Recovery Support Specialist Certificate

Individuals with lived experience in recovery from mental illness and/or substance use are eligible to participate in this program that helps prepare them for jobs providing recovery support to others.

The newly launched Recovery Support Specialist Certificate program is designed for individuals with lived expertise in recovery from mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance use recovery who wish to work as recovery support specialists—people who use their own lived recovery experiences to support the recovery of others as peers.

Recovery, defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. The Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) credential aims to fully support individuals living in recovery to utilize their lived expertise to promote recovery and wellness in others.

Areas of focus include:

  • Advocacy
  • Professional responsibility
  • Ethical responsibility
  • Mentoring and education
  • Recovery/wellness support
  • Multicultural competence

Students in this program work toward earning their Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) or Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) certificate. Illinois Certification Board, Inc. offers additional information on their website regarding the CRSS Model and CPRS Model.


Apply TO Recovery Support Specialist Certificate program

Program Overview

This program allows individuals with lived expertise in recovery from mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance use recovery to prepare for work and become certified as recovery support specialists and peer recovery specialists.

Career Opportunities

Recovery support specialists and peer recovery specialists work in settings such as:

  • community mental health centers
  • substance use treatment centers
  • drop-in centers
  • living rooms
  • employment services
  • crisis response teams
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The Recovery Support Specialist Certificate program is a 9-credit program that aims to satisfy the requirements set forth by the Illinois Credentialing Board (ICB) so that students can sit for the exam once all coursework is complete.

The curriculum includes a minimum of 110 clock hours of training (9 credit hours), with 40 hours of recovery support specific training, 16 hours in professional ethics and responsibility, and 54 hours in the core functions (with 5 specific to family and 5 to youth services).

Students will also complete a supervised practical experience component in recovery support services that will last at least three months, achieving a minimum of 300 contact hours.


This program is designed to comprehensively support at least 10 individuals with lived expertise each year. A high school diploma or equivalent is required.

For information on admission requirements, please contact Karyn Bolden Stovall at 312-567-5026 or


Apply TO Recovery Support Specialist Certificate program