Step-by-Step Guide: How to Become a Certified Recovery Coach in 2023

Imagine transforming people’s lives as a respected certified recovery coach, guiding them through their addiction recovery journey, and providing support in overcoming life challenges. Becoming a professional recovery coach is an exciting and fulfilling career path that allows you to make a positive impact on others. In this blog post, we will walk you through the step-by-step guide on how to become a certified recovery coach in 2023, the top certification programs, and how to establish your coaching practice for long-term success.

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Key Takeaways

  • Becoming a certified recovery coach requires meeting educational requirements, selecting an accredited training program and completing professional courses.
  • To build your practice, effective marketing strategies such as digital campaigns and networking should be implemented to identify your niche.
  • Continuing education is essential for maintaining current knowledge and enhancing coaching skills.

Understanding the Role of a Certified Recovery Coach

Recovery coaches play a crucial role in supporting clients through their addiction recovery process and other significant life events, using personalized strategies and coaching techniques. These professionals provide a comprehensive range of support, guidance, and tailored strategies to assist clients in overcoming addiction, healing from trauma, and navigating and progressing beyond setbacks. They offer professional recovery coaching services to their clients, often specializing in specific sub-niches such as trauma recovery, divorce recovery, codependency recovery, and narcissistic abuse recovery. Some recovery coaches may also specialize in crisis intervention to help clients during critical moments in their recovery journey.

While certification is not mandatory, obtaining a recovery coach certification can:

  • Increase credibility
  • Strengthen the rapport between coaches and clients
  • Ensure that recovery coaches have received the necessary training, including cultural competence
  • Ensure that recovery coaches are adhering to ethical standards in their practice.

The subsequent sections explore the significance of certification and differentiate recovery coaching from similar professions.

The Importance of Certification

Although certification is not a requirement, it offers significant benefits for recovery coaches. A recovery coach certification can increase credibility, foster trust, and offer increased income potential. Some well-known certification programs include the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy, which provides comprehensive training for aspiring recovery coaches.

In order to gain certification as a recovery coach, the following requirements are typically needed:

  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Work or volunteer experience in the recovery support field
  • Completion of professional coaching training courses
  • Certification or licensing (depending on state regulations)

The exact requirements may differ based on the certification program or state regulations.

Recovery Coaching vs. Other Helping Professions

Recovery coaching has different educational prerequisites and methodology compared to therapy and counseling, with a heightened emphasis on taking action and being responsible. For instance, a recovery coach typically requires a high school diploma or GED, as well as completion of professional training courses. Conversely, therapists usually necessitate higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree or higher, in a related field such as psychology or counseling.

Recovery coaching emphasizes practical tools, accountability check-ins, and guidance for making positive changes in everyday life, which can contribute to personal recovery. Coaches also facilitate their clients in setting goals and action steps. In contrast, therapy and counseling may also involve accountability tools, but their primary focus is on understanding, healing, and exploring emotions.

Steps to Becoming a Certified Recovery Coach

Becoming a certified recovery coach involves the following steps:

  1. Meet specific educational requirements, such as having a high school diploma or GED certificate.
  2. Choose a suitable training program in recovery coaching.
  3. Complete the required professional training courses.
  4. Obtain the relevant certification.

By following these steps, you can become a certified recovery coach.

Upcoming subsections dissect the essential education, factors to consider when selecting a training program, and the process of securing certification.

Educational Requirements

For those aspiring to become recovery coaches, a high school diploma or GED certificate serves as the recommended baseline qualification. Professional training courses in recovery coaching are also beneficial for developing the required skills. Additionally, various certification programs and online courses are available to improve one’s knowledge and credentials.

Several subject areas and fields of study are particularly pertinent to recovery coaching, such as:

  • Peer support and recovery support
  • Neuroscience and addiction
  • Psychology
  • Counseling skills
  • Health promotion and public health

A background in addiction studies is essential for recovery coaching, as it provides the foundational knowledge and understanding of substance use disorders, recovery processes, evidence-based practices, and motivational interviewing techniques.

Choosing a Training Program

Selecting a training program should involve careful consideration of your career objectives, financial capabilities, and availability. Factors like accreditation and course length should also be taken into account. The leading training programs for recovery coach certification include:

When evaluating the accreditation of recovery coach training programs, consider factors such as:

  • The provision of a certificate of attendance upon completion
  • Advanced training specific to the peer recovery role
  • Guidance from local authorities or certification bodies
  • Programs that are accredited by reputable organizations or have official endorsements

The Minnesota Recovery Coach Academy is a 46-hour program designed to provide participants with core coaching skills and knowledge related to addiction.

Obtaining Certification

Obtaining certification from a reputable organization can significantly enhance your credibility and client trust. Certification levels available for recovery coaching include:

  • Certified Addiction Recovery Coach (CAC)
  • Certified Professional Coach (CPC)
  • National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist (NCPRSS)
  • Recovery Coach Professional (RCP) Designation
  • Certified Recovery Coach (CRC)
  • Certified Addiction Peer Recovery Coach I (CAPRC I)
  • Supervisor level certificate

To be eligible for recovery coach certification, candidates typically need to possess:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Successful completion of a recovery coach training program
  • Work or volunteer experience in the recovery support field (depending on the program)

The duration to obtain a recovery coach certification may vary based on the program, with some requiring 30 hours of training and others requiring 60 hours or more.

Top Recovery Coach Certification Programs in 2023

In 2023, several top recovery coach certification programs stand out for their quality and reputation, including:

Each of these programs offers unique advantages and focuses that cater to different needs and preferences.

