CRSS & CPRS: Professional Credentials for People with Lived Experience

CRSS: Certified Recovery Support Specialist
CPRS: Certified Peer Recovery Specialist

What are they?

  • Professionals trained to incorporate their unique personal recovery experiences with mental health and/or substance use challenges to support the recovery of others.
  • Credentials for people in recovery who provide professional peer support services for persons recovering from mental health and/or substance use challenges.
  • Credentials that verify that a person has the knowledge and skills that meet minimum acceptable standards of the Recovery Support profession, regardless of having an academic degree.

Where do I start?

  • Watch the CRSS/CPRS Orientation Video1 on the IDHS website.
  • Go to, click on credentialing, scroll down to Recovery Support Specialist (for CRSS) or Peer Recovery Specialist (for CPRS).
  • Download all listed documents for the applicable credential (Model, Application, etc.).
  • Print and carefully read the Model, which explains the requirements for the credential.
  • Once you have read and familiarized yourself with the Model, you can begin to gather the necessary documentation for your application.
  • Fill out the application. A partial application can be submitted, but all application elements must be completed within one year of submission. See sections below for information regarding necessary documentation.
  • Submit the completed application and required documentation to the Illinois Certification Board via postal mail. Electronic submissions are not accepted.
  • The $85.00 application fee is required at the time of submission and is accepted via check or money order. *


  • Application Fee.………………………………… $85
  • Examination Fee.………………………………. $125
  • Annual Certification Fee.…………………… $70
  • CEU Petition Fee.………………………………. $10
  • CEU Extension Fee…………………………….. $10

(per month - maximum six months)

*For information on applying for financial assistance with the Application, Examination, or Annual Certification fees, please see the CRSS Success program page2 on the IDHS website.


Application Requirements

Work Experience

  • 2,000 hours (from within the past 4 years)
  • Can be either paid or volunteer
  • 51% of work duties must involve providing mental health recovery support services
  • Must be supervised, whether paid or volunteer
  • Primary responsibility providing recovery support services to an individual/group
    • Prepare recovery plans
    • Document client progress
  • Clinically supervised by individual knowledgeable in Performance Domains


  • 100 hours of supervision received in Performance Domains:
    • From paid or volunteer work
  • Supervision:
    • Hours individual spends being observed, directly/indirectly performing services
    • Time spent with supervisor discussing work performance and/or topics relevant to job duties


  • High School Diploma or GED
  • 100 clock hours (CRSS):
    • 40 hrs CRSS Specific (min. 10 hours in each Performance Domain)
    • 6 hrs Professional Ethics and Responsibility
    • 54 hrs Core Functions
  • 100 clock hours (CPRS):
    • 40 hrs CPRS Specific (min. 10 hours in each Performance Domain)
    • 16 hrs Professional Ethics and Responsibility
    • 44 hours Core Functions (Must include 5 hours specific to family and 5 hours specific to youth)

Examination Process

  • Once an application is approved by ICB, applicants will be notified of eligibility to schedule their exam. The exam will be administered via computer at one of multiple testing sites across the State of Illinois that are contracted by ICB.
  • The exam measures competency in the CRSS/CPRS Performance Domains. Competency refers to an individual's ability to make decisions based on recovery support principles.
  • The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and the applicant has up to 2 hours to complete it. Accommodations may be available upon request.
  • Applicants may retest if they do not receive a passing score (minimum of 68).
  • For assistance with exam preparation, please see the Study Guides listed under each credential at
  • Examination fee: $125.00 (*See Fees section of this document for more information.)

What comes next?

  • After passing the exam, a certificate will be mailed by ICB. CRSS/CPRS professionals may choose to frame and/or display the certificate, if they wish.
  • It is the responsibility of the CRSS/CPRS professional to maintain their certification number in a secure location.

Maintaining Your Certification

  • CRSS/CPRS professionals are required to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) throughout each of the 2-year certification periods in order to apply for renewal.
  • Establish a filing system for maintaining documentation related to your credential.
  • Keep copies of certificates from any training programs attended.

Every Year

  • Annual Fee of $70 is due yearly by the anniversary of certification date
  • Invoice will be sent via email 60 days before the due date
  • Late fee is $10 per month


Every Two Years

40 CEUs for CRSS  -  30 CEUs for CPRS

  • Due every 2 years by anniversary of certification date
  • Submit documentation of CEUs to ICB via the online portal link, which is provided with the fee invoice, or via postal mail. Emailed CEUs are not accepted.
  • Request extension if more time is needed to obtain CEUs
    • $10 per month extension fee
    • Up to 6 months from expiration date
  • ICB will review CEUs. If approved, new certificate will be issued upon receipt of annual fee.
  • New certificate will be valid for another 2 years.

More Information on CEUs

  • 1 clock hour of training = 1 CEU
  • Relevant college credit hours (as determined by ICB) can be used for CEUs
    • 1 semester credit hour = 15 CEUs
    • 1 quarter credit hour = 10 CEUs
    • 1 trimester credit hour = 12 CEUs
  • To be valid, CEUs must have been obtained within the 2-year certification period.

CEU Categories


  • CRSS I & II, and CPRS I & II, are categories of continuing education; they do not refer to different levels of credentials.
  • Some continuing education may be recognized by the ICB for both categories.
  • As Category I is more specific than Category II, any CEUs earned in Category I would also be applicable to Category II, but each CEU can only be counted once.
  • For renewal, the number of CEUs in each category differs between the CRSS and CPRS:

Category I

15 CEUs

Education specific to knowledge and skills in:

* the CRSS Domains of Advocacy,

Professional Responsibility,

Mentoring, Recovery Support

* mental health recovery

* the role of peer support in the

recovery process

20 CEUs

Education specific to knowledge and skills in:

* the CPRS Domains of Advocacy,

Mentoring & Education,

Recovery/Wellness Support, and

Ethical Responsibility

* recovery

* the role of peer support in the

recovery process

Note: Of these 20 hours, 6 must be in CPRS Ethics

Category II

25 CEUs

Education relevant to knowledge and skills in the Core Functions of CRSS professionals

* Does not have to be specific to

mental health recovery and peer-


* Covers support services skills and

knowledge base

10 CEUs

Education relevant to knowledge and skills in the Core Functions of CPRS professionals

* Does not have to be specific to

recovery and peer-support

* Covers support services skills and

knowledge base



  1. CRSS/CPRS Orientation Video
  2. CRSS Success Scholarship Fund

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