How to Become a Recovery Coach in Kansas
Working as a recovery coach or peer recovery coach can be very rewarding. If you have been through addiction and are now firmly rooted in recovery, you can become a recovery coach or peer mentor in Kansas. In this role, you’ll work with and support individuals who, like you, struggle with addiction.
Although they are not therapists, recovery coaches and peer mentors play an essential role. They set an example for others and help guide them through the process of achieving lasting recovery. Some of the types of support recovery coaches provide include:
- Emotional support, including empathy and someone to listen
- Informational support, such as how to access community resources for wellness
- Connections with additional services, activities, events, and support groups
- Helping find more practical support, such as housing benefits or employment training
Coaching for recovery is a long-term process that fosters sobriety, wellness, and community engagement. The coach or mentor provides support, tools, resources, and their own past experiences to help the individual make lasting, positive changes in their lives.
Recovery coaches must be certified. The certification process is free, but it requires a few steps and a dedication to learning what it takes to work with and support people working toward recovery. You can begin working as a recovery or peer support coach in less than a year of training and with work experience hours under a supervisor.
Guidelines to Become a Recovery Coach
People struggling with substance use disorders can access peer recovery support services to aid their recovery. States offer these services to residents and community members hoping to quit using and enter a long-term, prosperous state of recovery.
The type of support offered is through peers or people who have struggled with their own substance use disorders and achieved long-term recovery. Typically, recovery coaches have been sober for a year or more, but every state has its own requirements. One year of recovery is the minimum requirement in Kansas.
It’s important to note that this type of support is not clinical. Recovery coaches are not licensed therapists or counselors. Their support is not designed to replace professional mental health and addiction treatment. However, it is a supplement that can be beneficial for many.
Many people have found peer support to be one valuable component of an overall treatment or support plan. Working with a peer who understands them can help them build sober living skills and reduce the risk of relapse. Like other chronic illnesses, addiction often requires ongoing care, support, and management, and recovery coaching is one way to do it.
How Does Recovery Coaching Work in Kansas?
Every state sets its own requirements for this position. It is not a federally regulated career. In Kansas, recovery coaches are regulated through the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, Behavioral Health Services Division (KDADS).
KDADS certifies recovery coaches and peer support professionals in various areas, including mental illness, substance use disorders, and gambling addiction. Those who assist people struggling with addiction are known as peer mentors.
Certified Peer Mentors (CPMs) are individuals in long-term recovery who have been trained to support other people looking to achieve recovery. According to KDADS, the program’s goal is to help people new to recovery overcome barriers, access community resources, and build skills for a healthy lifestyle in recovery.
What Are the Qualifications for Certified Peer Mentors in Kansas?
To work as a peer mentor in Kansas, you must be credentialed through the KDADS Division of Behavioral Health Services (BHS). The credential is called Kansas Certified Peer Mentoring Certification. There is no fee to get the credential, but you must meet specific criteria:
- Be at least 18 years old and in full recovery from a substance use disorder for at least one year
- Complete the state’s peer mentor training program, including a level one online portion and a level two, two-day, in-person session
- Pass the training program quizzes and final exam with scores of 70% or higher
- Read and sign the BHS Code of Ethics for Kansas Certified Peer Mentors and Kansas Peer Mentors in Training.
- Sign the Merit of Public Trust
Once you have completed these requirements, you can apply for your certification through BHS. Keep in mind that CPMs cannot work with family members or with anyone who presents a conflict of interest.
Training to Become a Recovery Coach in Kansas
Kansas’s BHS provides the training required for peer coaches to get certified and begin working in the state. The process begins with Level One Training. This is an online, self-paced course taken through the LearnWorlds platform. Participants can complete this for free but must sign up for an account on the site.
Once Level One is completed with the required exam score, you will need to wait for approval from KDADS to move on to Level Two Training. You can begin working as a peer mentor under supervision at this stage. You are allowed to bill for up to 20 hours per week. You must work with a supervisor for at least 90 days before gaining approval for the next level.
Once approved, you can register through KDADS for Level Two Training. You have one year between completing Level One to complete Level Two. This is also free, but any travel or associated expenses are the responsibility of the trainee or their employing agency. Level Two training takes place on two consecutive Saturdays. There are multiple sessions per year. Once you have completed this requirement, you can apply for the CPM credential.
Once you are a CPM, you can advance in your career with additional courses on the LearnWorlds platform. These include safety training, supervisor training, action plan training, and values and ethics training.
Skills Learned in Recovery Coach and Peer Mentor Training
While being an individual in long-term recovery is an essential prerequisite for successfully mentoring others, the training provides essential professional skills. The curriculum includes several areas of training:
- Mentoring individuals and groups within the guidelines of a state agency
- Mentoring within a greater community
- The role of a mentor and how it differs from counselors and 12-step sponsors
- Confidentiality and ethics when working with others in recovery
- Working with supervisors
The training program and curriculum focus heavily on important competencies, including informed choice, working in a partnership and mentorship that is person-centered, strength-based and trauma-informed.
The curriculum recognizes that people seeking recovery often have comorbidities. The training prepares mentors to work with people struggling with multiple addictions, mental illnesses and past trauma.
Salaries and Outlook for Recovery Coaches in Kansas
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records salary and job growth information for a number of fields. It does not recognize peer mentorship or recovery coaching as a separate career. Recovery coaches are included in the health education specialists and community health workers group.
For this career group, the BLS reports a median annual salary of $48,860. It also shows significant growth. The number of jobs available is expected to keep growing at an impressive rate of 12%.
Projections Central reports that community and social service specialists in Kansas earn an average salary of $47,720 per year or $22.94 per hour. Job growth in the state is not as robust as nationwide, but it is still positive. New peer mentors can expect jobs in Kansas to increase yearly at a rate of 6% through at least 2028.
Working as a Recovery Coach in Kansas
Certified recovery coaches and peer mentors are generally in demand throughout Kansas. They are needed to support the work of therapists and other addiction specialists. CPMs in Kansas typically work in one or more of a few different settings:
- Substance use disorder treatment facilities
- Mental health treatment facilities
- Healthcare organizations
- Criminal justice settings
- Public health agencies
Addiction affects everyone in all locations, but many opportunities are available in larger population centers. Look for the most jobs available in and around Kansas City, Overland Park, Wichita, Topeka and Lawrence. To give you an idea of the kinds of positions available for CPMs, these are some recent listings from Indeed.com:
- Peer support specialist, Johnson County, New Century, $15.71 to $21.25 per hour
- Peer support specialist, Elizabeth Layton Center, Inc., Paola, $14.50 to $16.50 per hour
- Peer support specialist fellowship – homeless outreach, Bert Nash Community Health Center, Lawrence, $16.25 to $22.32 per hour
- Peer support specialist, Kanza Mental health and Guidance Center, Hiawatha, $15 per hour
- Recovery support specialist – Ellsworth Correctional Facility, Heartland Regional Alcohol and Drug Assessment Center, Ellsworth, $16.56 per hour
- Peer support specialist, Pawnee Mental Health Services, Junction City, $24,300 to $30,700 per year
Recovery support is an essential tool in the fight against addiction. People who are trying to get and stay sober benefit significantly from peers who have been in their position. If you want to use your past experiences to help people while also earning a living, consider becoming a certified recovery coach in Kansas.