How to Become a Certified Recovery Coach in Virginia

There are several steps to becoming a certified peer recovery coach in Virginia. Individuals need to complete prerequisite training and pass an exam before getting their credentials. Certified recovery coaches can provide peer support in a variety of settings across Virginia.

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In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about obtaining a recovery coach certification in Virginia.

Virginia’s Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Credential

The Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) credential in Virginia is a certification program for individuals with personal experience with substance use or mental health challenges. The credential is issued by the Virginia Certification Board.

The certification indicates that individuals have the knowledge and skills needed to provide peer recovery support in Virginia.

Requirements for receiving the CPRS credential:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Complete 72-hour CPRS training approved by the DBHDS.
  • Pass the IC&RC Examination for Peer Recovery Specialists (PR examination).
  • Have 500 hours worth of volunteer or paid peer recovery experience.
  • Have personal, lived experience with recovery.

Continuing education for CPRS

Certified peer recovery specialists need continuing education (CE) upon successful completion of their training. Individuals need to complete a certain number of CE hours within a specified period of time. The CE hours also need to be related to topics in the field of peer recovery support and must be approved by the board.

Some examples of CE activities include attending conferences, workshops, and training sessions, participating in online courses, and conducting peer recovery support services.

Prerequisite CPRS Training in Virginia

The Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) certification requires prerequisite training. Prerequisite Peer Recovery Specialist training must be approved by the Virginia Certification Board.

The training program provides individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to provide peer recovery support services. This involves 72 hours of training. The hours are divided into a series of modules that cover a range of topics related to peer recovery support.

The 72-hour CPRS training curriculum covers the following:

  • The principles of recovery and the recovery process.
  • The role of a peer recovery specialist.
  • Communication skills and ethical considerations in peer recovery support.
  • Understanding substance use and mental health conditions and the impact on individuals and their families.
  • Cultural competency and diversity in peer recovery support.
  • Navigating the healthcare and social service systems.

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services – Office of Recovery Services

The Office of Recovery Services (ORS) is a division of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. It is responsible for providing support, resources, and services to individuals in recovery.

The office’s goal is to help these individuals recover and lead fulfilling lives. It does so through a range of programs and initiatives. An example is the Virginia Recovery Initiative (VRI).The VRI uses crisis intervention and a recovery-oriented system of care to help people with behavioral health conditions get back on their feet and live healthy, productive lives.

The ORS Registered Peer Recovery Specialist (RPRS) Registration

The ORS division of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services provides the registration of registered peer recovery specialists (RPRSs).

RPRSs are individuals who use their personal recovery experiences to support and encourage others in their journeys. They serve as role models and offer practical advice based on their own experiences. They differ from CPRSs in that they don’t have the same level of education, training, and experience.

Job Opportunities for CPRSs and RPRSs in Virginia

CPRSs and RPRSs can look for job openings on the websites of alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers. For example, the Virginia Association of Addiction Professionals has a ‘Career Center’ section on its website where jobs can be found.

They can also apply for positions at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). They have a ‘Jobs and Internships’ section on their website where they post their job openings.

The Virginia Peer Specialist Network is another great place to find employment. They have a job board on their website where public and private agencies post their job opportunities.

Additionally, CPRSs and RPRSs can look for job openings on job listing websites like Indeed and Glassdoor.


How do I become a certified peer recovery specialist in Virginia?

You need to complete a 72-hour CPRS training program. You will then need to pass the peer recovery examination before getting certification from the Virginia certification board. Personal, lived experience with recovery is also a requirement.

Where can I find a recovery coach job in Virginia?

The Virginia Peer Specialist Network posts job opportunities for certified recovery coaches. Additionally, you can apply for positions at mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers and private practices across Virginia.

How much do certified peer support specialists earn in Virginia?

According to HR-reported data in Virginia, peer supporters can earn anywhere between $33,175 and $41,406 a year.


Recovery coaches in Virginia need to complete training and have 500 hours worth of peer recovery experience before receiving their credentials. It is also essential that they have their own lived experience with addiction or mental health recovery.

Job opportunities are available at various rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics and private practices across Virginia.