CPRS Competencies

This document is a listing of the competencies for the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential. These competencies are published by the Illinois Certification Board in The Illinois Model for Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) and were used to design the questions on the exam an applicant must pass in order to earn the CPRS credential. Each item on this list represents a task or area of knowledge in which a CPRS should be competent. The items are separated into four Performance Domains: Advocacy, Ethical Responsibility, Mentoring/Education, and Recovery/Wellness Support.


  • Relate to the individual as an advocate.
  • Advocate within systems to promote person-centered recovery/wellness support services.
  • Describe the individual's rights and responsibilities.
  • Apply the principles of individual choice and self-determination.
  • Explain importance of self-advocacy as a component of recovery/wellness.
  • Recognize and use person-centered language.
  • Practice effective communication skills.
  • Differentiate between the types and levels of advocacy.
  • Collaborate with the individual to identify, link, and coordinate choices with resources.
  • Advocate for multiple pathways to recovery/wellness.
  • Recognize the importance of a holistic (e.g., mind, body, spirit, environment) approach to recovery/wellness.

Ethical Responsibility

  • Recognize risk indicators that may affect the individual's welfare and safety.
  • Respond to personal risk indicators to assure welfare and safety.
  • Communicate to support network personal issues that impact ability to perform job duties.
  • Report suspicions of abuse or neglect to appropriate authority.
  • Evaluate the individual's satisfaction with their progress toward recovery/wellness goals.
  • Maintain documentation and collect data as required.
  • Adhere to responsibilities and limits of the role.
  • Apply fundamentals of cultural competency.
  • Recognize and adhere to the rules of confidentiality.
  • Recognize and maintain professional and personal boundaries.
  • Recognize and address personal and institutional biases and behaviors.
  • Maintain current, accurate knowledge of trends and issues related to wellness and recovery. * Recognize various crisis and emergency situations.
  • Use organizational/departmental chain of command to address or resolve issues.
  • Practice non-judgmental behavior.

Mentoring and Education

  • Serve as a role model for an individual.
  • Recognize the importance of self-care.
  • Establish and maintain a peer relationship rather than a hierarchical relationship.
  • Educate through shared experiences.
  • Support the development of healthy behavior that is based on choice.
  • Describe the skills needed to self-advocate.
  • Assist the individual in identifying and establishing positive relationships.
  • Establish a respectful, trusting relationship with the individual.
  • Demonstrate consistency by supporting individuals during ordinary and extraordinary times. * Support the development of effective communication skills.
  • Support the development of conflict resolution skills.
  • Support the development of problem-solving skills.
  • Apply principles of empowerment.
  • Provide resource linkage to community supports and professional services.

Recovery/Wellness Support

  • Assist the individual with setting goals.
  • Recognize that there are multiple pathways to recovery/wellness.
  • Contribute to the individual's recovery/wellness team(s).
  • Assist the individual to identify and build on their strengths and resiliencies.
  • Apply effective coaching techniques such as Motivational Interviewing.
  • Recognize the stages of change.
  • Recognize the stages of recovery/wellness.
  • Recognize signs of distress.
  • Develop tools for effective outreach and continued support.
  • Assist the individual in identifying support systems.
  • Practice a strengths-based approach to recovery/wellness.
  • Assist the individual in identifying basic needs.
  • Apply basic supportive group facilitation techniques.
  • Recognize and understand the impact of trauma.
  • Referrals and/or access needed resources.