What is a Certified Recovery Support Specialist?
A person living in recovery with a substance use disorder working within an agency or organization who has been trained and certified by the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) to use their personal recovery story to assist others in developing their personal plan for recovery.

Qualifications to Become a Certified Recovery Support Peer Specialist:

  • Have a minimum of two (2) years of continuous demonstrated recovery time from a substance use disorder at the date of application.
  • Willing to self-identify as a person in recovery for the benefit of others.
  • High school diploma or GED.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Two (2) written references that attest to appropriateness for certification.
  • 40 hours of ADMH-approved Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) training.
  • Pass the exam with a minimum score of 70.

Required Knowledge and Skills:

  • An understanding of recovery from substance use disorder.
  • Basic understanding of substance use disorder and the system of care.
  • Basic knowledge of empowerment and the goals and objectives of the consumer movement.
  • Ability to work with individuals or groups.
  • Basic knowledge of consumer rights and advocacy.
  • Ability to:
    • Communicate effectively.
    • Connect with individuals who have a substance use disorder.
    • Understand the unique experience of persons struggling with a substance use disorder.
    • Serve as a role model, showing by example that recovery is possible.
    • Relay coping skills, positive attitude skills, and self-esteem.
    • Facilitate peer support/self-help groups.

Additional Information:
Applications must include two (2) written references that attest to your appropriateness for certification. The letters should also comment on your recovery by verifying the length of recovery and any pertinent peer recovery support activities such as volunteer work, sponsorship, etc. Written references can come from a sponsor, counselor, accountability partner, faith leader, friend, supervisor, or co-worker. One reference should identify you as being a person in long-term recovery. At least one (1) reference must specifically address your ability to support others seeking and maintaining recovery. Please ask your references to include information about your demonstrated leadership abilities, your ability to work with diverse groups of people, and your reliability/ accountability.

ADMH will cover the cost of the training, hotel accommodations, and meals. ADMH does not reimburse for your time during the 40-hour training. Attendees must adhere to the personnel rules and guidelines of the training. In order to retain certification, Certified Recovery Support Specialists (CRSS) must earn 16 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each calendar year following the year they pass the CRSS exam.

If you qualify and are interested in becoming a Certified Recovery Support Specialist, please fill out and return an application. Submissions may be emailed or mailed to ADMH as indicated on the last page of the application.