Frequently Asked Questions: About the CPRP

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CPRP Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. The Exam Application
  2. Formal Education
  3. Qualifying Education/Training (Professional Development)
  4. Work Experience
  5. The Exam
  6. Recertification

For Idaho practitioners, here is additional information related specifically to you.

FAQ: The Exam Application

Can I send my application by express mail, fax, or email?
Unfortunately, no. We are currently only accepting applications submitted through the online application system. Paper applications submitted to PRA will be returned to the applicant.

How can I apply?
To begin the application process, you must first make your exam applicaiton payment through the PRA Online store. Once payment is made, you will receive a confirmation email providing directions and the necessary links to submit your online application. You will need your payment confirmation number to complete the application process.

What are the application fees for the CPRP exam?
Member: $395  Non-Member: $515
Member Retake: $200; Non-Member Retake: $300

NOTE: Rates are subject to change without notice.

What types of payments are accepted?
The preferred method of payment is credit/debit card. Agencies wishing to pay by check should contact the PRA Certification Department for authorization.

What happens if I do not submit my payment with my application?
You may be assessed a late fee. Your application will not be processed until we receive a completed application and all related fees.

If I am denied will I receive a refund?
No. All fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Applications that remain incomplete 12 months after initial payment will be denied and all funds forfeited.

If I change my mind about taking the exam will I receive a refund?
No. All fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

What if my application is incomplete or my training or work experience is not deemed sufficient? Will I get a refund?
PRA takes a rehab-friendly approach to application review. If your application does not meet current eligibility requirements, you will be notified and permitted time to complete the necessary steps to meet the eligibility requirements. Applicants have 12 months from the date of initial application/payment to meet all eligibilty requirements and sit for the exam. Unfortunately, if an applicant does not meet the eligbility requirements in that timeframe, the application will be denied and  all fees forfeited. 

As an employing agency, I funded an applicant to sit for the exam and they quit or were terminated. Can I transfer the application to another employee?
No. All fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

I moved after I submitted my application - what should I do?
Please  login to your account with PRA to update your information or contact PRA directly at 703.442.2078 or by email.

What happens if my application is submitted after the deadline?
All applications received after the "late deadline" will be reviewed for the next available exam period.

How will I know if my application has been received?
If you have provided an email address you will receive a receipt for payment by email. You can login to your applicaiton at any time to view the status. Due to the high volume of candidates staff cannot respond to telephone inquiries regarding application status.

Do I need to submit a list of all my licenses?
No. However, in order to protect the people who may be receiving your services, we do need to know about any revocations or sanctions of licenses or other professional credentials.

What should I do if I have a suspended or revoked license?
If you have any licenses, registrations, or certifications that have been revoked, if you have been sanctioned in any way, or if you are presently under review for possible sanction, answer the questions on the application truthfully and submit a letter describing the situation and any actions that have been taken. In that letter, please include the following: name of license or certification, the state or organization issuing the license, the license number, the date issued and expiration date, contact information for verification (including contact person), address, phone number, and, if available, email address.

How will a revoked or suspended license affect my application process?
Any information about revocation of a professional license or credential or professional sanction will be reviewed by the Certification Commission to determine if the situation indicates unprofessional or unethical behavior which could be harmful to persons receiving services. If such a determination is made, the application may be denied.

Do all applicants have to agree to the Practitioner Code of Ethics?
Yes. Psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners who seek acceptance into the CPRP certification program must agree to uphold the PRA Code of Ethics. An applicant must read the Code of Ethics carefully and understand the potential ramifications of violating the Code. In the application you are required to sign an agreement to abide by the Code. Failure to sign the Code will result in denial of your application.

Do all applicants have to submit a criminal background check authorization form?
No. As of 2010 this has been removed from the application process. You will be notified if a criminal background investigation is warranted.

What types of criminal activities should I submit an explanation for?
Include information describing any felony conviction. Also include any misdemeanor conviction in the last five years, unless it was:

  • An offense committed before your seventeenth birthday.
  • A first misdemeanor conviction of drunkenness, simple assault, speeding, minor traffic violations, or disturbance of the peace.
  • A misdemeanor conviction that occurred more than five years ago, unless you have been convicted of any offense over the last five years.
  • A misdemeanor conviction which resulted in a period of incarceration which ended more than five years ago, unless you have been convicted of any offense within the last five years.

What happens if I have a felony conviction or if I have to report a misdemeanor?
In order to protect the people who may be receiving your services we need to know about any criminal convictions. Any information about a criminal conviction will be reviewed by the Certification Commission to determine if the conviction indicates behavior that could be of danger to persons receiving services. If such a determination is made, the application may be denied.

