How to Become a Certified Recovery Coach in Oregon

Recovery coaches play an important role in providing support and guidance to individuals who are recovering from addiction and who face adult mental health challenges.

A certified recovery mentor certification demonstrates the knowledge and skills needed to provide recovery support services. To achieve this, candidates have to undergo training approved by the Oregon Health Authority and meet several other state requirements.

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In this article, we will explore the steps you can take to receive a recovery coach certification in Oregon.

What is a Peer Support Specialist (PSS)?

A peer support specialist is a person who has lived experience with substance abuse or behavioral health challenges. In Oregon, they are trained and certified by the Oregon Health Authority to provide peer recovery services to those in need.

Their services involve offering emotional support, guidance, and encouragement to individuals throughout their recovery process. They create a safe and non-judgmental environment where individuals feel comfortable speaking up about their experiences and challenges.

What is a Peer Wellness Specialist (PWS)?

Peer wellness specialists provide support and guidance to individuals in recovery the same way peer support specialists do. They too need to have their own personal, lived experiences and must be certified by the state to provide their services.

The difference is that a peer wellness specialist focuses more on promoting overall wellness, including physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They participate in community outreach and are responsible for assisting members in a coordinated care organization.

Peer wellness specialists also help by providing access to services and resources and supporting members in achieving long-term recovery.

Oregon Health Authority PSS and PWS Certification

You have to meet a few requirements to become a certified peer support specialist or peer wellness specialist in Oregon.

The requirements to become a certified PSS or PWS are as follows:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must hold a high school diploma or GED.
  • Must be a current or former mental health and recovery services consumer or be a family member of someone who has.
  • Have achieved at least two years of sobriety from alcohol or other substances (for those recovering from an addiction disorder)
  • Be in recovery from problem gambling.
  • Must pass a criminal background test.

Certification training

Peer support specialists must complete a 40-hour training program, and peer wellness specialists must complete an 80-hour training program. Both programs are designed to meet standards set by the Oregon Health Authority.

Training participants must also complete authority-approved oral health training. This is because peers with mental health challenges and addiction disorders are more likely to have oral health difficulties.

Certification and continuing education

The application for certification in Oregon typically includes submitting personal information, education, and work history. You may also be required to provide proof of completion of the 40-hour training program.

Certified recovery mentors need continuing education to maintain their certification. This is to ensure that individuals stay up to date with the latest practices and are constantly working to develop their knowledge and skills.

Peer Support Specialist Training Programs in Oregon

There are a variety of organizations and education centers across Oregon that offer OHA-approved training programs. A few options are listed below:


What does a peer support specialist do?

A peer support specialist (PSS) uses their personal experience with recovery and training knowledge to guide and motivate others on their recovery journey. Their goal is to empower recovering individuals and help them develop the skills needed to live a fulfilling life.

How do I become a peer support specialist in Oregon?

You need to pass a few training and certification requirements before becoming a peer support specialist in Oregon. You need to have your own lived experience with addiction or mental health recovery. You will also need to pass a criminal background check and successfully complete an OHA-approved training program before applying for certification.

What is the job outlook for peer support specialists in Oregon?

The outlook for peer support specialists in Oregon is promising. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the demand for peer support services is growing. More and more communities are starting to recognize the value of peer support in promoting recovery.


Certified peer support specialists and peer wellness specialists can provide recovery and mental health services that empower and uplift individuals to live fulfilling lives.

This is a great career choice for those who have been through recovery themselves and are passionate about helping others on their journeys toward improved mental health and wellness.