A Look at the Activity Professional Job Description

Is Being an Activity Professional Right for You?

activity professional job description
Do you have what it takes to become an activities professional and help seniors reach their dreams in the second half of life?. Getty Images

Do you enjoy working with older people? Do you like a job that give you flexibility, learning, communication skills and new experiences? A career as an activity professional may be for you! In this article we look at what at activity professional job description entails.

Activity professionals provide programs to create positive, social, fun, educational opportunities for residents of independent, assisted living, personal care and nursing home communities as well as adult day centers.

Federal law requires that every facility be directed by qualified professional, according to Nancy Richards, founder and executive director of Activity Pathways, LLC, based in Warrington, Pennsylvania.

She has over 25 years experience in activity services to elders. “The four vital goals of this education program include developing leaders by strengthening leadership, advocacy and communication skills."

The National Certification Council for Activity Professionals (NCCAP) is an activity professionals the certifying bodies recognized by Federal law and incorporated into many state regulations. This is an international organization with a focus on providing activities for the elderly.

NCCAP has three activity professional levels:

  • Activity Assistant Certified

    Works one on one and in group settings providing quality programs including games, music, social events, religious services, and one on one time with clients.
  • Activity Director Certified

    Oversees an activity department, establishes programs, schedules activities, oversees staff, keeps state required records, works with administration, community, residents and families.
  • Activity Consultant Certified

    Meets staff to review procedures, offer instruction and suggestions to improve activity programs.

    The courses presents an understanding of social gerontology; adult development and growth across the life span are taught as the cornerstone for service approach. Students also learn regulatory mandates, documentation, care plan development, activity program design and volunteer management, she said.

    The MEPAP course format varies from eight-hour classroom instructional hours to four hour blocks or more concentrated during weekend hours as long as the 90 hour criteria are met. Assignments range from professional journal critiques, following client, care plan development, presentations, reviews of job descriptions and policies and procedures, and much more. Recertification, every two years, requires between 20 and 40 hours of additional educational credits depending on the level of certification.

    NCCAP certification is recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as an organization that certifies activity professionals who work specifically with the elderly. This certification assures long term care facility administrators and state health care surveyors that you have met professional standards to become certified, Richards said.

    To become a professional you need at least two years of experience in a social or recreational program approved by the DHHS within the last five years and you are required to:

    • Provide an activities program on a daily basis.
    • Obtain necessary equipment and supplies.
    • Contribute to facility efforts to improve quality of care.

    In addition, many administrators will only hire activity professionals who are certified. Some administrators offer a higher salary to a certified professional because they recognize you are nationally qualified and offering quality of life thru activity service to your residents/clients, she said.

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