Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification and Re-certification Process

Peer Recovery Training Peer Recovery Supporters is an all-inclusive term consisting of peer specialists, recovery coaches, and peer supporters. In order to have a formal certification, individuals delivering peer services needed to have one title for consistency. Peer Recovery Supporter was chosen as it represents the three largest sections of the current peer workforce.

To be eligible to be certified as a Peer Recovery Supporter (PRS) in the State of Ohio, you must have a direct lived experience of mental health and/or substance use issues. “Direct lived experience” means that you are personally in recovery from a mental health and/or substance use issue (having a friend or family member in recovery does not qualify). You may not apply for PRS certification if you have a Disqualifying Offense (there is no waiver for these offenses).

In Ohio, there are 3 ways to become a Certified PRS:

  1. Complete the OhioMHAS 40-hour in-person PRS Training
  2. Complete a 40-hour PRS training through an outside organization (must be a training model approved by OhioMHAS)
  3. Have 3 or more years work experience as a Peer Recovery Supporter. Your title must be/have been exactly one of the following: peer specialist, peer supporter, peer recovery coach, peer navigator

See the tabs below for detailed information on each route to PRS certification.

Apply for Certification using the OhioMHAS 40-hour PRS Training

Submit ALL items to ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov.

To Apply for Certification using the OhioMHAS PRS Training, you must do the following:

  1. Complete the OhioMHAS 40-hour in-person PRS Training
  2. Pass online PRS Certification Exam (link will be sent to your email after training)
  3. Submit a complete Certification Application Packet 
    SUBMIT ALL ITEMS AS A COMPLETE PACKET! SUBMITTING ITEMS SEPARATELY MAY DELAY CERTIFICATION
    1. Certification Application
    2. Certificate of Training Completion (scan copy that you receive in class)
    3. 11 eBased Academy Certificates of Completion (see "eBased Academy Courses" tab below)
    4. References from 2 individuals (have your references email the form to ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov)
    5. Non-Disqualifying Offense Waiver (only required if you have had a criminal conviction within the last 3 years)
  4. Complete Criminal Background Check(s)* (see "Criminal Background Checks" tab below for details)
*DO NOT complete a background check until you have submitted ALL items on the Certification Application Packet Checklist (including eBased Academy certificates)

Apply for Certification using a Different 40-hour PRS Training

The below PRS trainings, not organized by OhioMHAS, meet the requirements for the 40-hour Peer Recovery Supporter Training:

If you have taken or are interested in taking a training not listed above, please e-mail the certification team at ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov to ensure the training meets the core Peer Support competencies required by OhioMHAS.

Submit ALL items to ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov.

To Apply for Certification using an Outside Training, you must do the following:

  1. Pass online PRS Certification Exam (email peerservices@mha.ohio.gov to request a link to complete the exam)
  2. Submit a complete Certification Application Packet
    SUBMIT ALL ITEMS AS A COMPLETE PACKET! SUBMITTING ITEMS SEPARATELY MAY DELAY CERTIFICATION
    1. Certification Application
    2. Certificate of Training Completion
    3. 11 eBased Academy Certificates of Completion (see "eBased Academy Courses" tab below)
    4. References from 2 individuals (have your references email the form to ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov)
    5. Non-Disqualifying Offense Waiver (only required if you have had a criminal conviction within the last 3 years)
  3. Complete Criminal Background Check(s)* (see "Criminal Background Checks" tab below for details)
*DO NOT complete a background check until you have submitted ALL items in Certification Application Packet (including eBased Academy certificates)

Apply for Certification using Work Experience

Submit ALL items to ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov.

You may apply for certification without attending a 40-hour in-person training if: you have at least 3 years verifiable work experience in a position titled peer specialist, peer supporter, peer recovery coach, or peer navigator, AND you have a direct lived experience of a mental health and/or substance use issues.

