How to Become a Recovery Coach in Delaware

On their own, addicted substance users with a mental disorder or co-occurring disease often struggle to quit the habit and fit into society. They may encounter numerous obstacles and distractions on their path to sobriety and wellness without a strong support system. If you have overcome addiction and its challenges, you’re in an excellent spot to help others as a paid or volunteer recovery coach in Delaware.  

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What is a Recovery Coach?

Recovery coaches are also called peer recovery specialists. Most states and private organizations with drug/alcohol rehabilitation programs recognize that positive “peer influence” can enhance addiction treatment outcomes. Besides treating and counseling addicts, they often hire trained peer recovery specialists to mentor and support patients in their recovery journey. 

They use training and lessons learned while overcoming and treating their own addiction to help other addicts achieve the same. Their supportive work includes helping clients acquire the skills and resources necessary to live an independent and responsible life in the community.

Your responsibilities as a peer recovery specialist may comprise:

  • Vouching for the client: You’ll advocate for the addict in recovery when necessary. If they’re in crisis, you should objectively analyze the situation and advocate for an intervention that best serves the client’s and their family’s interests. For example, offering to help them access treatment immediately can make hospitalization, incarceration or other restrictive options unnecessary.
  • Mentorship/education: Educating the addict in areas like coping skills, developing a recovery plan, self-management, and substance abuse is your responsibility. Also, families with an addicted child usually require education and guidance in coping and providing the best support possible.
  • Direct recovery/wellness support: Required services can include arranging medical appointments, support groups and counseling sessions. To ensure the client remains on the right path to addiction recovery, you’ll closely monitor various aspects of their everyday living, such as medication, schedule and behavior.
  • General resource coordination: This entails proactively assisting the client in receiving essential community services. Most struggling addicts require help to access resources like food, housing, benefits or any funding for which they’re eligible.

Becoming a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) in Delaware

Peer recovery specialist certification in Delaware allows you to demonstrate that you satisfy the academic and professional requirements necessary to be effective in this field. This certification shows potential employers that you possess adequate peer support experience to help them provide patient-focused addiction recovery services.

If you’re interested in state or national CPRS credentials, there are multiple pathways to explore, but most training programs in Delaware only accept candidates with some experience in peer recovery coaching. Start by researching the topic and reaching out to local organizations with volunteer opportunities. Peer resource centers, drug rehab facilities and non-profits providing behavioral health advocacy are ideal places to gain relevant skills on your way to professional certification.

Most peer recovery specialist certification programs in the state require trainees to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be in recovery from addiction or a related mental disorder
  • Willingness to self-disclose your substance use and recovery story for peer education/mentorship
  • Complete peer recovery specialist training
  • Pass a certification exam

Delaware Certification Board (DCB)

DCB is a non-profit that sets training and certification standards for behavioral health professionals throughout Delaware, including peer recovery specialists. The state and many employers recognize DCB’s academic credentials, which significantly enhance the competitiveness of job seekers in this occupation. You must meet the following minimum requirements when applying for peer recovery specialist certification with the certifying body:

  • High school diploma/GED (you can apply with an associate degree)
  • Six months working full-time or 1000 hours part-time as a paid or volunteer peer recovery specialist (must provide a signed copy of your current job description)
  • 25 hours of supervised work experience in the recovery coach field
  • 46 hours of peer recovery training (three-credit college courses may provide 45 of the required study time)
  • A written description of your recovery journey in at least 1000 words

Approval of your application allows you to take the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) certification exam for $150. You can renew your CPRS credentials by completing at least 20 hours of DCB-approved continuing education (CE) every two years.

Peer Recovery Specialist Training Options in Delaware

The Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH)

Delaware residents can train as peer recovery specialists through the DSAMH at no cost. The course takes nine days and prepares trainees for DCB certification. Besides meeting the standard DCB prerequisites, you must have at least three months of peer recovery work experience and be currently serving in this role under supervision to be eligible for the DSAMH-sponsored course. 

The DSAMH offers peer recovery training through third-party providers, such as the Mental Health Association (MHA) in Delaware. While the MHA provides the course in person, it may resort to virtual in exceptional circumstances. Be ready to spend 10 hours or more per week completing assignments if you’re considering enrolling in the MHA virtual program for peer recovery specialists.

The 50-hour training includes mandatory live sessions that require a smartphone, computer or tablet to access. Remote classes may be available by dial-in, but the MHA discourages students from using smartphones to do their homework.

Other DSMH peer services programs that you can access through the MHA courses include:

  • Peer 101 (a two-day course for beginners interested in acquiring basic skills before volunteering in the peer recovery sector)
  • Supervising peer recovery specialist (one-day course for supervisors)
  • Continuing education (multiple CE workshops for peer recovery specialist recertification) 

Apart from training sponsorship, state-certified peer recovery professionals in Delaware can access various career-boosting resources for free. Exclusive benefits include technical support and a networking bridge line to connect with their counterparts in the state regularly.

Education to Go (Ed2Go)

If you’re looking for training opportunities to inspire others with your addiction recovery story, the peer support specialist course at Ed2Go may be worth your attention. The organization offers the 40-hour program on its online platform for $595. You can enroll at your convenience and spread your study time out over three months. 

Developers of the Ed2Go peer recovery curriculum borrowed heavily from best practices and standards of ethics that the National Association of Peer Supporters (NAPS) has consistently endorsed. This way, trainees can acquire the professional skills they need to present their personal experiences as a model for other addicts charting their own recovery paths. Successful program participants receive a certificate of completion from the organization.

You need a computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to access the instructional materials online. Having a personal email address before getting started is also recommended.

Net Institute (Center for Addiction and Recovery Education)

Net Institute’s peer recovery specialist courses may partially allow students to fulfill certification requirements by various state boards. Although the online program includes NAPS-promoted content, it doesn’t offer certifying credentials to graduate trainees. Peer recovery training options available at the institution include:

  • Peer recovery veteran: This program trains retired military members to mentor and support their veteran counterparts receiving treatment for mental health issues or addiction. The course costs $177 and is 40 hours long.
  • Peer specialist fundamentals: Educational videos featuring stories of individuals recovering from substance use or a mental health problem are an integral part of this 40-hour course. It’s an introductory training option for people in recovery who want to learn how to use their personal experiences to inspire others to attain sobriety and good health. The self-paced program costs $177.
  • Peer recovery essentials: If you’re currently working as a peer recovery or support specialist, this 35-hour course may provide the additional skills you need to become more effective in your specialty. For $425, you’ll get hours of valuable CE, including units recommended by the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) and the IC&RC.  

Peer Recovery Specialist Work Environment, Salary Expectations and Outlook

Having peer recovery specialist credentials in Delaware allows you to work in the behavioral healthcare system. Be prepared to regularly collaborate on patient support with other qualified specialists, including psychotherapists and community health workers/educators.

Once you become a board-certified peer specialist or mentor, consider seeking employment opportunities at PROMISE (Promoting Optimal Mental Health for Individuals through Support and Empowerment). The DSAMH initiative hires behavioral health experts to provide support services to target individuals with substance abuse or mental problem in Delaware. Other potential employers in the state include the mental health court, emergency departments and programs such as Assertive Community Treatment, Veteran Administration and detox.

Professional certification can significantly impact your earnings as a peer specialist in Delaware. Certified mentors or coaches in the state make about $38,714 a year on average, according to As with any other occupation, your income potential improves as you accumulate work experience and diversify your support/advocacy skill set through CE.

You’ll join a rapidly expanding profession when you become a peer recovery coach. The estimated 2021-2031 growth rate for this occupational group is 12%, with 16,000 job openings available each year.