Leadership Certificate Package

The NRPA Leadership Certificate provides park and recreation professionals practical and applicable methods for taking themselves and their agency to the next level. This four-course online certificate program builds a foundation for professionals aspiring to leadership roles. Whether you come from a large or small agency, the NRPA Leadership Certificate prepares you to handle any decision that comes your way. 

Who Should Enroll?

Park and recreation professionals aspiring toward or currently working in senior management and leadership roles.

Course Details and Registration

To earn your Leadership Certificate and 1.2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), you must complete all four online courses. These courses expand upon the leadership foundation you have already developed and provide you with a deep dive into the concepts that make good leaders great.

Whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, the Leadership Certificate offers a robust online learning opportunity designed for maximum flexibility. The certificate can be purchased as a full package or individual courses. The course, Strategic Thinking, is available for free.

Full Certificate CEUs: 1.2 


Strategic Thinking

Take a deeper dive into creating a strategy-focused organization. Learn how to develop and implement a strategy at your organization and redefine how you think about, assess and view the future.


Human Capital Management

Gain a better understanding of human capital management and methods for achieving a good return on investment from employees. Learn how to create an effective organizational culture and how to develop effective teams within your organization.


Operational Leadership

Explore best practices for creating and measuring effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability in park and facility operations.


Diversity and Cultural Awareness

Explore the importance of developing a diverse, equitable and ethical workplace. Learn how to design an inclusive environment for your organization both internally and externally.


  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Diversity and cultural awareness explores the importance of developing a diverse, equitable, and ethical workplace. To instill an innovative and progressive workplace, it is important that leaders consider how to instill diversity into the organizational culture.

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    Diversity and cultural awareness explores the importance of developing a diverse, equitable, and ethical workplace. To instill an innovative and progressive workplace, it is important that leaders consider how to instill diversity into the organizational culture. This course will cover the following four areas:

    • Defining culture, diversity, and inclusion; 
    • Designing an inclusive environment for your organization both internally and externally;
    • Managing community outreach; and
    • Creating an ethical organization.

    This product is one component of NRPA's Leadership Certificate Program.

  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Operational Leadership represents best practices in creating effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability in operations from recreation and parks to park and facility planning and administrative support

    imageOperational Leadership is part of NRPA's Leadership Certificate, and for best value it is suggested that you purchase the entire certificate package if you intend to complete the program. 

    Operational Leadership represents best practices in creating effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability in operations from recreation and parks to park and facility planning and administrative support. Course outcomes:

    How to lead a successful organization;
    How to instill operational efficiency and effectiveness;
    Measuring organizational performance; and
    The public service motivation.


  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    This course explores the characteristics of Human Capital Management. Most park and recreation agencies spend half of their budget or more on labor costs. As a result, it is imperative to receive a good return on investment in employees as they are an organization’s most important asset.

    imageHuman Capital Management is part of NRPA's Leadership Certificate, and for best value it is suggested that you purchase the entire certificate package if you intend to complete the program. 

    This course explores the characteristics of Human Capital Management.  Most park and recreation agencies spend half of their budget or more on labor costs.  As a result, it is imperative to receive a good return on investment in employees as they are an organization’s most important asset. Course outcomes:

    • Creating an effective organizational culture;
    • Developing effective teams;
    • Leadership skills necessary for excellence in human capital management; and
    • Creating a performance focused organization.
  • Contains 3 Component(s), Includes Credits

    Part of NRPA's Leadership Certificate, Strategic Thinking is a process that defines how you think about, assess, view, and create the future. Leaders have the responsibility to include strategic thinking for themselves, their employees and the organization as a whole by applying these strategies for the part of the organization that they are responsible for.

    NRPA Leadership Certificate

    Strategic Thinking is part of NRPA's Leadership Certificate, and for best value it is suggested that you purchase the entire certificate package if you intend to complete the program. 

    Strategic Thinking is a process that defines how you think about, assess, view, and create the future.  Leaders have the responsibility to include strategic thinking for themselves, their employees and the organization as a whole by applying these strategies for the part of the organization that they are responsible for.  The course is intended for all levels of leadership from agency directors and department heads to front line leaders and those aspiring to lead. The course covers the following topic areas: 

    • Strategy and Leadership, or Creating a strategy-focused organization;
    • There are two sections devoted to developing strategy; and 
    • The final section will discuss how strategies are implemented.

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On April 27, 2017, NRPA held an introductory webinar that provides a broad overview of the content contained within this program. This webinar is not for credit and free to view.

Leading to Create Organizational Excellence

This webinar  provides an overview of four key areas of leadership: strategic thinking, human capital management, operational leadership and diversity and cultural awareness. Organizational excellence is largely accomplished from the development of these competencies throughout the organization. The session is intended for all levels of leadership from agency directors and department heads to front line leaders and those aspiring to lead. Strategic thinking is characterized by various forms of strategic direction such as master and strategic plans. Human capital management discusses how to create an environment in which employees can do their best. Operational leadership represents best practices in creating effectiveness, efficiency, and accountability. Diversity and cultural awareness includes discussion of creating an inclusive work environment and providing services to the community that is welcoming to all. Weaved throughout all of these areas is an emphasis on developing cultural competence and well defined organizational values.