What is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist?

When people find their way to wellness and recovery from mental illness or substance use disorder (or both), they often want to share what they’ve found with others. In Tennessee, you can get a job providing peer support and helping others on their road to recovery. A Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) is a person who has lived experience of a mental illness, substance use disorder or co-occurring disorder, who has made the journey from illness to wellness, and who now wishes to help others. For CPRS’s, peer support includes offering emotional support, sharing knowledge, teaching skills and connecting people with resources to help people in their recovery journey. Research scientists have even found that there is clear evidence to support the power of peer support.

It can:


  • help people manage chronic illnesses
  • prevent illness
  • cope with stress and emotional challenges
  • connect people with health care systems
  • reduce multiple hospital admissions for the same problem

Something magical occurs when people share their strength, experience and hope with others.

Recovery means different things to all of us. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes there are many different pathways to recovery and each individual determines his or her own way. SAMHSA defines recovery from mental health disorders and/or substance use disorders as:


  • A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
  • Recovery is whatever steps we take personally that help us heal from a mental health disorder or substance use disorder or both; Certified Peer Recovery Specialists can walk beside you and be a support to you along the way.

Are you ready to become a Peer Recovery Specialist?

Do you have at least two years of recovery time from a drug and alcohol addiction or mental illness? Do you have a high school diploma, GED, HiSET or equivalent? Are you comfortable sharing your recovery story with others? If you answered yes to these questions, take the next step and apply for training.