Professional Links

Networking • Continuing Education • New Ideas • Evidence-Based Practice • Liability Insurance • Policy Updates • Job Announcements • Access to Professional Materials • Legislative Advocacy • Helping to Develop the Profession • Generating New Knowledge • Influencing Professional Practice

The above list identifies many of the common benefits of belonging and contributing to a professional society, association, or organization. Some professional associations are broad in scope (NRPA), while others focus on a particular setting or professional focus (NIRSA, TTRA).

RPM students and graduates are strongly encouraged to become involved in at least one professional society to maintain their professional development and networking opportunities. Many of the groups listed below offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which are short programs and sessions that enhance the ongoing education of those working in recreation, parks, tourism, and related professions.

General Profession

National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)
North Carolina Recreation and Park Society (NCRPS)
World Leisure Association (WLA)

Campus Recreation

National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA)
Association for College Unions International (ACUI)
National Association for Campus Activities (NACA)

Outdoor Recreation

Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE)
Association for Experiential Education (AEE)
National Association for Interpretation (NAI)
American Camp Association (ACA)
Christian Camping International (CCI)
Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA)


National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS)

Events, Tourism, Commercial Recreation

International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA)
Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA)
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
Resort and Commercial Recreation Association (RCRA)
North Carolina Association of Festivals and Events (NCAFE)

Military/Business Settings

Employee Morale and Recreation Association (EMRA)
Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (Navy MWR)
Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS)
Army Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (Army MWR)
Air Force Community Services (AFCSCS)
Air Force Youth Programs (AFYP)
Air Force Community Programs (AFCP)

In addition to professional associations and societies that help a parks, recreation, and tourism professional network and contribute to the development of the profession, many professional groups offer supporting credentials that enhance one's professional portfolio. Students with any major can earn the certifications noted below.

Helpful Professional Certifications

All Parks and Recreation Professionals

CPR (multiple providers)
First Aid (multiple providers)
Blood Borne Pathogens (multiple providers)
Child/Elder Abuse (multiple providers)

Recreational Therapy/Therapeutic Recreation

Biofeedback Certification International Alliance
Special Olympics Coach
American Sport Education Program Coach (sport specific)

Community/Nonprofit Parks and Recreation

Certified Park and Recreation Professional
Certified Park and Recreation Executive
Certified Playground Safety Inspector

Outdoor Recreation

Leave No Trace (outdoor ethics instructor and instructor-trainer)
Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness First Aid (multiple providers)
Outdoor Leader certifications (skill specific; multiple providers)
Challenge Course Facilitator/Leader (multiple providers)
American Canoe Association Certifications
Water Safety Instructor
Certified Interpreter Trainer/Heritage Interpreter/Interpretive Planner (naturalist, park interpreter)

Specialty Areas

Collegiate Recreational Sports Professional
Aquatic Facility Operator
Certified Pool/Spa Operator
Fitness Certifications (multiple providers)
NYSCA Gold Level Coach Certification (youth sports coach)