ATRI Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise Certification Information


ATRI Aquatic Therapy & Rehabilitation Certification (ATRIC) Candidate Handbook

The Mission of ATRI is to further the education of health care professionals and practitioners working in the aquatic environment for better health and longevity of the clients and population we serve. ATRI is your leading source of multidisciplinary aquatic therapy education.

This handbook covers all the protocol, details, and information you need to fully understand the process to study, prepare and take the ATRI certification. Additionally, this handbook will provide protocols of certification holders, certification policies and procedures, and certification renewal requirements. Click here for the Candidate Handbook.


ATRI Certification Exam Description
The ATRI Certification Exam is a 100-question multiple choice and matching exam developed to test a standard level of theoretical and practical competence. This exam is designed 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 and can be downloaded free of charge.  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.

Exam Fees
The examination fee is $199.00. The retake fee for anyone who has failed the exam is $95.00. Please follow the registration procedures on our website to register for the exam date that is most convenient for you.


ATRI Certification Summary
ATRI Aquatic Therapy & Rehabilitation Certification (ATRIC) Exam is for competent, knowledgeable professionals in aquatic therapy, rehab, and therapeutic exercise. Being ATRI Certified proves you are a knowledgeable and more well-rounded aquatic therapy practitioner. The education you gain by completing the prerequisite 15 hours of course work in aquatic therapy helps you take better care of your clients. The Certification is very popular because most practitioners want to advance themselves, expand their client base, and have the affirmation of this credential. It’s why many practitioners are certified by several organizations. It is also helpful for getting jobs, raises, and pool time. It all depends on the title you want, the patients/clients with whom you’re working, and your goals. If you want to grow and expand, then Certification is for you.


Who is the ATRI 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.  Click Here to Download Standards.


Exam Preparation
It is highly recommended that all exam candidates prepare accordingly following the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Standards prior to sitting for the exam.


ATRIC Prerequisite
The prerequisite for the ATRIC exam is 15 hours of education in aquatic therapy, rehab and/or aquatic therapeutic exercise. 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 Quick Prep course (#1809) is also highly recommended if you are planning to take the ATRI Certification Exam. The Quick Prep course is offered via ATRI Online Ed, and 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.

Begin preparing by obtaining and reviewing the full definitions of the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Standards. The Standards can be downloaded free of charge. Click here to download Standards.


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.

Essential Principles of Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation – Study Guide (Sova)

AQUATICS: The Complete Reference Guide for Aquatic Fitness Professionals (Sova)

Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy (Becker and Cole)

These books are available to purchase at DSL, Ltd.  Click here to purchase

Option 3 – Hands-on Study – Since this certification is entry level, the ATRI course #1200-Intro to Aquatic Therapy and Rehab is recommended. Attending/taking the ‘Intro” course on the first day of an ATRI event, along with courses during the rest of the event, or taking the Online Ed course at home on your own schedule should be all you need for hands-on study and prerequisite hours. Click Here to Access this Course

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.

Exam Registration and Confirmation
You must purchase/register for the exam in advance. Click Here to Register/Purchase ATRI Examination

Note:  Purchasing the exam can be done at any time but in order to access the examination, you will have to have proof of prerequisite completion and fulfillment.

After your prerequisites are complete and verified, you will receive a link to purchase the examination if you haven’t already done so. A confirmation email will be sent within 48 hours of your online registration.

Notification of Scores. Upon completion of the exam, you will be notified immediately of your score. If you successfully pass the exam and have met all the prerequisites, your digital/printable certificate will be issued within 7-10 days.

Exam Scores
You must receive a passing score of 75% in order to pass the ATRIC examination.


Cancellation/Rescheduling. Examination fees are non-refundable.


Certification Renewal
ATRI certification is valid for one year. To maintain your ATRI certification, you must obtain a minimum of 10 Continuing Education hours with one-year from the date of your examination or last renewal.  Click Here to access the Certification Renewal Form

Effective January 2022-Save time and renew online. Visit aeawave.org home page and review the ATRI Cert Renew video for more assistance.

Helpful information regarding your ATRIC renewal:

ATRI Certification is valid for 1 year.

Renew in your own account at the AEA/ATRI main website by logging in at aeawave.org.

You need to obtain a minimum of 10 ATRI CEUs/CECs (Continuing Education Units/Credits) to renew. If you earn more than 10 CECs per renewal period, you can carry the excess over to the following renewal year.

Track your CEUs/CECs online through your login at the AEA website.

There is a one-year renewal fee for the recertification period.

You can renew your certification as early as 90 days to your expiration and no later than 90 days following expiration without incurring additional late fees.


IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you do not renew within one-year from the date of your expiration, you will need to re-take the exam and may do so at a reduced rate of $95.00. Please email  info@aeawave.org with any questions about your renewal or to retake the examination.


Obtaining Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
ATRI provides education through in-person, virtually live through zoom and Online Education to keep your Certification up to date. You can also earn continuing education units from other ATRI approved CE Providers. Click Here for a List of ATRI Authorized Continuing Education Providers

Upon successful completion of your ATRI Certification if you wish to find more information on how to become an ATRI Authorized/Approved CEU/CEC Provider, please contact info@aeawave.org for more details.


Additional CEU Options for Teachers, Faculty and Speakers
The aquatic therapy professional 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 (CEUs) for teaching it one time only.

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 in any given renewal period. NOTE:  You complete this request for earnings through the Petition system at aeawave.org.  Email info@aeawave.org to obtain an ATRI Petition Form.


Certification Oversight Committee (COC)
The Certification Oversight Committee (COC) is a voluntary committee comprised of professionals from the aquatic therapy and fitness industry and other industry-related professions to represent public health and safety and the individual seeking certification. The committee is responsible for overseeing policy and procedures regarding Certification and acts independently of the AEA Board of Directors and ATRI Division Directors.


Testing & Scoring
Professional Testing, Inc. and Gauge.com are the third parties contracted by AEA/ATRI to assist in development, management and administration for the examinations based upon criteria approved by the AEA/ATRI COC.


AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Certification Examination
The 100-question, multiple-choice exam is designed to test a standard level of theoretical and practical competence and skill for aquatic fitness professionals to deliver safe and effective aquatic fitness programming. This is a timed examination with 2 hours allotted for completion, approximately 1 minute per question. Currently, candidates must receive a minimum score of 68% to obtain AEA Certification.


Examination Access
Once you have completed the necessary prerequisites and registered/purchased the ATRI Examination, you will be provided access to take the examination through our online secure portal.


Examination Specifications
The following process, created in conjunction with psychometrics, are used to develop the ATRI Examination:

Job Analysis / Role Delineation / Certification Objectives: A group of industry experts review specific job requirements to develop a set of objectives that outline the knowledge, tasks, and skills required to effectively perform the role of an aquatic therapeutic exercise professionals.


Validation and Test Specifications: The exam objectives are sent to a large sample of therapy exercise professionals who currently hold the degree, licensing and or certification or to supervisors that employ such professionals. This procedure validates and weighs the objectives for professional practice to determine test specifications. Test specifications determine the number of questions to be used on the examination from the various objectives.


Item Writing: An item writing committee of subject matter experts develops, reviews, and analyzes exam questions. These subject matter experts tie questions to the validated objective criteria and directly reference the questions to the examination study materials approved by AEA and the ATRI Division.

Examination Assembly: The examinations are constructed using the exam question database developed by question writers and reviewers following the exam specifications determined from the job analysis survey.


Cut Score Determination: Cut scores for the ATRI examination is statistically determined, based on acceptable criteria determined by the therapeutic exercise industry.  Examinations are weighted and equated to an appropriate degree of difficulty.


ATRI Code of Ethics Affirmation
Upon successful completion of ATRIC exam, you are expected to attest and acknowledge the ATRI Code of Ethics and Principles of Professionalism as indicated below.

“As an Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Certified practitioner I will maintain my competence and integrity. I will protect the privacy and respect the diverse values of my clients. I will maintain high professional standards, offer my services in safe environments, and strive to further the
aquatic therapy and rehabilitation industry. I am guided by ATRI’s Code of Ethics in my dealings with ATRIC Professionals, clients, my colleagues and the public.”


The Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry’s Principles of Professionalism

Competence: Professionals function to the best of their knowledge and skill. They only render services and employ techniques in which they are qualified by training and experience. They recognize their limitations and seek to reduce them by expanding their expertise. Professionals continuously enhance their knowledge and skills through continuing education and by remaining informed of professional trends, issues, and developments. They maintain the education and experience necessary to appropriately serve clients.

Honesty: Professionals are truthful. They honestly represent and act within their knowledge and abilities. In areas of professional competency and authority they practice without exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment. Their communications are sufficiently complete, accurate, and clear in order for clients and other relevant individuals to understand the intent and implications of service. They are guided by truth, fairness and integrity in their professional decisions and relationships. They behave in a positive, constructive manner and avoid actions which are or could be perceived as a conflict of interest, or for inappropriate personal gain.

Privacy: Professionals respect the privacy of individuals. Communications are kept confidential except with the explicit consent of the client or where the welfare of the client or others is clearly imperiled. Clients are informed of the nature and the scope of confidentiality.

Professional Practices: Professionals provide quality services based on the highest professional standards and abide by the standards set by the profession. Accurate records are maintained. Care is used in administrating tests and other measurement instruments. They are used only for their express purposes. The nature of all practices, including tests and measurements, are explained to clients prior to implementation. Clients are informed of the test results and the implications of those results for the client. All professional practices are conducted for the safety, well-being, and best interest of the client. Professionals practice within the scope of their education and knowledge.

Obligation of the Professional to the Profession: Professional’s work to increase and improve the profession’s body of knowledge by supporting and by conducting research. Research is practiced according to accepted canons and ethics of scientific inquiry. Where clients are involved, their welfare is paramount. Prior permission is gained from subjects to participate in research. They are informed of the general nature of the research and any specific risks that may be involved. Subjects are informed at the conclusion of the research and are provided with results of the study on request. Professional writing/publishing is done with appropriate citation of the work of others and without plagiarism. Professionals treat the profession with critical respect. They strive to protect, preserve, and promote the integrity of the profession and its commitment to public service Professionals are committed to regular and continuous evaluation of the profession. Changes are implemented that improve the professional’s ability to serve the profession.

Respect Diverse Values: Professionals embrace and foster an inclusive climate of respect for all people regardless of national origin, race, religion, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental impairment. Safe Environment: Professionals provide a safe participation environment. They work to ensure a clean, well-lit, ventilated facility that meets all governmental regulations and standards. They use and maintain equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions. They work appropriately with lifeguard personnel and establish and use emergency action plans. They use the guidelines provided by a competent, certified infection control professional to determine appropriate referrals in order to assure safety for all participating staff and clients.

Summary: Adherence to the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry Principles of Practice and Code of Ethics signifies professionalism, competence, fair dealing, and high integrity.