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Activity Director Training

by Alice Stuart, studioD

Federal law requires that activity directors for the elderly be qualified professionals. While there is no set standard for what constitutes "qualified" many administrators require certified activity directors. The National Certification Council for Activity Professionals provides certification. Activity director education is available without certification from a variety of sources.

Certified Activity Director

To qualify for the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals Activity Director certification, the candidate must meet education and experience requirements. The minimum experience requirement is 4,000 hours, for those with a four-year degree. If you have less education than that, you need more experience hours. Additionally, candidates must complete the Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals, and 30 clock hours of continuing education. Finally, the candidate must take the national exam, which consists of 50 multiple choice questions.

MEPAP Course Completion

The Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals is a curriculum developed by NCCAP for activity professionals. It consists of 20 modules, and is frequently split into two parts. Completion of the first half qualifies the candidate to work as an activity director by Medicare and Medicaid standards. If you are unable to complete certification or are working toward certification, taking and passing the MEPAP course demonstrates sufficient knowledge to some hiring administrators.

College and Online Training Options

Community colleges and online schools offer activity director training. In some cases, this training is based on the MEPAP curriculum. Other courses use different materials as their basis. When choosing a training program, consider whether you intend to pursue NCCAP certification in the future. Whether you take your training on-campus or online is also a matter of preference and is based on your schedule and the local availability of training courses.

State Training Options

Many states have their own activity director training courses. These courses meet the federal law regarding qualified activity directors, and generally are accepted by hiring administrators in that state. The course content varies from state to state. Although these courses may not include MEPAP coursework, the information may help you if you later seek certification through NCCAP. Check with your state health care association to see if your state offers a training option.

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