How to Become a Professional Recovery Coach in Montana

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A certified recovery coach in Montana helps people on the road to recovery from addiction and mental health issues.

The state has a training program and certifies workers once they complete the program.

You can legally work as a recovery coach in Montana without certification, but most clients will prefer one who is certified.

Organizations that hire recovery coaches may also want certified coaches.

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Steps to Becoming a professional recovery coach

The first step to becoming a certified recovery coach in Montana is to meet certain criteria.

The most important thing is that you must be in recovery yourself, and must have had success for two years.

Minimum qualifications include:

  • At least 18 years old
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Identify as having a behavioral health condition
  • Must not have been incarcerated
  • Must not have been hospitalized for more than 72 hours for this condition

You must meet all of those requirements before you can take the classes needed.

The state requires 40 hours of training as a recovery coach.

After completing the training, you must pass an exam with a score of at least 80 percent.

There is a $125 application fee and a background check.

After all this, you can get your certificate and begin working as a professional recovery coach.

If you fail the exam, you may take it again, but you will have to pay the application fee again.

The state provides the Montana Peer Network Training Course, which involves 40 hours of in-class training.

The cost of the course is included in your application fee.

You will have to pay for your own travel, food, and lodging while taking the class.

The classes are held about four times each year.

Another option is to take an online course through the University of Montana, which offers enough credits for an international certificate.


Montana is at the lower end of the scale when it comes to salaries for recovery coaches.

The state average is $31,390, ranging from $28,000 to $35,000.

The national average is $34,000.

There is a lot of variety as far as pay goes.

In Billings, you could make $33,000 as a recovery coach, but only $28,000 in Bozeman or Missoula.

The job outlook for recovery coaches is positive in Montana and around the nation.

The Dept of Labor Statistics is projecting a 12-15 percent increase in recovery coaching jobs nationwide through 2030.

That projection is similar for Montana.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Professional Recovery Coachs in Montana

City NameSalary
Great Falls$30,241
Miles City$32,517
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Montana

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Billings, MT290$39,610- NA -$72,840$20,690
Great Falls, MT90$35,140- NA -$54,580$20,050
Missoula, MT210$37,720- NA -$64,570$21,320
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Coaches and Scouts, OCC Code 27-2022, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to renew your certificate?

You have to renew your certificate each year, and you must have 20 hours of related continuing education to get certified again.

The Peer network offers a variety of options for additional training.

There is a fee of $110 to get your certificate renewed.

What does a peer support worker do?

The recovery coach understands the struggles the person has, and that makes them better able to help people struggling with mental health or addiction issues.

They start with understanding the needs of the clients and start setting some goals.

The recovery coach coaches them on reaching those goals and helps keep them on track to reach their goals.

They discuss strategies to achieve goals and help form a plan of action.

Every client is different and has different needs.

You may work with a client for a few weeks or a few months, depending on what issues the person has.

A typical caseload could be between 10 and 20 clients at a time.

There are group as well as individual settings for recovery coaching.

What are some things you will learn in the training?

Your experience is very valuable to the client, but you need to be able to communicate your story to them effectively.

One of the things taught in the classes is how to tell your story, and how to use your experiences to help the client with issues he or she is facing today.

While you may have some experiences that have taught you a lot, it is also important to understand the science behind addiction and mental health issues.

You will learn about what happens inside a person with addiction and mental health issues from a medical and scientific perspective.

Some other areas that will be covered include:
• Self Care
• Communication skills
• Recovery and crisis planning
• Ethics and boundaries
• How to be an advocate
• One-on-one session skills.

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

There are a lot of similarities between being a recovery coach and a life coach.

Both try to help the client make positive changes in their life and help them find a way to make those changes.

They provide encouragement and support on the journey.

Both also use their own life experiences as part of helping clients make positive changes.

The biggest difference is in how a recovery coach focuses on addiction or mental health issues.

While the recovery coach will get into other areas of life, the main focus will be the journey to healing from addiction or mental health issues.

In both cases, the family and community are part of the healing process.

The recovery coach may be more directly involved with the client’s immediate family situation.

How is a recovery coach different than a clinical counselor?

One of the main differences is in how the professional approaches the client.

The counselor delves into the past more and helps the client deal with the past to get to a better situation in the present.

The recovery coach is more focused on the future, and how to help the client get from where he is now to where he wants to be in the future.

The recovery coach can take over where the counselor leaves the picture.

The clinical counselor has a lot more education, a Master’s Degree or even higher, and is able to diagnose mental illnesses and make recommendations for medication.

The recovery coach only needs a high school education and some training from the state.

The recovery coach is working from his own experience to help the client create a better tomorrow.

There is some overlap, and the person may remain in counseling while working with a recovery coach.

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