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 ATRI Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise Certification

Thank you for your interest in the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute’s Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise Certification. ATRI is a non-profit organization created to further the education of health care professionals working in the aquatic environment.

Who is the Certification For?  Competent, knowledgeable professionals in aquatic therapy, rehab and therapeutic exercise. The exam will test your ability to meet the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Standards to practice. The Standards are available on the ATRI website and can be downloaded free of charge by clicking here. Passing the exam will allow you to use the term “ATRI Certified” or the initials “ATRIC” after your name. The certification will not make you a therapist if you aren’t already a licensed therapist. The Certification Exam may be taken by anyone who has fulfilled the Prerequisite listed below.

Prerequisite. The prerequisite for this exam is 15 hours of Aquatic Therapy, Rehab and/or Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise education. It is preferable that the education is hands-on but online or correspondence courses also qualify. The 15 hours are education hours, not work hours. We recommend our Intro to Aquatic Therapy and Rehab course (#1200) for anyone new to aquatic therapy or anyone planning to take the ATRI Certification Exam. It is offered on the first day of all or our conferences or online. The Intro course will give you 8 hours of credit toward fulfilling the 15-hour prerequisite. The ATRI Certification QuickPrep course (#1809) is also highly recommended if you are planning to take the ATRI Certification Exam. The QuickPrep course is offered at ATRI National Aquatic Therapy Conferences where it is worth one hour or it may be taken through ATRI Online Ed, where it is worth 3 hours. From there, you would want to choose beginner (1000-level) or intermediate (2000-level) courses that most suit your practice to earn the remainder of the 15 hours.

Onsite Exam Dates at ATRI Events:

Saturday, September 11, 2021 – Washington, DC – 8:00 am – Exam begins once everyone has checked in.
Sunday, November 14, 2021 – Chicago, IL – 8:00 am – Exam begins once everyone has checked in.

Click Here to Print Exam Registration Form

Click Here to Register for the ONLINE Certification Exam

Please Note: Once you have registered and paid for the Online Certification Exam, you will receive an e-mail from Linda Scott giving you the link to the online exam, your username and password, and some basic instructions to get you started on the exam. Every effort will be made to get this information to you as soon as possible, but please allow 24-48 hours for the instructions to be e-mailed to you. Linda’s e-mail is – Please add it to your contact list.

Give the Online Certification Exam a Try. Click here for a Sample Exam –

Suggestion from Valerie Williams, ATRI-Certified: “The biggest thing to remember is to not overthink the questions. Answer the questions based on the information that is provided and try not to look beyond what is given in the question and the choices of answers.  Attend the Quick Prep course and listen to what Ruth talks about during the class. If Ruth says, ‘know this and remember this’ then know and remember that info. Remember the exam is for all aquatic professionals not a specific discipline.”

The Exam. The exam will consist of approximately 110 to 130 written questions taken during three one-hour periods online (or three successive hours onsite at an ATRI Event). The questions will be made up of multiple choice and matching. Here is a sample question:

A client with MS working in an 82° F (28 C) pool will benefit most from:

  1. A thirty minute workout at 85% of heart rate reserve.
  2. A Watsu® session.
  3. A water walking program.
  4. Resistance training.

The exam tests the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Standards and includes knowledge regarding the following topics with the percentage of questions on the exam listed:
• Movement Mechanics and Science – 21%
• Aquatic Principles – 22%
• Aquatic Therapy Principles / Methods – 31%
• Professional Responsibility – 8%
• Safety and Risk Awareness – 14%
• Legal Considerations – 4%

Exam Fees. The fee to sit for the onsite exam is $255. The fee to take the exam online is $255. The retake fee for anyone who has failed the exam is $95. Please use the registration form and submit to ATRI to retake the exam at the $95 fee. There is no online registration option to pay the $95.

Exam Preparation. Begin preparing by obtaining and reviewing the full definitions of the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Standards. The Standards are available on the ATRI web site and can be downloaded free of charge by clicking here.

Option 1 – No Study – If you’re confident about your knowledge in all aspects of the Standards, you can be confident about taking the examination without further preparation.

Option 2 – Self Study – A study guide, Essential Principles of Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation, is available as a guide to use for studying for the exam. It is a preview of materials presented on the exam and designed to go along with the following recommended study resources. These books are also a valuable addition to your professional library (books #2, 3 below). You may purchase Essential Principles first and go through the self-tests before deciding if you need the resource books. The resource books are needed if you want or need knowledge, not just a preview of testing.

