations (R/TRO and R/TRO DIP) and the CTRS© credential offered through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)?  If you answer Yes”, you are likely not alone!

Let us explore some similarities and differences among TRO’s registration designations and NCTRC’s certification credential.

What do they have in common?

They all:

  • Set a standard of excellence within the profession
  • Are recognized among various employers in Ontario
  • Are voluntary; no legislation dictates that practitioners need to have one or the other
  • Represent continuing professional development
  • Have academic and work experience pathways

  • Are awarded to individuals who meet specified educational and practical experience criteria
  • Have 5-year cyclical maintenance processes in place
  • Provide guidance to employers about qualifications of an RT
  • Address recognized standards of practice within the profession
  • Non-profit organizations

How do they differ?


  • Registration*
  • Requires applicants to meet standards of excellence in 4 areas: education, experience, professional affiliations, professional contributions
  • Is an application process only (no examination)
  • Provincial designation
  • Takes into consideration a CTRS credential in the application process
  • Granted through the provincial association
  • Recognizes both university and college prepared practitioners
  • Highlights professional contributions to the profession over and above educational and practical experiences to be eligible for application
  • Requires 25 hours of continuing education on a 5 year cycle for designation maintenance

  • Certification*
  • Requires applicants to meet the specified education and experience and then pass an exam
  • International certification
  • Is an accredited certification organization with accountability to the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) which is part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE)
  • Does not recognize diploma –prepared practitioners
  • Tests entry level knowledge for practice in therapeutic recreation
  • Endorsed by the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association (CTRA)
  • Requires 50 hours of continuing education on a 5 year cycle for credential maintenance



For more information about TRO registration designations visit:

For more information about the certification with NCTRC visit:

Did you know?

  • R/TRO/TRO DIP means an individual is registered with Therapeutic Recreation Ontario
  • The R/TRO DIP was formulated to showcase the second educational pathway (other than degree) that is available to TR practitioners within Ontario AND that TRO needed to define this pathway in support of advocating for the diploma prepared practitioners
  • The TRO designations offer an academic pathway (Path A) to students from schools that have voluntary submitted their curriculum for review in Sept 2015 and beyond.  This means that those students have the opportunity to make up all of their practical experience hours during placements without needing to gain additional points in work experience post-graduation.
  • CTRS applicants can submit for their registration with TRO at a reduced cost and fewer supporting documents provided they produce a copy of their current certification with NCTRC
  • CTRS stands for Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and is the credential granted through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification – it cannot be interchanged with CTRA which is our Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association

Established in 1999, Therapeutic Recreation Ontario (TRO) is the only professional association that represents Therapeutic Recreation practitioners in the province.

Read More

Quick Links

Social Media