How to Become a Professional Recovery Coach in Washington

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You may have wondered what is a recovery coach and what does one do?

That’s a great question!

Recovery coaches aid clients in finding ways to overcome addiction and supporting people in recovery from alcohol, drugs, or other addictive behaviors.

The complete focus of recovery coaches is to help individuals achieve a healthy, drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.

This is accomplished through actions such as discovering and guiding clients through resources.

These steps can include detox, treatment, harm reduction, education, and assisting clients in constructing a transition plan as they work toward sobriety.

And recovery coaches also can provide family support as clients work toward attaining their sobriety/mental wellness goals.

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Do you want to be a professional recovery coach in Washington?


This is a profession where a candidate’s experience in sober living, work ethic, and guided courses can be a recipe for beginning a rewarding career as a recovery coach.

Though recovery coaches don’t need extensive formal education, candidates must have earned, at a minimum, a high school diploma.

A GED is an excellent alternative; most programs can be finished in less than a year.

And you’ll have that accomplishment and the foundation skills to complete the job duties of a recovery coach that support clients, ranging from preparing case reports, helping clients discover resources, and keeping up with advances in the field.

While a formal education, such as a bachelor’s or graduate degree, is excellent and can help you advance in your vocation, especially in related fields such as psychiatry, counseling, or other health-related degrees, the main focus on education is the certification process.

As a professional recovery coach, compassion, common sense, lived experience, and attention to detail are essential, and many talents and skills can help you begin your career trajectory.


First comes learning coaching applications, communication skills, core competencies, assessment skills, and business development.

Then, you’re ready for the test.

The next step is to find a certification exam site or online program and schedule your test, take the test, and after completing it, candidates have another asset in their career trajectory arsenal.


  • Communication, interpersonal, and collaborative skills
  • Documentation
  • Treatment plan
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Problem-solving techniques
  • Mental health/ behavioral analysis
  • Crisis intervention
  • Psychology/cognitive health knowledge

Recovery Coach Certification, Washington

There are a number of training programs that can help individuals gain the info to successfully get that certification that will enhance a candidate’s career options as a recovery coach.

While the Washington State Department of Health doesn’t offer a specific “Recovery Coach Certification,” there are, however, various organizations in Washington that provide training and certification programs for recovery coaches, such as the Washington Association of Addiction Professionals (WAAP).

Other certification boards include options such as:

  • International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC)
  • National Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)
  • Association of Recovery Community Organizations (ARCO)

Be sure to research all the possible certification boards and choose the right one for your needs.

The next step is to begin training and work toward certification.

Training And Certification Requirements

The training and certification requirements for recovery coaches depend upon the organization submitting the certification.

One example, the Washington Association of Addiction Professionals (WAAP) has the following requirements for certification:

  • A high school diploma or GED.
  • Completion of a WAAP-approved recovery coach training program covering topics including addiction and recovery. It should also cover ethics, communication and life skills, and motivational interviewing.
  • A minimum of 100 hours of supervised experience working with individuals in recovery.
  • Successfully passing a written exam to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary for the position of a recovery coach in Washington.
  • The WAAP certification must be renewed every two years through continuing education courses or retaking the written exam.

How Much Does a Professional Recovery Coach Earn in Washington?

The medium salary for a recovery coach in Washington is $35,725 annually, and the salary for a professional recovery coach in Washington ranges from $32,029 to $39,957.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Professional Recovery Coachs in Washington

City NameSalary
Federal Way$36,927
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Washington

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA320$50,150- NA -$78,810$32,530
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA230$50,230- NA -$79,770$32,090
Kennewick-Richland, WA270$45,710- NA -$62,140$32,020
Longview, WA140$52,510- NA -$68,240$34,880
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA110$45,300- NA -$61,350$32,030
Olympia-Tumwater, WA440$48,110- NA -$68,990$31,850
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA4,520$55,280- NA -$81,940$35,180
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA920$47,060- NA -$69,620$31,400
Walla Walla, WA70$48,630- NA -$66,900$31,960
Wenatchee, WA220$46,950- NA -$68,520$32,460
Yakima, WA250$51,090- NA -$82,100$32,930
* 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

What are the requirements for The Washington Association of Addiction Professionals?

The application requirements for (WAAP) certification for recovery coaches include the following:

  • A copy of your high school diploma or GED as part of your application.
  • Verification of completion of a WAAP-approved recovery coach training program.
  • Documentation of at least 100 hours of supervised experience working with individuals in recovery.
  • A passing score on the WAAP written exam.
  • The WAAP may require a background check.

Do I need to update my recovery coach credentials in Washington?

It’s vital to keep up to date with developments and best practices in the profession, and practitioners should continue to increase their knowledge and skills.

When candidates renew their certification, they’ll need documentation of completed continuing education courses, and successful re-taking of the written examination must be submitted with the application.

What is the job outlook for professional recovery coaches in Washington?

Over the next ten years, the projected career outlook for a professional recovery coach is expected to achieve 22% growth, in contrast to the average of 6% in the job market overall.

And many addiction facility centers are expected to open over this period because, sadly, drug and alcohol abuse remains a persistent problem affecting millions.

However, coupled with a growing awareness and support for addiction recovery and mental health, there’s an increasing awareness and understanding, coupled with ever-evolving skills to aid individuals in their recovery.

That’s where a professional recovery coach, who understands, through skills, education, and motivation, can help change lives.

How long is WAAP certification good for?

Washington professional recovery coaches must renew their WAAP certification every two years.

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