Peer Recovery Specialist Career Paths

Peer Recovery Specialists assist individuals in becoming ready and willing to seek treatment, if required, and begin the journey of recovery by guiding them through available options. They employ a strengths-based approach to help individuals recognize and utilize their values, assets, and strengths while supporting them in achieving success. Once you have your certification there are many career paths for enrichment and professional development.

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General Requirements for Peer Recovery Specialist Certification

Generally, individuals seeking to become a Peer Recovery Specialist may need to complete a minimum number of training hours from an approved Recovery Community Organization (RCO), university, or college. Additionally, the applicant must reside in the state for at least 51% of the time, fill out an application form, adhere to a Peer ethical code of conduct agreement, pay an examination fee, and pass the Peer recovery examination to obtain certification in their state.

Forensic Endorsement

The Peer Recovery Specialist – Forensic Endorsement is intended for certified professionals who provide exceptional services to participants in the criminal justice system, courts, or probation and committed to their professional development. A Peer Recovery Specialist with forensic endorsement training provides support to individuals with substance use, or co-occurring mental health and criminal justice system related challenges where Peer support can assist individuals in their commitment to achieving and maintaining recovery and wellness using their own lived experience. Peer Recovery Specialists with forensic endorsement ask questions, offer insight, and help service participants as they become resourceful and capable of choosing what is best for them.

Peer Specialist Certification Upgrades

With additional education and training, it is possible to upgrade your Peer Specialist Certification, which will provide you with additional job opportunities. Some examples are listed below:

Peer Recovery Specialist Reciprocal

The reciprocal credential demonstrates competency for advanced Peer Recovery Specialists that have gained work experience plus documented supervision experience. The Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential is an entry-level state credential.  This credential demonstrates basic competency in Peer recovery.


A Peer Supervisor is someone with additional training who oversees, guides, and supports new peers and collaborates to provide excellent mentoring and supervision.

Certified Peer Specialist Services

These are specific rehabilitative services emphasizing the acquisition, development and enhancement of skills needed by an individual with a mental illness to move forward in their recovery. These services are self-directed and person-centered with a focus on recovery. Certified Peer Specialist Services are identified in an individualized treatment plan and are characterized by a partnering approach between the certified Peer specialist and the person who receives the services.

Certified Peer Specialist Services Veteran Peer

There are veterans who have taken peer training and focus on helping other veterans as advocates and assist with resources that are veteran specific.  Their knowledge and resources may help veterans navigate their recovery.

Certified Family Peer Specialist (CFPS)

Certified Family Peer Specialists (CFPS) work with the family of a child or youth who has an emotional disturbance or a severe emotional disturbance and is receiving mental health treatment to promote the resiliency and recovery of the child or youth. They provide nonclinical family Peer support building on the strengths of the family and help them to achieve desired outcomes.

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Several opportunities are available in various communities to volunteer or participate in mentorship.  Mentorship offers the opportunity to learn on the job skills and grow your skills to be able to be employed in new and existing peer roles.

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Training & Continuing Education

There are many trainings, workshops, seminars, and educational events that offer opportunities to enhance your education and training.  These educational opportunities provide continuing education (CE), or sometimes referred to as continuing educational units (CEU’s), and provide a certificate of successful completion to attendees.  The certificate of continuing education can then be used to maintain, renew, or upgrade your certification. 

There are many recovery community organizations (RCO’s) that provide initial and subsequent training and skill development.  Below are examples of some RCO’s in Minnesota.

Make a Difference in Recovery: Become a Peer

Join the effort to promote healthy living among those in recovery from substance use disorder, mental health, or family by becoming a peer. You have the power to make a difference in someone’s life, assisting them to navigate and provide community resources to meet challenges.