  1. Essential Principles of Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation – Study Guide (Sova)
  2. AQUATICS: The Complete Reference Guide for Aquatic Fitness Professionals (Sova)
  3. Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy (Becker and Cole)

These books are available by clicking here.

Option 3 – Hands-on Study – Since this certification is entry level, the ATRI course #1200-Intro to Aquatic Therapy and Rehab is recommended. Attending the ‘Intro” course on the first day of an ATRI Conference, along with courses during the rest of the event, should be all you need for hands-on study and prerequisite hours.

Prerequisite. The prerequisite for this exam is 15 hours of Aquatic Therapy, Rehab and/or Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise education. It is preferable that the education is hands-on but online or correspondence courses also qualify.

Registration. To register for the exam, check the schedule of exam dates and sites listed to select those that will work best for you or register to take the exam online….Register Here

Confirmation.  A confirmation email will be sent within one week of your online registration.

For onsite exams, you must be on time for the exam. No visitors, books or notes are allowed. You may not transfer your registration to another person. Disruptive behavior or misconduct is not allowed. Water or a drink is allowed in the exam, food is not allowed.

Notification. If you take the exam online, you will get results and certificate (if successful) within 21 days.

If you take your exam onsite, your exam results will be emailed to the address on your registration form within four weeks after the exam date. To protect you, no scores will be given by phone or fax. To protect confidentiality, scores are never released to a third party.

Cancellation/Rescheduling. The exam fee for online service is not refundable once the exam is begun.

The onsite exam fee less a $55 processing fee will be refunded to candidates who cancel in writing 21 days prior to the exam. No refunds will be made after that date.

ATRI has an onsite one-time-transfer-policy. Although refunds will not be issued after that date you may transfer your registration one time to another exam administration date. You must notify ATRI prior to the original exam date that you will not be present for that exam. Then send a written notification with a $25 check written to ATRI within 45 days after the original exam date.  If you miss this deadline you will forfeit your full exam fee. Give the date and location of the exam you will transfer to. You may not transfer your exam registration/fee to another person.

A rescheduled exam is not eligible for a refund.

Certification Renewal. ATRI certification is valid for one year. To maintain your ATRI certification, you must obtain a minimum of 10 Continuing Education hours within the next year.

Please click here to print out your Certification Renewal Documentation Form.

Any excess of continuing education credits can be carried over for the next year’s renewal. Therefore, if you attend a conference this year to meet your 10-hour renewal requirements and receive 20 credit hours, you can use them for this year and next year’s renewal. Make sure you keep a record of your continuing education in order to simplify the renewal process. ATRI does NOT maintain these records for you.

If you are ATRI Certified, you will be notified by email regarding renewals. The fee for recertification is as follows: $29 if continuing education credits are earned through ATRI; $49 if continuing education credits are not earned through ATRI, but with an ATRI Authorized Continuing Education Provider (see below for a list); $69 if continuing education credits are not earned through ATRI or are not on the ATRI Authorized Continuing Education Provider list (see below).

A $10 late fee will be added at two-month intervals. For example, if your renewal is due in May and you renew in July, a $10 late fee will be incurred.

If you have not renewed within a year from the issue date of your certificate, you will need to re-take the exam at the reduced fee of $95.

Please e-mail Mary Jane Vicari at with any questions about your renewal.

Note for Teachers, Faculty and Speakers:

The aquatic therapy courses you teach count for continuing education in the following way:  Send us a description, objectives, outline, and bibliography of the course and how many hours the course is worth. You can receive continuing education units for teaching it once.

For example: If you teach an 8-hour course, you will get 8 continuing education units total – one time only, no matter how often you teach the course.

Courses Available. Besides ATRI courses listed on our website, you can also earn continuing education units from other ATRI providers. Click Here for a List of ATRI Authorized Continuing Education Providers

To Become an ATRI CEU Provider, please see the attached Provider Letter and Provider Application.

Note: The courses you present at ATRI events will be automatically approved for CEUs by ATRI. If you would like to present your courses at other organization’s conferences or on your own, and want them approved for CEUs by ATRI, please see the Provider Letter and Provider Application indicated above.

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