How To Become A Certified Recovery Coach In Utah

The recovery support services industry is not for everyone. Recovery coaching can be very taxing, and some days will be very difficult to get through. However, if you’re looking to become a peer recovery coach, then you have likely been through these struggles yourself and will understand.

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While it is possible to practice recovery coaching without certification, it is not recommended. Clients will generally always prefer to go through recovery with a certified peer support specialist.

What Are The Requirements To Receive Recovery Coach Certification In Utah?

Minimum qualifications

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or college transcript.
  • Have been in recovery for a year from a mental illness or substance use disorder.

Application process

The minimum qualifications to become a peer recovery support specialist aren’t all that extensive. However, the application process is slightly more involved. This is what you’ll need to do to apply:

  • Submit an essay covering your recovery journey, what you are doing to remain in recovery, and how you assisted others using your lived experience as an example.
  • Submit two letters of reference. One must come from a clinical professional describing where you are in the recovery process.
  • Fill in the certified peer support specialist application form.


There are two different options for training when it comes to peer support certification in Utah. The institutions that offer certification in Utah include Utah State University (USU) and Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness (USARA).

Both of these training options are free through federal grants.

Usu’s Training Program

USU makes use of a nationally recognized peer support training program. You can complete the training via the five-day in-person training program, but USU also offers a hybrid training process.

The hybrid option consists of online training and then two days of face-to-face training. The online classes consist of 20 hours of instruction, which are self-paced and need to be completed within three weeks. They consist of a broadcast class and four hours of training, and then 16 hours of in-person training.

Both options are 40 hours and cover topics such as:

  • Understanding Utah’s mental health system
  • Problem-solving
  • Effective listening
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Ethics
  • Cultural humility
  • Shared decision making

Usara’s training program

USARA’s training is only offered in person. The course takes one week and teaches participants how to:

  • Help peers create their own pathway to recovery and build a life focused on success and momentum.
  • Deliver peer recovery support services as part of a team of addiction, mental health, and social services providers.
  • Describe their peer recovery support knowledge and skills.
  • Identify your goals within the industry and how you can move towards a mastery level of competence.
  • Help create a network of peers to build recovery communities.

Recovery coach certification Utah

When you have completed either of these training courses, you will receive your certification. This will allow you to practice as a certified peer support specialist in the state of Utah.

Renewal of certification

In Utah, you will need to renew your certification once every two years by completing 20 hours of continuing education credits. These 20 hours will need to consist of:

  • Ethics training – 2 hours
  • Peer support services – 6 hours
  • Suicide prevention – 1 hour
  • General health or substance use disorder topics – 11 hours

Other education options

If you’d like to become a certified peer support specialist in Utah, you can also study through Optum Health. This course is recognized in 20 different states, including Utah.

The programs may differ slightly from state to state, but the main aspects that are covered include:

  • Mental health and substance use disorders
  • Principles of recovery
  • Discovering strengths
  • Using your recovery story
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Crisis prevention
  • Ethics and boundaries
  • Working with groups

What Job Opportunities Are In The Peer Support Services Sector?

Once you are certified, you will likely be interested in finding out what employment options are available to you in the industry. Some recovery coaches also prefer to open their own practices, so this is another option.

Types of jobs and their earning potential

  • Peer Support Worker – $31,000 to $39,500 per annum
  • Peer Support – $27,500 to $33,000 per annum
  • Peer Partner – $24,500 to $49,000 per annum
  • Peer Recovery Specialist – $30,500 to $41,500 per annum
  • Family Peer Support Specialist – $31,000 to $39,000 per annum
  • Certified Peer Specialist – $29,000 to $37,500 per annum
  • Mental Health Peer Support Specialist – $31,000 to $37,000 per annum
  • Peer Review Specialist – $40,000 to $100,000 per annum


What general qualifications do I need to become a recovery worker?

In most cases, the only formal education you’ll need to have to become a recovery worker is a high school diploma or GED. However, while the education requirements are limited, you will also often need to have some voluntary or paid experience at a facility for peer support.

Besides that, it is also required that you have experienced some form of recovery from a mental illness or substance use disorder. This is owing to the fact that having your own recovery experience will help clients trust you and provide you with better tools to help them.

Why should I become a recovery coach?

If you are interested in helping people with long-term recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders, then you should consider becoming a recovery worker. Peer support specialists act as leaders, mentors, and guides to people recovering from the issues mentioned above.

If you think that you can help people in these predicaments, then peer support work will be great for you. While it can be tough dealing with people that have lost hope, it can be very rewarding to help these people change their lives.

Final Thoughts

There are many roles in the peer support industry, and if you have a passion for helping people, then many of these positions will be perfect for you.