I am currently on probation (or parole), can I become a CPRP or CFRP?
Candidates who are currently on probation or parole are not eligible to sit for the exam. Applications submitted by a candidate who is currently on probation or parole will be denied and all fees forfeited.

Why is it important to sign the application?
Applicants are expected to provide truthful and complete information. Your digital signature on the application idicates your understanding of this requirement. Any application missing crucial information or found to be dishonest will be denied.

Why is it important that my name be the same on my applicaiton and official identification?
You name will appear on your Authorization to Test (ATT) as it appears on your initial exam application. This MUST match your name as it appears on the official Identification (ID) you present at the testing center on the day of your assigned exam. The spelling of your first and last names MUST be the same on both your ATT and ID. DO NOT register with a nickname, maiden name or shortened name or you will be DENIED ENTRY to the testing center and will forfeit your examination fees. Please note that middle names DO NOT appear on the ATT. 

FAQ: Formal Education

Can I send a copy of my transcript and/or diploma that I already have?
Possibly. If the transcript is in its original form, you may scan and upload it to your online application. Please maintain the original transcipt in the event that the uplodaded document is not legible. In this event, you will be required to submit the orginal document. 

I am currently enrolled in a Bachelors (or Masters) degree program. Should I have my college send a transcript?
No. We only require transcripts from degrees/educational programs that have been completed (e.g., if you are currently enrolled in a Bachelors or Associates degree program, then you would provide your high school transcript. If you are cureently enrolled in a Masters degree program, then you would provide a transcript of your undergraduate studies).

I have a Masters degree in an unrelated field, but I have a Bachelors degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Which transcript should I send?
If you do not want to submit any training hours then you should submit the transcript for your Bachelors degree.

FAQ: Qualifying Education/Training

How do I know if I need to submit training/contact hours?
Very few candidates are exempt from this requirement. Only individuals with a degree specifically in psychiatric rehabilitation are exempt. All others, including those with degrees in other mental health fields, will need to submit training hours.

What exactly is a contact hour?
For the purposes of the CPRP and CFRP credentials, PRA calculates contact hours rather than CEUs. By definition, one contact hour is equivalent to one hour (60 minutes) in the classroom, or one hour of seat time for training. Therefore, if an applicant participates in a college course that meets once a week for three hours for 15 weeks, this would be equivalent to 45 contact/classroom hours.

How and where can I obtain contact hours?
The Certification Commission currently accepts all training provided by PRA or PRA Approved Providers. Additionally, applicants may earn contact hours through various online providers of continuing education, state and local chapters/affiliates of PRA, like-minded organizations, and employers. Content for all training must meet current continuing education guidelines and be presented by an expert in the topic.

Is course work required in all seven domains of the CPRP Exam Blueprint?
Course work must fall within at least one of the seven domains; PRA does not require your 45 contact/classroom hours to include course work in every domain. That said, it is not advisable to limit all your training to just one domain, and PRA suggests that candidates seek course work in multiple domains to fulfill their training requirements.

Can course work for the Children's Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation program be used to meet the training requirements of the CPRP?
Unfortunately, not at this time. Trainings must be on a topic relevant to the treatment of adults, and trainings addressing the treatment of children will not be counted. PRA believes that although there is evidence of "cross-over" between the principles of psychiatric rehabilitation defined for children and those for adults, there is significant enough difference in the necessary knowledge base and skill set of practitioners working within these individualized areas that it warrants clear distinction. A future job analysis/role delineation study will formally explore areas of overlap and how this might fit into a new or existing credential.

Does PRA pre-authorize courses as valid or invalid?
PRA does not pre-authorize course work. Other certifying bodies offering this option typically charge a significant fee to review and pre-approve individual courses. PRA views this as an unnecessary expense for practitioners, as trainings that cover the domains of each exam can be easily and inexpensively obtained through multiple sources.

If you want a guarantee that a training course will be accepted on your CPRP or CFRP exam application, you can take advantage of the trainings available through the PRA Approved Provider Program. While most of these courses are not taught by PRA, they have been pre-approved by PRA as valid for qualifying an applicant to sit for the CPRP and/or CFRP exams and will require no further effort on your part in terms of you trying to make a determination as to whether or not the course is considered valid by PRA.

How do I know which trainings will be accepted toward the 45 hours?
All trainings must address "the treatment and/or rehabilitation of adults with serious mental illness" and be relevant to the practice domains of the exam for which you are applying. Please see the corresponding exam blueprint for details..

