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Frequently Asked Questions - RPT Credential
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RPT Credential - Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome!  Below you will find a list of common inquiries regarding the RPT requirements and application.  We hope you find this resource helpful.

Should you have additional questions or require further assistance, please contact:

Alexandra Jarrell, Continuing Education & Credentialing Coordinator, ajarrell@a4pt.org
Claudia Vega, PhD, Clinical Coordinator,
cvega@a4pt.org

 

General Questions

1.     Do I have to apply for the RPT credential before I can apply for the RPT-S credential?

Yes.  Applicants must hold the RPT credential for three consecutive years in good standing.

 

2.     I am a current RPT(-S) and would like to obtain the SB-RPT as well.  Does APT confer multiple credentials to an individual?

No, registrants cannot hold more than one APT credential at any given time (so you are either an RPT or an RPT-S or an SB-RPT).

 

3.     Is it true that some states do not permit you to use the RPT acronym?

Yes.  Please review the list of states (at the bottom of page) that do not permit you to use the RPT acronym as it is already in use for registered physical therapists.  In these states, registrants must spell out their credential.

 

4.     What are the most recent changes made to the RPT/S program?

·         Effective January 1, 2020, APT revised the standards and application for the RPT credential, which includes a phase approach to the attainment of the RPT credentialing requirements.  To learn more, please visit the RPT Standards and RPT Application.

·         Effective January 1, 2020, hours earned toward the supervised play therapy experience and supervision requirements for the RPT and RPT-S applications must be under the supervision of an RPT-S only.  Any supervised play therapy experience and supervision hours accrued prior to January 1, 2020 will be accepted provided they fall under the current guidelines.  For additional information on the changes scheduled for 2020, read this article or refer to the Guide for further instruction. If you were conferred the RPT or RPT-S credential prior to January 1, 2020, this change will NOT affect you.

·         Effective April 1, 2016, RPT-S applicants must complete six (6) hours of play therapy specific supervisor training AND either 1) have completed their state board supervisor training requirement OR 2) completed APT’s 24 hours of supervisor training. If your state board does not require supervisor training then you must complete APT’s requirement of 24 hours, plus the six (6) hours of play therapy supervisor training.

·         In January of 2016, APT launched its new credential, the School Based-Registered Play Therapist (SB-RPT). The SB-RPT credential is intended for professionals who hold a current and active individual state license or certificate from their state’s department of education to independently practice as a school counselor or school psychologist.  Applicants licensed by their state mental health board (i.e. LPC, LCSW, LMFT, etc) are ineligible for the SB-RPT, but may be eligible for the Registered Play Therapist (RPT) or Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor (RPT-S) credentials.  Registrants may not hold more than one APT credential at any given time.

 

Section 01 - Applicant Information and License Verification

5.     What licenses meet the licensure requirement?

Applicants must have a current, active, and unconditional clinical mental health license in the general practice fields of counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychiatry, psychology, or social work that permits for independent practice.  The licensing board must be the government agency assigned to regulate and investigate the mental health profession regulated by an established mental health act.  Membership to mental health associations does not meet the credentialing requirements for licensure.  Please contact the office, should you continue to question whether or not your license/credential meets the RPT/S licensure requirement.

 

6.     I’m an international applicant and the country where I practice does not issue formal licenses.  Can I still be credentialed?

No.  Applicants must meet the licensure requirement as defined in the Credentialing Standards.  Membership to associations and graduate degree from universities alone do not meet APT’s requirements for licensure.

 

7.     Are specialty licenses accepted?

No.  An add-on specialty license, for example addictions counselor, art therapist, or drama therapist, is not acceptable in lieu of a clinical mental health license in a general practice discipline of counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychiatry, psychology, or social work.

 

8.     If I hold a disciplined license may I still apply?

APT does not accept conditional licenses, irrespective of the conditions applied to the license.  Once the license is returned to an unconditional status, it may meet APT’s licensure requirement.

 

9.     Does the RPT or RPT-S credential replace my state mental health license?

No.  The RPT/S credentials are secondary credentials and do not legally permit you to practice without a state mental health license.  In fact, applicants are not eligible for the RPT/S credentials without a clinical mental health license issued in the state in which they practice. 

