Through formal review and accreditation of undergraduate higher education curricula within the United States, its territories, Canada, and Mexico, the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions protects students, families, sponsoring bodies, regionally accredited colleges and universities, employers, and the public by ensuring that those enrolled in accredited programs are provided a quality education that empowers them to succeed in parks, recreation, tourism and related specialization professions.
The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the United States and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada and Mexico.
Council Core Values
The Council adheres to the following core values:
- Rigorous and consistent review
- Timely and relevant standards
- Continual improvement through self-assessment by both the Council and academic programs
- Diverse, experienced, and committed Committee members
- Reliable, valid, and unbiased information
- Qualified and well-trained reviewers
- Accountability to the profession and the public
- Highest ethical standards
- Innovation and experimentation
The Council shall not discriminate on the basis of race, disability, religion, color, national origin, age, gender, covered veterans status, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, place of business or residence, pregnancy, childbirth, or any other unlawful basis. This policy is in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in
A Brief History of the Council
The Council held its first meeting at the National Recreation and Park Association Congress in Denver, Colorado on October 25, 1974. Recreation and park educators and practitioners had been studying the matter of accreditation and working on the development of a plan and evaluative criteria for many years prior to that time. This development included a trial run and evaluation of the process at four institutions across the country. On January 1, 1976, the Council began to accept applications for accreditation from colleges and universities. The first program to be accredited was North Carolina State University’s Department of Recreation Resources Administration in 1977. By 1992 the list of accredited programs included more than 90 institutions. The number of accredited programs grew to 122 in the 1990’s. In 2004, approximately 100 recreation, park resources, and leisure programs had been accredited.
In 2008, Council accepted learner outcome standards to become effective in 2013. In 2009, documents were prepared to create affiliate relationships with specialization professions, and the Council’s name was changed from the Council on Accreditation for Recreation, Park Resources, and Leisure Services to the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions.
In April 2019, COAPRT was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and on June 30, 2019, began to operate independently from the National Recreation and Park Association as documented through their separation agreement. View COAPRT Articles of Incorporation and BYLAWS
Recognition by National Accrediting Bodies
In 1986, the Council was officially recognized and accepted into membership by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA). COPA was the recognition body for accrediting bodies, as well as the national association for the advancement of professional education and collegial interaction for its member organizations. These member organizations included both regional accreditors of entire institutions as well as accrediting organizations for professional schools and specializations such as the field of recreation, park resources, and leisure services. COPA included such bodies as the Association of American Law Schools, the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, the American Psychological Association, the Society of American Foresters, the National Architectural Accrediting Board, and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1986 COPA evolved into CHEA, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The Council continues to be recognized CHEA.
The Council is administered with the assistance of a consulting firm, which supports a staff liaison position in its offices. The Council is funded primarily through fees of accredited programs, with additional support from donors.
Professional association(s) in parks, recreation, tourism and related professions formally collaborate with the Council to accredit programs in professional specialization areas. These associations develop and recommend adoption of learner outcomes in the respective professional specialization, and they also participate in the review and accreditation decision process for specialization areas. The mission, policies and procedures of the affiliates are consistent with those of the Council.
The Council is comprised of ten (10) members. Each member serves a three year term, and, with approval by the Council, her or his appointment is renewable for a second three-year term. The terms are staggered to provide continuity. Members of the Council include five educators from accredited institutions, three practitioners, one college/university administrator, and one public representative. Annually in the fall, from the nominees, the Council makes appointments to fill each vacant position. The Council is committed to appointing members qualified to represent the scope of academic disciplines and professions served. Each year in the fall the Council elects the executive committee, which includes the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Past-Chair/Second Vice Chair.
The Council meets annually in the fall to conduct hearings on programs being reviewed for accreditation, to consider affiliate matters, and to attend to other business matters. Business matters generally include policy and procedure issues, and elections of officers. A review of COAPRT standards is completed every seven years; the next scheduled review will be completed in 2027.