From the Becky Sterling, DBHDS Office of Recovery Services, by e-mail on Feb. 4, 2016 —

Virginia Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Certification

Virginia provides a single Peer Recovery Specialist Certification for both Mental Illnesses and Substance Use Disorders. People who are in recovery from a mental illness or substance use disorder will be eligible to apply to become certified to provide Peer Recovery Specialist Services. People entering into the following paid or volunteer relationships may be eligible for certification under Virginia’s Peer Recovery Specialist process:


of Peer Recovery Support is an . . .


of Peer Recovery Support is an . . .

All Participants are 18 years or older. ADULT in Recovery from a MI, SUD or MISUD, ADULT  with a MI, SUD or MISUD,
MI = Mental Illness,     SUD = Substance Use Disorder,      MISUD= Co-occurring illnesses.
Certification indicates that the successful candidate has been taught the core knowledge of how to deliver formal paid or volunteer Peer Recovery Specialist Services. 

We strongly encourage people to develop their skills related to their area of special interest or experience.

All applications must be sent to the Virginia Certification Board.
PO Box 27672
Richmond Va 23261
Phone: 804 741 2319Fax: 717 540 4458


The Grandparenting phase of the CPRS process is still on track to conclude July 16, 2016.  If a candidate does not meet ALL Certification criteria prior to the end of the Grandparenting phase targeted to end July 16, 2016 that candidate will have to take the State Curriculum and pass the VCB exam.


YES!  The requirements will change slightly but the opportunity to start a career as a CPRS will still be available.

Before July 2016 After July 2016
High school Diploma, GED, or High School Equivalency Diploma NO CHANGE
Ability to demonstrate one year of recovery NO CHANGE
Signed Code of Ethics NO CHANGE
500 supervised paid or volunteer experience hours in the 3 years prior to applying. (Supervisor’s written verification will be required) NO CHANGE
Twenty-five of the 500 hours of experience must include supervised structured review of the person’s experience, progress, expertise and delivery of peer services within the domains of Advocacy, Mentoring, Recovery/Wellness support and the delivery of ethically responsible services. Applicant must have lived and worked or volunteered in the State of Virginia during these 500 hours. NO CHANGE
If more than one Supervisor provided either of the 500 or the 25 hours each supervisor must verify the hours they provided. NO CHANGE
Applicants must live or work/volunteer in the State of Virginia at the time of application for Certification NO CHANGE
A minimum of 46 Hours of Peer Specialist or Recovery Coach training from a Virginia Department of Behavioral Health approved training program. CHANGES

Completion of the Virginia Peer Recovery Specialist Curriculum that covers 75 to 90 Hours* of training with-in the content areas listed in the Appendix.  Training must be provided by a Virginia DBHDS approved trainer.  *Dependent upon final Curriculum

Note: Successful completion of the

CPRS examination.

2- Year Certification Renewal Requirement: CHANGE:
     Certification must be renewed every two years with      written documentation of successful completion of 20 contact hours of education that include  six hours in ethics plus any training  in the content areas listed in the Appendix I.


People who were certified during the   Grandparenting phase will need to complete a State sponsored MHSA Refresher training.  This training will count towards the required 20 hours needed for recertification.

Certification must be renewed every two years with written documentation of successful completion of 20 contact hours of education that include  six hours in ethics plus any training  in the content areas listed in the Appendix I.


Another aspect of Peer Support Certification will be implemented after the Grandfathering phase that will include the Parent to Parent Peer Specialist role.
IF there is a child 17 years old or younger then . . . PROVIDER OF CPRS SERVICES RECIPIENT OF CPRS SERVICES

PARENT in Recovery from a MI, SUD or MISUD

PARENT of a CHILD with a MI, SUD or MISUD,
Family Member of a child with a MI, SUD or MISUD,
Child (17 years or younger)

In the Meantime: What’s happening?

  • Request for Proposal to have a Curriculum and a training manual developed will be published on the Virginia bid site:  We are aiming for early February.
  • The RFP’s will be due mid-March, successful candidate chosen Mid-April 2016.  The successful candidate will work with the Office of Recovery Curriculum Development team to insure the curriculum addresses Virginia’s needs. The final curriculum will be completed mid-June.
  • Beginning in July/August 2016, DBHDS will train CPRS Trainers. Trainers can be anyone who meets the requested experience and qualifications.  Trainers will agree to maintain Fidelity to the curriculum and receive oversight from the Office of Recovery Support.
  • Trainers will be individuals or employees of their organizations.  Trainers will set their own fees, arrange their own venues, and purchase training manuals for their class.   The goal is to provide ample affordable training across the Commonwealth.
  • Employers will be encouraged to establish a Volunteer Peer to Peer role that would give candidates the opportunity to accumulate the supervised experience hours.

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