Peer Recovery Support Specialist
A peer support specialist is a person with "lived experience" who has been trained to support those who struggle with mental health, psychological trauma, or substance use. Their personal experience of these challenges provide peer support specialists with expertise that professional training cannot replicate.
Some roles filled by peer support specialists include assisting their peers in articulating their goals for recovery, learning and practicing new skills, helping them monitor their progress, supporting them in their treatment, modeling effective coping techniques and self-help strategies based on the specialist's own recovery experience, supporting them in advocating for themselves to obtain effective services, and developing and implementing recovery plans.
In 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services recognized peer lso informed all 50 state Medicaid directors that The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would pay for peer support services, provided that peer support specialists--like other types of healthcare providers--were governed by a statewide training and credentialing program.
Steps to Certification in Oklahoma for Peer Support Specialist
Review the Peer Recovery Support Specialist Administration Rules
These will provide you with the qualifications, prerequisites needed and timelines for application and certification. Please review them closely as there have been critical changes.
- A complete application must be submitted at least fourteen (14) days prior to attending Peer Recovery Support Specialist training.
- No one will be allowed to attend the training unless the Department has approved a person's eligibility prior to attending the training.
The minimum qualifications to be certified as a PRSS are:
- Have demonstrated recovery from a mental illness, substance use disorder or both.
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be willing to self-disclose about their personal recovery journey
- Be employed by or volunteer with the state, a behavioral service provider or an advocacy agency contracting with the state to provide behavioral health services, or a behavioral health services provider certified by Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).
- Possess good moral character.
- Agree to respect and observe the PRSS Code of Ethics which must be signed and mailed with their Application Inventory Form to ODMHSAS before being assigned to a training.
- Pass an examination and successfully share your recovery story based on standards promulgated by ODMHSAS after completing the training.
- Please review the Chapter 53. Standards and Criteria for Certified Peer
Peer Recovery Support Specialist Application Approval Process
Applications will be reviewed in detail. Applicants who send in incomplete applications or applications needing corrections will be notified by e-mail of the needed corrections. These applications will be held for five business days to give the applicants time to make the corrections. If the corrections are not made within this window of time, the applications will be mailed to the applicants' attention at their noted place of employment or volunteering.
Peer Support Specialists assist clients in setting and pursuing client mental health recovery goals. They monitor and document client progress in achieving said goals. Peer Support Specialists share their own challenges and successes in recovery from mental illness with a view to help their clients find their own recovery. This job title works on a peer-to-peer model rather than the clinical model which other mental health professionals use. Peer Support Specialists work both full time and part time.
Education and Experience
Peer Support Specialists must have a high-school diploma. They must have experience in mental health and substance abuse recovery for at least one year. Some states require certification and a designated number of hours of training. Certification applications, exams or renewal fees may be required. No past experience is necessary to work as a Peer Support Specialist.
Who Hires Peer Support Specialists:
State mental health agencies, contract private agencies, homeless shelters and Drop-in Centers for people with mental health disabilities hire Peer Support Specialists.
- Peer Support Specialists may progress to become a clinical psychologist.
- With higher education they may function as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.
- They may work as a case manager at a community mental health facility.
As of Mar 16, 2021, the average annual pay for a Peer Recovery Specialist in Oklahoma is $34,907 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $16.78 an hour. This is the equivalent of $671/week or $2,909/month.