We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I get an Activity Director Certification?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PracticalAdultInsights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An activity director certification program is available from a limited number of colleges. Someone who is interested in pursuing certification typically is already working in this capacity or in a similar role. There are three steps required: find an accredited school, apply for admissions, and meet the certificate requirements. The primary benefit of this type of certification is to provide assurances to potential employers about your education and related work experience.

Someone who works as an activity director works in the health services industry, usually in a long-term care facility. He or she is responsible for scheduling and organizing activities for the residents. Depending on the setting, this can include day trips, fitness classes, or arts and crafts. Providing a variety of activities is an important part of the overall mental health program for patients who reside in a long-term care facility.

The first step required to get certification is to find an accredited school. Accreditation is a granted by an independent agency that usually is responsible for maintaining professional standards for a specific career or designation. The agency reviews the program curriculum, course materials, academic policies, and related information. An accredited school will display a seal or stamp from the accredited agency, providing assurances to potential students about the quality of the program.

The next step is to apply for admission into the certification program. The list of prerequisites usually includes a combination of academic credentials and workplace experience. For example, a program might require a minimum three-year diploma in social work, occupational therapy or recreational/activity therapy. Some certification agencies require a specific number of hours of work experience and the submission of letters of reference.

Review the program requirements before applying for admission. Some certification agencies require successful completion of a written examination or specific courses as part of their program. Other associations require a certain number of supervised hours of work in recreation therapy or a similar role. Explore the steps and plan ahead to meet program requirements.

Once you successfully complete an activity director certification program, there often is a continuing education commitment that is required. Students are expected to complete a minimum number of courses over a two- or three-year period, and these courses must be within a related field of study and taken from an accredited school. The list of acceptable courses often includes seminars, conferences, or lectures hosted by a professional association. This requirement encourages ongoing learning and keeping skills up to date.

PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon997592 — On Jan 30, 2017

Activities in long term care facilities promote positive well being. Many places look at the different dimensions of wellness, including social, intellectual, physical and spiritual.

By julies — On Apr 30, 2012

I have worked in a nursing home facility for a couple of years and have helped out the activities director from time to time.

This is an area that I find myself really enjoying. You can really learn a lot from listening to many of their life stories as you work with them.

There aren't any accredited schools close to where I live where I could get certified. Does anybody know if you can get an activity director certification online?

This would be a great way to get the schooling I need and still be able to work full time while I am working on my certification.

By myharley — On Apr 29, 2012

When my grandma was living in a nursing home, she could be as busy as she wanted to be. They had a great activities director who gave them many opportunities to be active and engaged.

When I would visit her and saw the nursing home activity calendar, I told my grandma she could be busier than I was.

At any age it is nice to have options and choices for activities to be involved in. I think some people think as people age, they want to be less active and involved.

I know it depends on each individual, but there were many people in her nursing home who really enjoyed and looked forward to the group activities that were planned. My grandma participated in as many of them as she was able to.

Others were not in good enough health where they could participate, or just chose not to.

By honeybees — On Apr 28, 2012

My cousin started out working part time at a nursing home, and through the years has worked her way up to activities director.

She has had many jobs at this nursing home, and says the one she has enjoyed most is planning and organizing activities for the residents.

Not only does she plan activities outside the nursing home, but also plans special activities for them to participate in during the week at the home.

She took advantage of an educational opportunity and took an activity director certification course. This makes her much more marketable, and with her combined years of education and experience there are more job opportunities available for her.

By sunshined — On Apr 28, 2012

I didn't realize there was an actual certification program for an activities director.

My mom works at a county home where people with disabilities of all ages live. I don't think the person who organizes the activities for their residents is a certified activities director.

I do know they try to keep the residents as active as possible. Many times you will see a group of them at a local event like a parade or the county fair.

This gives them a good opportunity to get out of the center, socialize with other people and keep them busy at the same time.

PracticalAdultInsights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PracticalAdultInsights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.