An ADC is a certification earned by completing the Activity Director Certification program offered by the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals (NCCAP). It’s a professional credential asserting that you have met NCCAP Certification Standards, including schooling, experience, and testing.
The ADC credential is universally accepted across the U.S. if you decide to relocate. It’s a great way to learn more about being an AD, which can be particularly useful if you’ve studied something like occupational therapy or therapeutic recreation and want to explore how your degree will translate into the field.
If you’re interested in earning your ADC, stay tuned. We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about earning your ADC and how you get the most out of the journey. Let’s dive in!
What Do Activity Directors Do?
An Activities Director (AD) has the awesome job of planning and executing events, programs, and activities for a specific community. If you are an AD for an assisted living facility, your duties will likely include overseeing activities planning and the execution for seniors, disabled adults, and memory care residents.
One of the most important aspects of this position is ensuring that residents are living happy, engaged lives dedicated to their wellness. This means that planned activities must be designed to promote fitness, social interaction, and meet the needs of various residents. You’ll be working closely with other staff members, residents, and in some cases, the families of residents.
Preparing for Your ADC
When it comes to the ADC, preparation is vital. There are many details to consider and attend to before you sit for your exam. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of everything you need to do to prepare for your ADC.
1. Determine Your State’s Requirements: There is no universal set of requirements that would allow you to practice being an AD in case of relocation. Even if you are licensed and qualified in one state, you’ll have to determine the requirements set by or common in another state if you intend to practice there. That said, an NCCAP certification goes a long way in any state. It’s an excellent foundation on which to build your AD career. However, there are some additional qualifications you may earn to help bolster your résumé. Here are the most common AD qualifications to consider achieving prior to pursuing your ADC:
- A Bachelor’s or Associate Degree in Recreation Studies, Therapeutic Recreation, or a Related Field
- Previous Job Experience as an Activities Professional
- Completion of a State-Approved Training Course
- Certification as an Occupational Therapist (O.T.) or O.T. Assistant
Be sure to research the requirements of any state you intend to practice in to avoid timing headaches. You may need to enroll in a state-approved course before being certified to work in the state. It’s best to know this information ahead of time as your course may not be given on a rolling basis.
2.Plan Your Course of Study: As mentioned above, there are more than a few ways to pursue your AD career. As such, it’s essential to plan your route before embarking on your ADC accreditation journey. Keep in mind that regardless of the route you choose, you’ll need to enroll as a member of NCCAP to earn your ADC certification. That said, here are some of the different AD career routes and what you need to consider when determining which is right for you.
If you intend to earn a degree, you will need to account for the time it takes to earn a degree, the cost of attending a post-secondary school, and which program will best prepare you for your AD position.
If you intend to earn certification as an O.T., be sure to account for the additional cost and time of earring your Master’s degree, which is a requirement for the position. You must also pass the O.T. licensing exam administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy and take continuing education classes.
If you intend to enter the field, be prepared to work your way up over an extended time. You may be unable to attain a position as an AD with no experience or additional qualifications. However, you may work your way up to the role of AD after earning your ADC.
3.Understand NCCAP Standards and MEPAP Curriculum:Per the NCCAP ADC Standards, there are five different tracks that a prospective AD can take to earn their ADC certification. Each track specifies different requirements for completion under five categories, including:
- Education (spanning from a high school diploma/GED to a Master’s Degree)
- Experience (spanning from 2,000 to 12,000 hours in the past 5-6 years)
- Continuing Education (spanning from none needed to 10 clock hours in the past 5 years)
- Required Curriculum (spanning from the MEPAP 1-APC and the MEPAP 2-ADC to no requirement)
- National Examination (required for all tracks)
The Modular Education Program for Activity Professionals, more commonly referred to as MEPAP, is a program consisting of an AD curriculum required to earn your certification. You may take these courses either in-person or virtually. At the end of your successfully completed course, you will sit for a national AD exam administered in-person or remotely at a $90 cost. You can use NCCAP resources to help you throughout your course, but you may also use additional resources such as Quizlet (search MEPAP). After successfully completing your MEPAP program and passing your national exam, you will have become a certified AD. Congrats!
As a certified AD, you’ll soon move into the field and be responsible for overseeing your own activities program. Now is when the fun really starts! With new trends and technology consistently emerging within the senior living industry, it’s essential to stay up-to-date. Check out the Eversound Blog for the latest information and news. Better yet, consider Eversound’s headphone solution for use in your program. Eversound that can help make an AD’s life easier and residents’ lives more fulfilled.