How to Become a Certified Peer Counselor in Pennsylvania

By Jourdan Townsend
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In Pennsylvania, counseling performed on a peer-to-peer basis from an experienced, recovered or recovering individual to an at-risk individual is performed by one called a Certified Recovery Specialist. While there is no college diploma needed to become certified as a Recovery Specialist, there are classes that you must attend and a few other requirements that must be met before you can be certified to counsel your peers if you live in the state of Pennsylvania.

Find an appropriate institution and complete 54 hours of training in the following courses:

Recovery Management (18 hours) Education and Advocacy (12 hours) Professional Ethics and Responsibility (12 hours) Confidentiality (6 hours) Pennsylvania Certification Board approved relevant electives (6 hours)

Register with the Pennsylvania Certification Board to take your written examination. After you have completed all of your training courses, call the board at 717-540-4455 to register. Pass the examination.

Visit the Pennsylvania Certification Board website at pacertboard.org/Cert-CRS.asp. Click on the "Application for Certified Recovery Specialist" link. Print out the application and fill it out.

Obtain copies of the certificates of attendance from your training courses.

Take the included Release Form to a notary (you can often find one at your local courthouse) and sign it in her presence. Then have the form notarized.

Enclose all of the documentation, along with a check or money order for the $100 processing fee, made payable to PCB, in a legal-sized envelope. Apply the correct postage and mail the package to:

PCB 298 S Progress Ave Harrisburg, PA 17109

Receive your certification before you begin practicing as a peer counselor.

About the Author

Jourdan Townsend has been writing since childhood. Her articles appear in a collection of student works at the University of Oklahoma as well as in the school's "Honors College Journal." Townsend also composes poetry, some of which can be found in an edition of the "Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans." Townsend holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication.

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