How To Become A Certified Recovery Coach In Pennsylvania

Becoming a certified recovery coach requires dedication and effort, but the rewards of having a fulfilling career that positively impacts people’s lives make it all worth it.

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If you are interested in pursuing this path in Pennsylvania, here is an overview of what you need to do to achieve certification.

Recovery Coach Certification, Pennsylvania

Peer support specialists in this state are certified by the Pennsylvania Certification Board. To become a certified peer specialist, you need to complete 75 hours of training.

This training includes the following:

  • Cultural competency
  • Active listening skills
  • Appropriate self-disclosure
  • Goal-setting
  • Sharing your personal recovery process
  • Essential peer support practices

Requirements To Become A Certified Recovery Specialist

To be eligible for certification you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a GED or high school diploma.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have lived experience within a recovery system.
  • Be living or working in Pennsylvania.
  • Possess 12 months of successful employment within the last 3 years.
  • If not, then you must have earned a minimum of 24 credit hours from a post-secondary education provider.
  • Be successful in your own recovery from mental health issues, substance use disorder, or co-occurring disorders.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Certified Recovery Specialist?

On average, it costs between $1,000 and $1,600 to become certified by the PA Certification Board. This may seem expensive, but most recovery specialists accept that there are some costs involved at the beginning of their careers.

You may also be able to secure funding from an organization, such as:

  • County Mental Health and Developmental Services
  • Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
  • PMHCA Glenn Koons Scholarship
  • Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations

Do Certified Peer Specialists Need To Recertify In Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Certification Board will require you to recertify every 2 years. The recertification involves 36 hours of continuing education. 3 hours of this training must be in ethics, and 24 hours must be in training related to peer support.

Also, the Certification Board expects you to retain documentation of this training as evidence. This is because you may be randomly selected for an audit. These documents will then be reviewed to ensure you’ve undergone the relevant training.

Training Programs For Recovery Specialists In Pennsylvania

There are a number of institutions in Pennsylvania where you can complete your training to become a certified recovery specialist. The structure of the course will vary between organizations. So, make sure you choose the one that suits you best.

Two of the most popular organizations in Pennsylvania are The Institute@MHP and Crisis Now Academy.

Job Opportunities & Earning Potential

Many job opportunities open up to you once you’re certified in Pennsylvania. After you start applying for roles, you’ll realize that all of your hard work has started to pay off.

Some of the roles that you could take on include:

  • Certified Family Recovery Specialist
  • Recovery Specialists Advocate
  • Behavioral Health Associate
  • Crisis Intervention Specialist

You may even decide to open up your own practice. On average, recovery coaches in Pennsylvania earn $37,330.


Can a recovery specialist substantially improve somebody’s life?

Yes, by using your lived experience and the skills you’ve acquired, you can help to improve the lives of those you support. When people are going through recovery it can be very difficult. Often, people report feeling alone and unsure of where to turn.

That’s where you, as a recovery specialist, can help the most. You provide the guidance and support that people need during the recovery process.

What’s the most difficult part of being a recovery coach?

One of the most difficult things you have to deal with as a recovery coach is clients with challenging behavior. You’ll be trained on how to cope with this type of behavior and how to maintain a constructive relationship with your clients.

Final Thoughts

The time and effort you put into gaining your certification in Pennsylvania will be more than worth it. You’ll be able to guide others on their journey to recovery and experience a huge amount of personal growth along the way.