The NCCAP Page
The National Certification Council
for Activity Professionals
Our Mission:  The National Certification Council for Activity Professionals is a credentialing body,
which sets standards and criteria to ensure that those we serve have optimal life experiences
Why Become NCCAP

1. Federal Law, OBRA, states that an
activity department must be directed
by a "qualified professional." One of
the ways to become qualified is to
become a Certified Activity

2. NCCAP certification is recognized
by HCFA (Health Care Financing
Administration) as an organization
that certifies activity professionals
who work specifically with the elderly.

3. NCCAP certification assures
administrators and surveyors that you
have met certain professional
standards to become certified.

4. Many administrators will only hire
activity professionals who are already

5. Some administrators offer a higher
salary to a certified professional.

6. Become NCCAP certified so others
will know that you are nationally
qualified and giving quality activity
service to residents/clients.


May derive from a wide variety of
curricula: Social Work, Recreation,
Education, and Business degrees.
These are a few of the educational
backgrounds that represent our
certified members.

Activity work experience with elderly
populations, where at least 50% are
55+ years of age. Some volunteer
work with elderly clients may be

Current education (within past 5
years): workshops, seminars, college
courses that keep the activity
professional abreast of present
trends. NCCAP's Body of Knowledge
contains 27 areas of education with
many subheadings that are

May include: advising a group,
working one to one, teaching a class,
conducting workshops, publishing
professional articles, supervising
students and/or managing 5 or more
activity staff persons.

The cost of being certified initially
ranges from $45 to $65 depending
upon the level. Renewal is required
every two years with 20-40 hours of
continuing education and a fee of $40.

For further information visit
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

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The Activity Director website.
You Don't Know What You Got Until It's Gone
By Nancy Best, ACC, CTRS
NCCAP Special Projects Trustee

In reference to a Don McLean Classic "America Pie", the infamous line "The day the music
died" refers to the death of four of the 50's greatest Rock and Rollers. Buddy Holly, Ricky
Valance, the Big Bopper, and Buddy Knox. My music died December 24, 2002.

Flashback to July 1976. America is celebrating its bicentennial I return to my small western
PA hometown, unemployed. Thank God for parents, free rent, good food, and a roof over
my head. I received a call about a job opening for Activities in our local nursing home.
With my degree in Parks and Recreation, I decide to apply. I was hired as the Activity Aid
at a whooping $2.40 an hour.

I have the usual jitters for my first day on the job. On my way to work I wonder what I have
gotten myself into? What kind of programs can you plan for old sick people? A few months
into my job I realized my residents are not any different than other people I would plan
programs for. They enjoy activities tailored around their interests and needs. You just
have to be creative and adapt the activities to their abilities.

My parents always taught me to treat others, as you would want to be treated." Those in
my care became my extended family; their families and loved ones became my aunts,
uncles, and the residents become the grandparents I never had.

I put my heart and soul into my residents, not my job. As many of you do, I put in many
long hard hours. However, if someone asked to go boating, we went, a roller coaster ride,
no problem!

As I grew to know and love my extended family, they grew to love me as well. They
became almost my whole life. I woke in the morning for the sole purpose of caring for "my

Fast-forward December 2002.

After 27 years, I had to make a hard decision to quit. I told no one of my decision, except
my immediate supervisors. December 24, 2002, I walked away from my family.

My music died.

I enjoy renewing old friendships and making new ones at each conference I am able to
attend. It reminds me of what I once had and have not been able to gain, living in such a
small town with no other near by facilities.

I still see families of residents whom I cared for. They continue to thank me for the love
and care I provided them in their loved ones last years. I remember the days when I had a
purpose, when I had a I reason to wake up everyday. Then the light fades and I return to
the real world.

I have a job - actually four, but not with the people I love to care for, "my people."

I write this account not for sympathy or pity, but rather to explain what a wonderful
opportunity we have to work in activities. It's not simply a job; truly it's a privilege. So next
time you are stressed out and wonder "is it all worth it? Do I really make a difference?"
The answer is yes. Don't let your "music die."
Subscribe Today
(Just $24 per year)