Information about Peer Recovery Specialists: 

What is Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS)

A Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS) is someone who acknowledges living in long term recovery with mental health and/or substance use challenges.  Another type of Peer Recovery Specialist is a Family Support Partner (FSP).  This is someone who has walked with a family member with lived experience in mental health and/or substance use challenges understanding and relating to the challenges that come with it.

How to become a PRS

  • An individual must acknowledge lived experience with mental health and/or substance use challenges.
  • Requires a high school diploma
  • The person must become aware of barrier crimes and the impact that may have if there is a charge of some type on a person’s record. Only certain charges fall under barrier crimes and those can potentially keep someone from entering the workforce as a CPRS.
  • To become a PRS, an individual must go through the 72-Hour DBHDS approved Peer Recovery Specialist class. A list of trainers can be found here –
  • The various pathways of becoming a PRS are listed here –
  • To find out when upcoming trainings are coming send an email to and ask to be added to the Recovery Blast. It typically takes about 2 weeks to be added.  It is also suggested that you sign up for the VOCAL newsletter.  There is no cost to sign up for the newsletter, but you are still required to join.  Cost is involved if you want to vote at their annual meetings.  You can register here –
  • For more information about a PRS and how to become one, click here and if that doesn’t answer your question you are welcome to reach out to Heather Pate, RPRS-T at
  • Heather is an approved trainer for In-Person and Virtual 72-Hour DBHDS Approved Peer Recovery Specialist Training and also offers a separate Mentorship Program for those desiring to take what they’ve learned and put it into practice either through an internship at Robin’s Hope or through the Peer Work you already have established.

A Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) is someone who has gone through the 72-Hour DBHDS approved Peer Recovery Specialist class, completed 500 hours of support in the field with 25 of those hours in direct supervision in various focus areas, submitted an application, passed the certification exam, and has received an official certificate from the Virginia Certification Board.

A Registered Peer Recovery Specialist (RPRS) is someone who is a CPRS who has registered with the Board of Counseling.  This next step allows for the possibility of billing Medicaid under a licensed provider.  This is currently not an easy feat and is cost prohibitive.  It cost more to bill compared to money received via Medicaid.  That is currently an issue being discussed through advocacy on the state level.  We must remember that we are the evidence.

Robin’s Hope PRS Training An individual needs a minimum of 1 year in recovery.  The class is not just a ‘thing’ you can cross off saying you’re done.  It’s an intense class.  An individual is expected to view this as a college class in preparation for a job that requires you to have stability in your own recovery in order for you to come alongside others to help offer hope to others in their recoveries.  An individual is welcome to apply for the class even if they choose to volunteer.  It is not just for paying jobs.  However, it is expected that the class be professional and there will be strict requirements to enter the class and to get through it.  Our recovery comes first.  An individual needs some level of recovery under their belt before pursuing the class.  At Robin’s Hope, I look for people who are stepping up in facilitating groups, consistent in recovery, beginning to see possibility, and building confidence.  I look for similar qualities and activities in those outside of Robin’s Hope.  The virtual class requires working knowledge of Zoom, able to access google drive, run 2 different programs simultaneously, have a working computer/laptop (ipads and phones are not allowed), have an account with zoom, be in a quiet place, and dress appropriately.  Other requirements are found on the Application.  Contact Heather for an application and/or discuss further requirements.

At Robin’s Hope, you are not required to be a PRS, CPRS, or RPRS to facilitate a group.  It’s a good step if peer work is something that interests you, you want to help, use the group for accountability and your own recovery journey, or walk alongside others.

How Do I Get Into a Robin’s Hope PRS Training Class?

Please sign up and fill out an application here at: