Activity Director Online Certification Programs
Learn about online certification programs for activity directors, including required education and work experience. Find details about program options, course topics and online formats here. Schools offering Sports & Recreation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
How Do I Prepare for Activity Director Certification Online?
You can earn the Activity Director Certified (ADC) credential from the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals (NCCAP). Certification requires an educational component, work experience, continuing education and the completion of the Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals (MEPAP) course (described in the next paragraph). The certification process is flexible, as it includes four options with varying work experience requirements commensurate with the candidate's level of collegiate education.
The MEPAP is 360 combined hours of educational and experiential learning required for certification. It is often taught in two parts. The first part, known as MEPAP 1, is a basic course designed for people already employed in an activity program who are seeking activity director certification. The second part, or MEPAP 2, teaches advanced management skills, such as staffing, directing, planning, organization and advocacy. MEPAP 2 includes a field practicum as well.
Course topics you might study in the online activity director programs include gerontology, social systems, sociology of aging, health and fitness, activity service development, management and leadership. The NCCAP doesn't specify a particular field of study for the ADC certification, but it does require you to have completed courses in English, art, activity programming, health sciences and management.
How Do the Online Programs Work?
You can complete the MEPAP through an online certificate in gerontology or activity direction. Programs are entirely online through e-learning software, such as Desire2Learn. You can also earn your certificate partially online and partially in the classroom. Depending on the program, you can take core courses online and complete coursework for a related field at a local college. You'll also complete an internship in your community. Practical training might include observing activities directly, leading resident groups, visiting residents and performing duties usually assigned to the facility's volunteers.
What Background Would Be Helpful in This Field?
Many pursue the ADC credential with educational backgrounds in such areas as business, education and social work, reports the NCCAP (www.nccap.org). Any experience working with the aging population will also be helpful. You'll need to earn CPR certification if you're going to work in this field. Additionally, some states will require that you have training in therapeutic recreation or occupational therapy. This training can be a degree program or on-the-job experience in an aging, handicapped, mental health or other special population setting.
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