Who is the target audience for this program?

This certificate program is designed for a broad audience of individuals who work with people with disabilities.

If you are seeking a bachelor’s degree and are interested in developing specialized skills in the therapeutic recreation profession, the entire 6-course certificate program (18 credits) may be of interest to you. It is recommended you begin the program by taking THERREC 203: TR Process. See the Schedule of Classes to see when it is offered.

If you are working in the human service field and are interested in enhancing your skills or credentials in the area of disability, group process or therapeutic recreation, one or more certificate courses may meet your needs. It is recommended you begin the program by taking THERREC 203: TR Process. However, you may start with any course that interests you. Contact the Certificate Coordinator with help on determining which course(s) best suit your interests.

If you are a CTRS and want to pursue continuing education for recertification with the NCTRC, one 3-credit course will meet 30 of the 50 hours required for recertification. THERREC 400: Issues and Trends in Therapeutic Recreation is the recommended course for continuing education. Contact the Certificate Coordinator for additional information.

Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS
Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Coordinator
College of Health Sciences
414-229-2507 (Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST)

How are the courses taught online?

UWM uses an online platform called Canvas. Once you are enrolled in a class, you are given instruction on how to access the course through Canvas. The online courses may follow a traditional semester schedule (16 weeks) or a condensed 6-8 seek session. Most courses are taught asynchronously (you do not have to log into the course at a specific time). You are expected to be engaged in the course for the entire semester through various types of assessments such as discussions, completion of assignments, quizzes and exams. There are usually weekly assessments in each course to foster active participation. You should anticipate 3-6 hours/week for each course, for a total of 145 hours over the course of the semester for each course.

Visit uwm.edu/online/faqs for more information.

What are the computer requirements to take an online course?

It is recommended you have daily access to more than one computer. A high speed Internet connection is preferred. Computer problems are generally not accepted as reasons for late assignments, quizzes or exams. Contact your instructor as soon as possible if you have computer problems.

The following computer and internet specifications are recommended for success in an online learning environment. A tablet or phone may not be sufficient for all the activities required in the various courses.

Computer recommendations:

  • Mac laptop or computer running at least OS 10.13 (High Sierra), or Windows laptop or computer running Windows 10
  • Intel Core i5 or AMD A10 processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • 256 GB solid state drive
  • 1280 x 768 screen resolution
  • Integrated webcam and microphone

Internet recommendations:

  • Reliable, high-speed internet connection
  • 15 megabit per second (Mb/s) or better download speed
  • 5 megabit per second (Mb/s) or better upload speed
  • Wireless hotspot or tethering from a cell phone will not be sufficient

Suggested Internet Browser: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox
Suggested Software Programs: Word, PowerPoint, Excel

Canvas is UWM’s learning management system and is used for all TR Certificate Program courses. On the log in page for Canvas there are resources to learn more. You may chat with someone, watch videos, review guides, search FAQs, or submit a form seeking specific assistance. Visit uwm.edu/canvas/students for more information.

What type of assistance is offered if I have trouble with an online course?

UWM provides many resources to help you succeed in an online environment. Potential students are encouraged to review the following resources prior to starting the program:

How much does the Certificate in Therapeutic Recreation cost?

There is a flat fee for the 6 TR specific courses that meet NCTRC requirements. This fee is for TR Certificate only (non-degree seeking) students. Each of the six 3-credit courses cost approximately $1,150 each. This does not include the cost of books. You must enroll in the correct section to be assessed this flat fee (vs a higher out of state tuition cost). It is your responsibility to enroll in the correct section. Each fee is listed in the “Class Notes” section for each course in the Schedule of Classes .

For the alternative TR courses that do not meet the NCTRC requirements, regular tuition will be assessed. Students residing outside of Wisconsin will be charged out of state tuition rates. For the most up-to-date information, visit the UWM Enrollment & Financial Services website. Be sure you are viewing the Undergraduate Fee Schedule for the appropriate semester.

How do I register for an online class?
  1. To facilitate a successful application, please contact the Certificate Coordinator, Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS at pthomas@uwm.edu for detailed directions.
  2. Apply to UWM
  3. Complete the application and await your acceptance letter. It may take up to 10 days for you to be notified of your admission.
  4. Once you are notified and have an ID number and PIN you may begin to register for courses in the Schedule of Classes under Therapeutic Recreation (THERREC). Online registration is through your PAWs account. Please refer to the Coursework section above. The 6 courses with an asterisk (*) are the courses that meet the NCTRC requirements. Not all TR courses listed in the schedule are part of the certificate program or meet NCTRC requirements. For help with PAWS go to uwm.edu/paws-resources/home/help .
  5. Reach out to the Certificate Coordinator for TR Certificate only (non-degree seeking) students for questions related to course, sequence and more:
    Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS
    Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Coordinator
    College of Health Sciences
    414-229-2507 (Monday thru Fridaym 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST)
How do I request accommodations for a disability?

Visit the UWM Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) to learn more about what services are provided and how to request them.

For additional information, please contact:

Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS
Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Coordinator
College of Health Sciences
414-229-2507 (Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. CST)

How long does it take to complete the certificate program?

You are required to complete the certificate program within five years of the start of your first certificate course. Ideally, you could complete the coursework in 3 consecutive semesters or 1 – 1.5 years.

What is the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)?

NCTRC is the internationally-recognized credentialing organization for the profession of recreation therapy. For decades, therapeutic recreation has been recognized as a valuable profession within health care and human services.

The Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) has become the industry standard that exemplifies each professional’s dedication to quality standards and excellence in practice.

What is state licensure?

There are 5 states that require licensure to practice TR at this time: NH, NC, OK, UT and very recently NJ. If you want to practice in any of those states you will need to hold the CTRS credential and meet the licensure standards. Completion of the UWM TR Certificate Program alone does not meet requirements to sit for the various state licensing exams.

Am I eligible for financial aid?

Financial aid (scholarships and loans) is different for every student. Generally speaking, to qualify for financial aid as a certificate student you must be taking a minimum of 6 credits (or 2 courses) per semester.

The TR Certificate Program is approved for students to receive federal loans if requirements are met. For more information, explore the UWM One Stop Enrollment and Financial Services website.

You may also want to explore local scholarship and grant opportunities. Often times state TR organizations may offer scholarships to student members.

Practitioners/non-UWM students:

Patricia Thomas, MPA, CTRS
Therapeutic Recreation Certificate Coordinator
414-229-2507 (MON thru FRI, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST)

Current UWM students:

MacKenzie L Kougl, MS
Academic Advisor
Cunningham Hall, Room 135
414-229-5047 (MON thru FRI, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST)