The purpose of these Standards of Registration is to identify as Registered Drama Therapists those people who have: expertise in dramatic, theatrical, and performance media; understanding of psychotherapeutic processes with different populations in a variety of settings; experience with the integration of the artistic and psychological aspects of drama therapy; professional work experience in the field of drama therapy, mental health and special education.

To apply to become a RDT:

Click here to fill out
the Registered Drama Therapist Application (RDT)

Click here to view a step-by-step guide for the application process. 

Click here for a sample guidance application to navigate the RDT application before applying online.

List below are forms to upload in the online forms links above:

The application deadlines for the credentialing cycles are March 15th and August 15th each year. 

The application system will open two months before the deadlines (January 15th and June 15th). Please click here for a recommended timeline to complete the application.

Please allow 6-8 weeks for our Volunteer Registry Committee Team to review all applications. Letters will be generally sent out in the second week of May for March 15th cycle and the second week of October for August 15th cycle.

Registration Requirements

To qualify as a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT), the applicant must:

  1. Meet all the Educational Requirement
  2. Meet all the Basic Eligibility Requirements

Education Requirements

The applicant must have either:

  1. Master’s Degree or Doctoral Degree in Drama Therapy from an NADTA accredited college/university.
  2. Master’s Degree or Doctoral Degree in a field related to Drama Therapy (i.e., drama/theatre, psychology, counseling, special education, social work, occupational therapy, recreation therapy, art therapy, music therapy, dance/movement therapy, etc.) from an accredited college or university AND completion of Alternative Training Education requirements under the supervision of a RDT/BCT.

In addition, the applicant must have completed:

  • Drama Therapy Internship consisting of a total of 800 hours with a minimum of 300 direct-client contact hours and 1 hour of supervision for every 10 hours direct-client contact (minimum of 30 hours of supervision). Supervision must be provided by a Registered Drama Therapist, credentialed creative arts therapist, credentialed special educator or credentialed mental health professional. The remaining 470 indirect hours of internship hours may include, but are not limited to, staff meetings, preparing for sessions, contact notes, reviewing professional materials, and other administrative work.
  • At least 50% (150 hours) of the direct-client contact time must be group work, while the remaining 50% (150 hours) may be with individuals, couples, and families. All 300 hours may be group work.
  • During the internship, applicant must have worked with a minimum of two (2) different populations (e.g., emotionally disturbed, physically disabled, adolescent, elderly, etc.). It may be that the applicant is able to work with two populations at one internship site. If not, the applicant may need to do an internship at two different sites. The total hours of internship does not change in any case (i.e., 800 for one or for both counted together).

Basic Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a member of NADTA for at least one year prior to applying for registration.
  • Submit a 1 page essay describing the nature of your drama/theatre experience.
  • Submit a 1-2 page essay on your drama therapy orientation with brief details about your workplace (e.g., population, services offered by the workplace, etc.).
  • Upload a signed copy of the NADTA Code of Ethical Principles.
  • Graduate Transcripts must be sent directly to the NADTA from the Institution. Electronic transcripts are preferred. An undergraduate transcript is optional, unless you want to count your theatre degree or classes toward the 500 theatre hours. Then, the undergraduate transcript must be submitted.
  • Three letters of recommendation sent directly from the reference. The Letter of Recommendation form will be provided to the reference from the applicant. The reference will then email or mail the recommendation form to the office. Applicants will need a letter of recommendation from
    • the Director of their NADTA approved graduate program or BCT for students on the alternative track,
    • a supervisor, and
    • another trainer, supervisor, or colleague who can speak to your drama therapy work.
  • 500 hours of drama/theatre experience. This may include acting, directing, and/or improvisational work studied or performed in a college, community, or professional setting. If an undergraduate or graduate degree was obtained, these hours have been met the requirement.
  • Submit a Theatre Resume.
  • 1500 hours of professional experience as a drama therapist. You may start to accrue these 1500 hours before you graduate from your M.A. program in drama therapy, or before you complete all the requirements of Alternative Training if you have completed all your core coursework and your internship is complete. Professional hours are NOT an extension of Internship hours. They are hours accrued in a professional capacity in a paid setting. You MUST wait one year after your M.A. degree is completed to apply for your RDT. (If you graduated in May or June the year before you can apply for registry for the next year's March 15th deadline.) If you already had your M.A. before beginning alternative training, you do not need to wait one year if all other requirements have been met.  
  • Professional Experience Hours can be accrued in the following ways
    • A minimum of 1000 and up to 1500 professional experience hours in a setting working as a paid drama therapist. Hours must be supervised by a Registered Drama Therapist, credentialed creative arts therapist or a credentialed master's-level mental health or special education professional. You must have one hour of supervision for every 10 hours of client contact time. At least 50% of your minimum 1000 hours will be direct client contact hours (see internship section for definition of "direct client contact"). If you have more than one (1) work site, please copy this page and fill out a separate form for each site *Note: If you have acquired experience in a position that was unpaid, please attach a letter from a representative of the agency to document that: 
      • explains that the position was recognized by the agency as professional and
      • provides a brief narrative justification for non-paid status.
    • Up to 500 hours of advanced clinical training. This may consist of conference hours, classes, or workshops outside of the AT contract or all NADTA approved graduate program required coursework. Certificates of completion must be attached. You may begin to accrue professional advanced clinical training hours after you have begun your education in an NADTA approved program or Alternative Training, as long as the training is not part of your academic program or AT training. Some applicants may want to utilize college or university level course work done in addition to their MA degree. In accordance with the National Post Secondary Education Standards, a 1 credit course is worth 45 hours of clock time, a 2 credit course is worth 90 hours of clock time, and a 3 credit course is worth 135 hours of clock time.
    • Up to 100 hours of personal psychotherapy and/or creative arts therapy within the last five years. Please provide a signed letter from the therapist who provided services, with the date range and total hours of therapy received.
    • Up to 100 hours participation in a Playback Theatre troupe can be used towards these hours, provided supervision includes how Playback Theatre can be used or is being used in a drama therapy context (use the Professional Experience as a Drama Therapist form to record these hours and supervision. Include in the document with other work sites where professional drama therapy experience was obtained).

If training at an NADTA approved graduate program or an AT contract began prior to Fall of 2022, applicants may use 500 additional hours of internship toward their 1500 professional experience hours. These hours are after the 800 hours were completed.

Help and Questions

Please Note: For specific questions regarding the application process please contact [email protected]. The [email protected] email address is for P-RDT / RDT application transcripts and letters of recommendation ONLY.

Visit the FAQ page for any other questions you might have.