 

Section 02 - Verification of Graduate Degrees and Core Content Coursework

10.  What are the basic educational requirements to become credentialed?

Applicants must hold a graduate mental health degree in one of the following general practice disciplines: counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychiatry, psychology, or social work, with demonstrated coursework in the five (5) core content areas of child development, theories of personality, principles of psychotherapy, psychopathology/DSM, and legal/ethical issues.

 

11.  I’m not sure my graduate program addressed the five (5) core content areas. Will APT review my academic transcripts before I submit my application? 

Yes. Simply complete and submit the Transcript Review request form with the fee and a copy of your transcripts to APT. For Advanced Standing social work applicants, please include a copy of your undergraduate transcripts with your graduate transcripts.  If you are not interested in a transcript review but continue to have questions regarding the five (5) core content areas, please submit a copy of the syllabus for each course you believe satisfies the requirement with your completed application.

 

12.  Are official transcripts required? 

No. APT accepts copies of official transcripts or copies of unofficial transcripts as long as there is no question with the authenticity of the document(s).

 

13.  Are graduate degrees in a specialty area accepted?

No.  APT accepts graduate clinical mental health degrees in the general practice discipline of counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychiatry, psychology, or social work.  Graduate degrees in a specialty license, for example addictions counseling, art therapy, or drama therapy, are not acceptable in lieu of a clinical mental health degree in a general practice discipline as mentioned above.

 

Section 03 - Verification of Play Therapy Instruction

14.  How and from whom may I earn the 150 hours of play therapy instruction?

You may complete graduate play therapy courses at institutions of higher education (transcripts) and/or workshops by APT Approved Providers of Play Therapy Continuing Education (certificates).  Play therapy graduate courses must appear on a university transcript.  If the term “play therapy” is not found on the course title, please submit a copy of the course syllabus and/or a letter from the instructor attesting to the hours of play therapy specific content offered in the course.  For continuing education play therapy trainings, certificates must bear the APT Approved Provider number to be eligible for APT CE.

 

15.  Am I required to take certain play therapy courses or trainings?

While specific courses or trainings are not required, applicants must meet a minimum number of hours in four primary areas: play therapy history, seminal/historically significant theories, skills & methods, and special topics.  Documentation must support the attainment of a well-rounded education in play therapy, which includes instruction in more than one play therapy approach.  See page 8 of the Credentialing Standards for additional information.

 

16.  Am I permitted to use graduate play therapy courses I’ve taught or CE workshops I’ve presented towards the 150 hours of play therapy instruction?

No. Presentations and/or coursework taught or written by the applicant are not eligible.

 

17.  What is considered contact training?

·         Contact hours earned starting January 1, 2020, are defined as in-person instruction only.  Non-contact hours will consist of live webinars, recorded webinars, book studies, recorded audio programs, etc.

·         Contact hours earned prior to January 1, 2020 are defined as trainings where attendees can have interaction with the instructor in real time, either by in-person or synchronous communication (e.g.: live webinars).

 

18.  How many of the 150 hours of play therapy instruction may be non-contact or distance learning hours?

No more than 50 of the 150 hours may be non-contact (e.g., APT E-Learning Center, pre-recorded webinars, etc.).

 

19.  Is there a time limit for achieving the 150 hours of play therapy instruction?

Yes.  Applicants must demonstrate attainment of the credentialing requirements in no less than two years and no more than seven years from start of accruement.  The necessary skills to practice play therapy competently are not acquired in a short period of time – this includes training, supervision, and experience.

 

Section 04 - Verification of Supervised Play Therapy Experience

20.  How many hours of play therapy experience (direct client contact hours) are required?

Hours earned starting January 1, 2020 must be under the supervision of an RPT-S with a minimum of 350 hours of direct client contact.  Hours earned prior to January 1, 2020 may be under an RPT-S or a non-RPT-S with minimum hours of 335 and 500, respectively.  

 

21.  How do I document my play therapy experience and supervision? 

·         Hours earned starting 1/01/2020 are documented on the Criteria Verification forms (aka phase forms).  Select the phase most consistent with where you are in the process (as informed by the hours earned compared to the required hours of the phases). Should you need assistance discerning this, APT is happy to help you.

