Indiana needs more compassionate and knowledgeable recovery coaches. Individuals who want to assist others in their recovery from substance abuse disorders and related mental health conditions can pursue their certification in recovery coaching.
Recovery coaches, sometimes called sober coaches, are part of a comprehensive approach to mental health and substance abuse recovery. Substantial evidence demonstrates the importance of peer support during the recovery journey.
Peer coaches assist those in recovery as they make recovery plans, set goals and make progress in their path to recovery. Recovery coaches understand the challenges faced by the individuals they work with because they have been through it themselves.
No one experiences the same things on their way to recovery. Still, coaches know how to navigate the complexities of treatment, therapy and community resources. They also know how important it is to have someone on your side.
There are many different roles that people can play in helping others with addiction recovery, but one of the most meaningful relationships in recovery is between an individual and their recovery coach.
Indiana’s peer recovery programs are overseen by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (IFSSA).
IFSSA recognizes three critical roles in peer recovery support:
- Community Health Worker: a frontline public health professional with a close relationship to the community they serve
- Certified Recovery Specialist: a person in recovery who can provide peer support in medical settings (including emergency, outpatient and inpatient care) and circumstances that need an advocate
- Certified Addiction Peer Recovery Coach: an individual who guides peers with mental health and substance abuse disorders through non-clinical recovery activities
To become a Certified Addiction Peer Recovery Coach, Indiana residents must complete training and certification through the Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ICAADA).
ICAADA offers two coaching credentials: Certified Addiction Peer Recovery Coach I & II (CAPRC).
CAPRC I certification is only available to individuals with personal experience with mental health or substance abuse recovery. CARPC I is recognized by the Indiana Division of Mental Health Addiction.
Like CAPRC I, CAPRC II is only available to individuals who have lived through addiction and recovery. This secondary credential is an advanced coaching certification. It meets the International Credentialing & Reciprocity Consortium’s Peer Recovery credential requirements.
Both CAPRC I & II are billable through the following options:
- Indiana Medicaid
- Indiana Recovery Works
- Indiana Problem Gambler Awareness Program
Some prerequisites must be met before beginning CAPRC I training.
Applicants must have completed high school or a high school equivalency (HSE). They also must have been in recovery for at least one year.
There is no specific prerequisite coursework or degree for the CAPRC I credential, but applicants must have lived experience in recovery from either mental illness, addiction, or co-occurring disorders. Peer coaching is successful because recovery coaches understand the complexities of recovery and know the importance of respect, high ethical standards and compassion.
Certification is awarded to individuals who have completed 30 required hours of peer training and 16 hours of Peer Recovery Ethics training. Training is available through these options:
- CCAR Recovery Coach Academy
- Mental Health America Indiana (MHAI) at the MHAI Stanley W. DeKemper Training Institute
These courses prepare peer coaches for advocacy, ethical responsibility within the work, mentoring and education training and recovery/wellness support.
To be certified, applications must provide two personal references. They must also live or work in Indiana most of the time (51% or more).
CAPRC I certification is non-renewable after two years.
ICAADA Membership fees are $125. The exam costs $150 for members and $300 for non-members. Certification costs $100 for members and $200 for non-members.
CAPRC II candidates must meet the same training and certification requirements as CAPRC I and some additional minimum qualifications.
This list reflects the things that overlap between CAPRC I and CAPRC II:
- Lived experience with addiction, mental illness, or both
- High school diploma or HSE
- One year of self-attested recovery
- 30 hours of peer training
- 16 hours of peer recovery ethics training
- Two personal references
- Successful IC&RC Peer Recovery examination
- Live or work in Indiana more than half of the time (51% or more)
- Membership fees, exam fees, and certification fees
In addition to these equivalencies, CAPRC II applicants must complete 500 hours of professional peer support. This can be on a volunteer or paid basis or a combination of the two. Additionally, CAPRC II applicants need at least 25 hours under direct supervision.
IC&RC provides a comprehensive list of activities that count toward peer support experience.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Helping people in recovery understand their rights and responsibilities
- Explaining how vital self-advocacy can be during the recovery process
- Collaborating with individuals in recovery to help them make connections between their needs and available resources
- Maintaining a knowledge base of the latest trends and research related to recovery
- Providing resources to community resources
- Educating peers through shared lived experiences
- Supporting the problem-solving of peers
- Using effective coaching techniques
One final credentialing requirement for CAPRC II that is not required for CAPRC I is six hours of HIV and STI education.
Recertification is available based on 40 hours of related Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every two years. This must include six hours in Peer Recovery Ethics.
In Indiana, recovery coaches are held accountable to the ICAADA CAPRC Code of Ethics. This document outlines the responsibilities and limitations of peer coaching in the recovery process.
Recovery coaches are responsible for helping people in recovery meet their recovery goals. This is a serious and important task, and it depends upon all coaches acting with high personal and ethical standards.
For example, coaches must not perform any services outside their area of expertise. Recovery coaches are non-clinical in their services, which means they are not diagnosing or treating “patients.” Instead, they are using their shared lived experience and required training to build strong relationships with people in recovery.
Coaches must also perform their work under appropriate supervision that is laid out in the Code of Ethics. Abiding by the Code of Ethics is an essential part of recovery coaching. This document governs the coaches’ responsibilities, limitations and supervision options to ensure everything is done according to the latest best practices in addiction recovery.
Some aspiring peer recovery coaches may choose to pursue national certification in addition to state certification.
Benefits of obtaining NCPRSS credentials include having more career opportunities, increasing your knowledge of recovery support services and demonstrating incredibly high ethical standards in the peer recovery coaching field.
To be NCPRSS-certified, candidates must:
- Have either a high school diploma or GED
- Have been in recovery for at least two years
- Have already provided at least 200 hours of volunteer or paid recovery coaching activities under appropriate supervision
- Be able to provide evidence that they have earned 60 contact and training hours (CEs) within the last six years
- 48 of those 60 hours must be peer recovery-focused
- Six hours must have covered ethics training and education
- Six hours must be derived from education related to HIV and other pathogens
- Commit to upholding the NAADAC/NCC AP Peer Recovery Support Specialist Code of Ethics
- Provide two references, including one professional reference
- Earn a passing score on the NCPRSS exam
Recovery coaches can work on a volunteer or paid basis. Many people who feel called to this kind of work pursue this career because they want to help people who have been through some of the same life challenges.
Peer recovery coaches are needed by organizations, hospitals, clinics and more. Addiction recovery programs seek to hire recovery coaches because of these individuals’ critical role in successful mental health and addiction recovery.
Some of the employment options for recovery coaches include:
- Being hired by a major hospital network, such as Community Hospitals, IU Health Hospitals or Ascension Hospitals
- Working in emergency departments
- Working for an addiction rehabilitation center
- Serving the community at a non-profit organization
- Supporting veterans by being hired by the Veteran’s Administration (VA)
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists peer recovery coaches among the careers for community health workers. Community health workers are individuals who “Promote health within a community by assisting individuals to adopt healthy behaviors. Serve as an advocate for the health needs of individuals by assisting community residents in effectively communicating with healthcare providers or social service agencies. Act as liaison or advocate and implement programs that promote, maintain, and improve individual and overall community health.”
The BLS identifies the mean hourly wage for community health workers to be $22.97, with a mean annual wage of $47,780. Working as a peer recovery coach is a meaningful career path for individuals who have dealt with addiction and mental health issues and now want to help others move forward in their recovery.