To apply for Certification Using Work Experience, you must do the following:

  1. Pass online PRS Certification Exam (email peerservices@mha.ohio.gov to request a link to complete the exam)
  2. Submit a complete Certification Application Packet (more information coming soon, please check back)
    SUBMIT ALL ITEMS AS A COMPLETE PACKET! SUBMITTING ITEMS SEPARATELY MAY DELAY CERTIFICATION
    1. Certification Application
    2. Employer-Completed Work Verification Form (have your employers email the form to ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov)
    3. 11 eBased Academy Certificates of Completion (see "eBased Academy Courses" tab below)
    4. References from 2 individuals (have your references email the form to ohiopeercertification@mha.ohio.gov)
    5. Non-Disqualifying Offense Waiver (only required if you have had a criminal conviction within the last 3 years)
  3. Complete Criminal Background Check(s)* (see "Criminal Background Checks" tab below for details)
*DO NOT complete a background check until you have submitted ALL items in Certification Application Packet (including eBased Academy certificates)

Apply for Re-certification

Submit ALL items to recertification@mha.ohio.gov.

The Peer Recovery Supporter (PRS) Certification is valid for a period of 2 years, after which individuals must apply for Re-Certification. Re-Certification Applications should be submitted within 60 days of certification expiration.

As with other professional licensure and certifications, in order to maintain certification, it is necessary for individuals to remain in good standing. The Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Code of Ethics is the professional standard of conduct for certification. When working for a provider, Consumer Operated Service or other organization, it is crucial to abide by the organization’s Employee Code of Conduct and the OhioMHAS Certified PRS Code of Ethics.

To apply for Re-certification, you must do the following:

  1. Complete 30 continuing education credit hours (see below for additional details). Your re-certification CE credit hours must include at least 1 hour of each of the following topics:
    1. Diversity Competence
    2. Trauma-informed Care
    3. Ethics
    4. Human Trafficking
    5. Work Incentive or Benefit Planning*
  2. Submit the below items to recertification@mha.ohio.gov:
    1. Re-Certification Application
    2. Non-Disqualifying Offense Waiver (only required if you have had a criminal conviction within the past 3 years)
  3. Complete Criminal Background Check(s)* (see "Criminal Background Checks" tab below for details)

Continuing Education (CE) Credit Hours:

The OhioMHAS PRS Certification is valid for a period of two years. During those two years, certified individuals are required to earn a total of 30 continuing education (CE) credit hours. CE credit hours that can count towards re-certification must be earned between the effective date of the certification and date the Re-Certification Application is submitted. You DO NOT need to submit certificates of completion for these credits – you only need to list the courses that you completed on your Re-Certification Application. Training hours must be listed on the Certificate of Participation. Keep your certificates of participation for your records! PRS Certifications are subject to audit.

Continuing Education Units or Certificates of Participation for PRS re-certification may be obtained in various settings that include attending in-person conferences, trainings or online learning courses.

Below are some samples of organizations that offer online learning resources:

Your re-certification CE credit hours must include at least 1 hour each of the following topics:

  • Diversity Competence
  • Trauma-informed Care
  • Ethics
  • Human Trafficking
  • Work Incentive or Benefit Planning*

*You may find work incentive or benefit planning training/webinars through Work Incentive Seminar Events (WISE) at https://choosework.ssa.gov/wise

Criminal Background Checks

To apply for certification or re-certification, you must obtain a criminal background check. Click here to find a background check agency in your area. 

IMPORTANT: If you are applying for certification for the first time, DO NOT complete a background check until you have completed training, passed your exam and submitted ALL ITEMS on the Certification Application Packet Checklist (including eBased Academy Certificates of completion)

  • If you have no criminal offenses, or you only have offenses in the State of Ohio, you will only need to complete a Bureau of Criminal Investigation Background Check (BCI)
  • If you have been charged with a criminal offense outside of State of Ohio, you will need to complete both a BCI and FBI background check

Background Check Codes:

  • For BCI, use code: "Other:" and write in "Ohio Certified Peer Recovery Supporter"
  • For FBI, use code: "Volunteer Children’s Act"

Have background check(s) mailed directly to OhioMHAS at:

Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services(OhioMHAS)
ATTN: Peer Services
30 East Broad Street, 36th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

***IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO INCLUDE "ATTN: PEER SERVICES" IN THE ADDRESS! BACKGROUND CHECKS NOT SENT TO THE ATTENTION OF PEER SERVICES MAY NOT ARRIVE!***

***Background checks may take 30-45 days to arrive at OhioMHAS.***

eBased Academy Courses

To apply for certification as a Peer Recovery Supporter, you must submit certificates of completion for the below 11 eBased Academy courses.

Register for your free eBased Academy account at http://www.ebasedacademy.org. For technical issues with eBased Academy, email MHAHelpdesk@mha.ohio.gov.