·         Hours earned prior to 2020 are documented in chronological order on Appendix I.  Make as many copies of Appendix I as you need to document your hours and/or if you have more than one supervisor.

 

22.  Can I use internship or practicum hours from my graduate program towards the play therapy experience requirement?

Yes. You may accrue such hours via your graduate play therapy practicums, internships, externships, etc. and must comply with the Phase approach.

 

23.  Do I have to complete my play therapy training (instruction hours) before I can begin accruing my play therapy experience hours (direct client contact hours)?

Applicants must follow the phase approach outlined in the Credentialing Standards AND it is expected that applicants (and their supervisors) adhere to their respective Boards’ ethical guidelines and scope of practice.  This likely means applicants may have taken some play therapy instruction prior to seeing clients.

 

Section 05 - Verification of Play Therapy Supervision

24.  How many supervision hours in play therapy must I complete?

Hours earned starting January 1, 2020 must be under the supervision of an RPT-S with a minimum of 35 hours of play therapy supervision.  Hours earned prior to January 1, 2020 may be under an RPT-S or a non-RPT-S with minimum hours of 35 and 50, respectively.

 

25.  Where can I find an RPT-S to supervise me?

Use the Find a Registered Play Therapist Directory. Distance supervision is acceptable only if permitted by the supervisor’s/consultant’s and supervisee’s/consultee’s respective licensing boards. 

 

26.  Is there a limit to how many group supervision hours I can submit?

Yes.  For hours earned starting January 1, 2020, APT accepts no more than 10 hours of group supervision under an RPT-S.  For hours earned prior to January 1, 2020, APT will accept no more than 20 hours of group supervision under a non-RPT-S or 15 hours under an RPT-S. 

 

27.  Are dyadic supervision sessions considered “individual” supervision?

If the focus of the supervision was on your individual cases, then you may count only the time spent discussing your individual cases toward the “individual” supervision requirement.

 

Section 06 – Integration of Play Therapy Instruction, Experience, and Supervision 

28.  Do I have to complete the play therapy instruction at the same time I complete my supervised experience and supervision?

APT supports an integrative process of achieving the required play therapy instruction, clinical experience, and supervision in a manner that promotes cumulative learning and allows for the integration of education within clinical work.  Applicants may be asked for additional information in the event their application does not demonstrate this type of integrated learning process. 

 

29.  Is there a time limit for achieving the credentialing requirements?

Yes.  Applicants must demonstrate attainment of the credentialing requirements in no less than two years and no more than seven years from start of accruement.  The necessary skills to practice play therapy competently are not acquired in a short period of time – this includes training, supervision, and experience.

 

Criteria Verification Forms - Phase 1 through 3

30.  What if I did NOT complete my hours exactly following the phase approach?

Applicants who began accruing their hours before the changes to the credentialing requirements were announced on May 31, 2019 will likely not meet the requirements as outlined in the Credentialing Application and Standards.  However, applicants must demonstrate through their documentation an integrated and well-rounded attainment of the credentialing requirements.  Applicants may provide a cover letter explaining any departure from the credentialing requirements to aid in APT’s determination of eligibility.

 

31.  Is there any flexibility in the phase approach?

Yes. The flexibility of the phase approach lies in the demarcation of a) the date range and b) hours for each phase.  Applicants may choose to shorten or lengthen the time period of any phase to best align play therapy trainings and/or the supervised play therapy experience/supervision with the requirements set forth in each phase.

Section 07 – Attestation by Applicant

32.  Do I need to initial and sign the attestation section of the application?

Yes.  The attestation is your expressed agreement to APT’s terms and conditions for holding our credentials.  Leaving the attestation blank is considered an incomplete application and will delay the review process.

 

Section 08 – News Release Information 

33.  Do I have to participate in a news release?

No.  It is optional and requires you provide the name of newspaper you wish notified.

 

Appendix I – Play Therapy Experience and Supervision Accumulated Prior to January 1, 2020 

34.  When do I use Appendix I to document my completed requirements?

Applicants must use Appendix I to document the play therapy instruction, experience, and supervision hours accrued prior to January 1, 2020.