How to Become a Professional Recovery Coach in Wisconsin

Search Professional Recovery Coach Programs

Get information on Professional Recovery Coach programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Search
Wisconsin map

Also referred to as peer recovery specialists, Wisconsin-based recovery coaches come from various lifestyles across all ages, abilities, backgrounds, and ethnicities.

They share a personal experience with addiction or mental health and the desire to help others overcome the same issues they face.

Recovery coaches don’t provide treatment since they aren’t clinicians but fulfill a critical role as part of the patient’s recovery team.

If you have had personal experience with recovery, you could qualify to become a recovery coach in Wisconsin.

Keep reading to learn more about how to become a professional recovery coach in Wisconsin!

Search Professional Recovery Coach Programs

Get information on Professional Recovery Coach programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

Steps to Become a Professional Recovery Coach in Wisconsin

Several steps are required to become a professional recovery coach in Wisconsin, including the following:

Step One: Earn a High School Diploma

The State of Wisconsin requires a high school diploma to enroll in the recovery coach training program.

Candidates will be disqualified with this essential education.

Step Two: Complete a Training Program

The Wisconsin Peer Specialists organization is the only training program in the state, so candidates must apply through this organization.

To be eligible for the training program, candidates must be at least 18 years old, have a lived experience with substance abuse or mental health disorders, and be willing to help others on the road to recovery.

Step Three: Complete the Examination

Certified Peer Specialist and Parent Peer Specialist exams are administered by the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee’s School of Continuing Education.

While the state requires exams to be taken within two years of training completion, applicants are advised to take the exam immediately while the information is fresh.

Candidates can register and complete the exam online, with only 150 individuals able to take the exam at any time.

The fee is $50 for each time the examination must be taken.

The test is content comprises 62 multiple-choice questions, and three hours are allotted for test completion.

To prepare, study guides featuring sample questions are available, and the organization has hour-long remote study sessions.

Step Four: Recertification

Wisconsin requires recertification every two years, which can be fulfilled through 20 hours of continuing education in specific areas.

Peer specialists must take each 1.5 hours in peer specialist, ethics and boundaries, substance use, cultural humility, trauma-informed care, and mental health – the University of Milwaukee issues recertification for a fee of $50.

Parent peer specialists continuing education topics include parent peer specialists, ethics and boundaries, cultural humility, and child and adolescent development.

Similarly, recertification is through the university and costs $50.

Schools in Wisconsin

Recovery coach training in Wisconsin is regulated by the WICPS organization, which holds free state-approved programs for parent and peer specialists.

Only a limited number of spaces exist, so applying early is critical.

After applying, you are invited to an interview via video chat, but not all interviewees are chosen for the program.

Applicants are carefully evaluated and screened on an individual basis.

To prepare for this interview, it’s essential to relate personal experiences in recovery, explain the coach’s role, and demonstrate your passion for assisting others currently in recovery.

All training courses are held online but could be offered in physical locations to allow for more flexibility in the future.

Most sessions have residency requirements and are only open to those living in specific tribal communities, cities, and counties.

Training consists of 48 hours of instruction across one five-day period.

During the training program, recovery coach candidates will learn the following core competencies surrounding substance abuse and mental health recovery:

  • Advocacy
  • Boundaries and ethics
  • Communication skills
  • Peer support relationships
  • Recovery principles
  • Self-disclosure

Those seeking parent-peer specialist training will learn the following skills:

  • Advocacy
  • Child development
  • Family resilience
  • Mental health and substance use recovery
  • Navigating family services and youth resources
  • Self-disclosure


The median U.S. compensation is $34,300, with pay ranging from $30,800 to $38,400.

In Wisconsin, the median pay is $33,800, ranging from $30,300 to $37,800.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Professional Recovery Coachs in Wisconsin

City NameSalary
Green Bay$32,939
Eau Claire$32,872
La Crosse$31,906
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Wisconsin

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Appleton, WI150$40,070- NA -$67,140$16,490
Eau Claire, WI210$33,950- NA -$49,700$19,780
Fond du Lac, WI70$44,460- NA -$60,450$26,070
Green Bay, WI240$50,470- NA -$78,360$23,700
Janesville-Beloit, WI110$40,280- NA -$63,580$20,700
La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN190$43,880- NA -$59,010$25,250
Madison, WI870$55,750- NA -$76,530$23,610
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI950$44,850- NA -$69,050$21,480
Oshkosh-Neenah, WI140$40,940- NA -$60,750$23,600
Racine, WI80$41,290- NA -$61,680$22,010
Wausau, WI40$45,340- NA -$77,270$23,610
* 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 topics do the two WICPS exams cover?

The Certified Peer Specialist exam tests candidate knowledge regarding ethics, core competencies related to the role, and the scope of practice.

The four core competencies include understanding recovery, roles and responsibilities, skills, and values.

The Certified Parent Peer Specialist exam tests eight core competencies: advocacy, knowledge, communication, empowerment, safety and crisis planning, wellness, confidentiality and ethics, and personal attributes.

At least an 85% score is required to pass both examinations.

What professional development opportunities exist in Wisconsin?

After acquiring a certification and working in either field, many opportunities exist for continued development and remaining updated on the latest knowledge.

WICPS offers regular events as a section of their Community of Practice which features training and guest speakers.

Many of these events are acceptable for continuing education hours.

Also, both specialists can remain connected through the WICPS contact list and social media pages, which inform coaches of upcoming workshops and other resources.

Best of all, WICPS maintains a job board for part-time and full-time positions.

At what facilities do Wisconsin recovery coaches work?

Those employed in this role can work in:

  • Substance abuse counseling and treatment programs
  • Transitional living
  • Social services
  • Religious communities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Recovery housing
  • Recovery community organizations
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Mental health facilities
  • Emergency rooms

What personal skills are required to become a Wisconsin recovery coach?

Recovery coaches interact with patients of all ages, ethnicities, and lifestyles at different recovery stages.

Therefore, a wide range of personal skills are required, including the following:

  • Communication
  • Confidence
  • Ethics
  • Motivation
  • Strong listening skills
Search Programs