Please ensure that you complete these exact course titles! There are courses in eBased Academy with very similar names.

  1. Introduction to Peer Recovery Support
  2. History of Addiction for Peer Recovery Supporters
  3. Ethics and Boundaries for Peer Recovery Supporters
  4. History of the CSX Movement for Peer Recovery Supporters
  5. Helpful Tips for Peer Recovery Supporters Entering the Workforce
  6. Health and Wellness in Peer Recovery Support
  7. Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Addiction Recovery
  8. Human Trafficking Training for Peer Recovery Supporters
  9. Supervision for Peer Recovery Supporters
  10. Trauma Informed Care in Peer Recovery Support
  11. Ohio S-BIRT: An Introduction to S-BIRT and Motivational Interviewing

IMPORTANT NOTES REGARDING EBASED ACADEMY:

  • Submit ALL 11 certificates as part of your Certification Application Packet, once you have met ALL certification requirements. Submitting certificates without a complete application packet may delay certification!
  • Coursework must be completed on a desktop or laptop computer - eBased Academy will not work on a phone or tablet.

Supervising Peer Recovery Supporters

An essential component to the incorporation of Peer Recovery Supporters in any organization is regular supervision. In making the decision to assign a supervisor to Peer Recovery Supporters, take the following variables into account. The potential supervisor should:

  • have a thorough understanding of and believe in recovery,
  • believe sharing lived experience is helpful,
  • be available for regular supervision, and
  • supervise no more than five Certified Peer Recovery Supporters.

Organizations interested in becoming certified for peer services may apply after July 1, 2016. In order to be certified, organizations must employ Certified Peer Recovery Supporters. Individuals who supervise peers must either be, at minimum, and individual who:

  1. has been delivering peer services for five years, as a peer navigator, peer supporter, peer specialist, peer recovery coach, or peer recovery supporter; have completed the sixteen-hour on-line e-based academy courses offered through the Ohio department of mental health and addiction services, and have completed the four hour in-person supervising peers training by Ohio department of mental health and addiction services recovery support staff; or,
  2. is a clinician with one of the following licenses:
  1. Licensed social worker;
  2. Licensed independent social worker;
  3. Licensed professional counselor;
  4. Licensed chemical dependency counselor II;
  5. Licensed chemical dependency counselor III;
  6. Licensed professional clinical counselor;
  7. Licensed independent chemical dependency counselor;
  8. Licensed marital and family therapist;
  9. Licensed independent marital and family therapist
  10. Psychologist; or,
  11. Psychiatrist.

Supervisors must complete the 16 hours of E-Based Academy courses specific to peer services and complete the four-hour, in-person OhioMHAS Effective Supervision of Peers training. Fourteen of the 16 hours of E-Based Academy courses provide Continuing Education Credits. Individuals interested in supervising Peer Recovery Supporters may begin taking the eBased Academy on-line courses by visiting http://www.ebasedacademy.org/lms/. Please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/ or the OhioMHAS training calendar for scheduled trainings. If you have questions about supervision, please e-mail peerservices@mha.ohio.gov.

Guidance for Supervisors of Peer Recovery Supporters:

  • After each eBased Academy module, complete the survey and download the certificate of completion and print.
  • Once you attend the 4 hour in-person supervisory training for PRS, you will receive a “Certificate of Attendance.
  • Place a copy of the 16 hours of eBased Academy courses (11 certificates) and a copy of “Certificate of Attendance” of the 4 hour in-person training in your agencies Human Resource personal file.

OhioMHAS Peer Certification and Supervisory Database

Sample Job Descriptions

Conflict of Interest: Ethics Violations

Professional licensure and certification bodies have clear, standardized expectations to ensure individuals adhere to professional standards. In most cases, the standards include a Code of Ethics. When allegations of ethical violations occur, individuals from the certifying body are assigned to take a closer look. For Certified Peer Recovery Supporters, there is a formal Conflict of Interest process. Either Supervisors of Certified Peer Recovery Supporters or individuals they are partnering with for services may file a Conflict of Interest Form.

Depending on the complexity of the Conflict of Interest, the overall process may take a few months. Your patience is appreciated during this process. The OhioMHAS Conflict of Interest Review Committee will consist of four OhioMHAS staff members. All recommendations will be presented to the OhioMHAS Deputy Director of Treatment and Recovery.