The subsequent subsections elucidate the distinct features and advantages of these leading certification programs, offering valuable insights to guide your decision-making process in choosing a program that aligns with your career aspirations and personal circumstances.

International Association of Professional Recovery Coaches (IAPRC)

The IAPRC offers a comprehensive and accredited recovery coach certification program with various options for both novice and experienced coaches. The CPRC online program provides in-depth instruction on the Neuroscience of Joyful Recovery, Professional Recovery Coach Competencies, and Family Issues in Recovery. The duration of the Recovery Coach Certification program at IAPRC is self-paced, so it may vary depending on the individual.

The expenses associated with obtaining a Recovery Coach Certification from IAPRC may vary based on the selected training partner. The program cost can range from $1,895 to $3,000 USD.

CCAPP Academy Alcohol and Drug Treatment Studies

CCAPP Academy provides a 56-week program covering addiction in depth, including psychology, personal growth, counseling, and relapse prevention. The program offers an in-depth exploration of addiction, with topics such as psychological aspects, principles of personal growth, counseling skills, and relapse prevention. The requirements for enrolling in the CCAPP Academy Alcohol and Drug Treatment Studies include 315 hours of approved AOD specific education, a 255-hour field practicum, passing score on the IC&RC written exam, and 6,000 hours of experience.

Strategies such as:

  • Building partnerships
  • Networking with professionals
  • Providing educational resources
  • Utilizing digital marketing
  • Offering aftercare support

can be used to leverage treatment centers for marketing recovery coaching services. The fee for the North Shore Community College Recovery Coach Certification Training is $1,298.00.

North Shore Community College Recovery Coach Certification Training

North Shore Community College offers a recovery coaching program focused on ethics and teaching addiction and coaching skills. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for North Shore Community College Recovery Coach Certification Training. The program is designed to provide ethical instruction on addiction and coaching skills, equipping participants with the knowledge and expertise required to effectively support clients on their recovery journey.

The fee for the North Shore Community College Recovery Coach Certification Training is $1,298.00. By investing in a quality training program, aspiring recovery coaches can enhance their skills and knowledge, positioning themselves for success in this rewarding and impactful career.

Building Your Recovery Coaching Practice

Establishing a successful recovery coaching practice involves marketing your services, establishing your niche, and pursuing continuing education and professional development. By effectively promoting your coaching services, you can attract potential clients and build a strong reputation in the field.

The next subsections delve into strategies for promoting your services, tips to carve out your niche, and the significance of continuous learning and professional growth opportunities.

Marketing Your Services

To market your recovery coaching services, consider the following strategies:

  • Partnering with local hospitals and outpatient centers
  • Sponsoring community events
  • Implementing a robust digital marketing campaign
  • Engaging in social media platforms
  • Developing a strong brand identity
  • Networking and engaging with treatment centers
  • Utilizing online platforms such as podcasts and social media

These strategies can be beneficial in acquiring clients for your recovery coaching services.

Another effective marketing strategy is to be featured in podcast interviews, which can increase visibility as an authoritative figure in the field. By leveraging various marketing channels and strategies, you can effectively promote your recovery coaching services and attract clients in need of your expertise and support.

Establishing Your Niche

Establishing a niche in your coaching practice allows you to target specific client needs and set yourself apart from competitors. A niche in recovery coaching is a specific area or specialization within the field of recovery coaching, such as working with certain types of addicts or providing support to the families of those in recovery.

By specializing in a particular area, like family recovery, yoga-aligned recovery, or mindfulness-based recovery coaching, you can become an expert in that area, which is attractive to clients who need help in that specific area and increases the likelihood of successful coaching outcomes. Establishing a niche not only enhances your reputation but also allows you to tailor your approach and knowledge to better meet the needs of your target clients.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

For certified recovery coaches, engaging in continuous education and professional development is pivotal to stay current in the field and enhance their coaching skills. In 2023, recovery coaches may attend conferences and workshops such as the Mental Health & Substance Use Recovery Conference, Recovery & Sleep Summit, and ED2Recovery+ Peer Conference.

Leading continuing education courses for certified recovery coaches include:

  • Recovery Coach Certification Programs
  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
  • CCAR Training
  • Recovery Peer Specialist Training
  • Certified Professional Recovery Coach (CRPC) Training

It is recommended for a certified recovery coach to participate in continuing education programs every two years, with around 20 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or hours usually required.


Becoming a certified recovery coach is a rewarding and fulfilling career path that enables you to make a significant impact on the lives of others. By understanding the role of a recovery coach, meeting the educational requirements, choosing a suitable training program, obtaining certification, and building your coaching practice, you can embark on a successful career in this field. With the right dedication and commitment, you can transform lives and inspire hope in those facing addiction and life challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most recognized recovery coach certification?

The most recognized recovery coach certification is the International Association of Trauma Recovery Coaching, which is a member of the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO) and upholds their code of ethics and core competencies.

What competencies do you need to be a recovery coach?

To be a successful recovery coach, you need excellent communication and interpersonal skills, empathy, resilience, collaborative abilities, active listening, and problem-solving capabilities.

What is the difference between a recovery coach and a counselor?

A recovery coach is not a counselor and cannot offer counseling services; rather, they are someone recovering addicts can turn to for guidance on their journey of recovery. The coach will meet with the addict to determine if they are a good fit for coaching services.

What is CCAR certification?

CCAR’s Recovery Coach Professional Designation is an internationally recognized program that sets the standard for recovery coaches worldwide. The RCP designation is a trusted and valued credential in the field.

What are the 4 roles of a recovery coach?

A recovery coach helps to promote recovery, remove barriers, connect with local recovery support services, and encourage hope, optimism, and healthy living.