What type of training/course work does not qualify as valid training in preparation for a PRA exam?
Training addressing the treatment of children (under the age of 16) do not apply, nor do courses taken toward a completed degree (i.e., once you have earned your Bachelors or Masters degree, these courses can no longer be used to fulfill your CPRP training requirements). Additionally, instruction on the sue of treatment modality in opposition to a recovery-based philosophy is not acceptable (e.g., use of restraints, involuntary commitment). Some examples of trainings that do not qualify include:

  • CPR/First aid
  • Fire safety
  • Disaster training
  • Materials handling / MSDS
  • Driver education (for transport vans)
  • Computer/software training
  • Agency-specific training
  • Topics specific to children / adolescents
  • Autism spectrum disorders*
  • Human development
  • Alzheimer's disease / dimentia / aging
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Domestic violence / abuse**
  • Death and dying / grief and loss
  • Internships
  • Courses taken towards a comleted degree (Associates, Bachelors, Masters, etc.)
  • Staff meetings / retreats
  • Routine coaching, training, or supervising staff
  • *Courses related to Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders are accpeted for CFRP exam eligbility.
    **Courses on recognizing and reporting child abuse are accepted for CFRP exam elibility

What if a course I have taken and submitted to PRA to qualify for the CPRP or CFRP is not accepted?
If a course you have submitted is denied please contac the Certification Department at 703.442.2078 for reconsideration. You may be asked to supply a formal course description and learning objectives for the course (or portion of the course) for which you are requesting credit.

FAQ: Work Experience

How much work experience do I need?
The amount of work experience required varies, and is dependent on your formal academic preparation. Please review the initial eligibility requirements of the exam for which you are applying to determine your pathway and the required work experience. Employers must provide verification (via electronic communication) of reported work experience. If you do not have enough experience at your current place of employment, please have a previous employer(s) verify past employment to ensure that you have the appropriate documentation.

What type of work experience is acceptable?
Work experience must be related to providing psychiatric rehabilitation. For applicants appying for the CPRP, experience must be with transition-age youth and adults (over age 16). Applicants for the CFRP exam must include experience workign with children and youth (under age 18). The employee’s work had a job description; was regularly scheduled; was supervised by a psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner (someone familiar with psychiatric rehabilitation but not necessarily certified) and was regularly evaluated. Some examples are: working as a case manager, vocational counselor, independent living support counselor, residential treatment counselor, or club house staff. Supervision, administration, and training in psychiatric rehabilitation are also considered work experience.

Can I use part-time employment as experience?
Yes. However, it must be equivalent to the full time requirement (FTE). For example, two (2) years of part-time (20 hours per week) work experience is equivalent to one (1) year of FTE (40 hours per week) work experience.

Can I use volunteer employment as work experience?
Yes. However, unpaid work experience can only be used to fulfill up to 50% of the requirement. For example, an applicant with an MSW needs one year of FTE. This applicant could use up to six months of unpaid work experience towards their one year work experience requirement. The unpaid work experience must also be documented and employment/volunteer verification will be required.

How do I verify my employment?
During the application process you will be asked to document your work experience, proving the name and email address of your supervisor (or the appropriate person at the agency responsible for employment verificaiton). This individual will recieve an email from PRA requiring them to verify your employment using our online employment verifcation tool. BEGINNING IN 2016 NO PAPER FORMS ARE REQUIRED.



FAQ: The Exam (Preparation, Content, Scoring, Results)

How many questions are on the exams?
The PRA certification exams consist of 100 and 150 multiple choice items. Each item has only one correct answer.

What is the best way to prepare to take the exam?
Preparing for an exam is an extremely personal preference. Some people enjoy preparation courses or formal study groups, while others prefer to study on their own. The Certification Commission makes available to candidates the full list of resources used in developing the exam many of which are available for download from the PRA website. Additionally, the Commission makes available to Candidates, the Exam Blueprints, provide an outline of the content covered on each exam.

When will I learn my exam results?
In order for statistical analysis to be made on the certification exam, you will be notified via email of the exam results approximately eight weeks after you take the exam.

What happens if I don't pass the exam?
Candidates who fail the exam will have one opportunity to retake a scheduled exam, within 12 months of their initial application date, without submitting a new application. Candidates wishing to retake must submit a retake application (online) along with the applicable retake payment. If an individual fails the exam a second time, he or she must submit a new complete application and full application fee. There is no limit to the number of times an individual can take the exam.

I think my exam was scored incorrectly. What should I do?
If you believe the results of your examination are wrong you may appeal to PRA. To initiate this process you must do so within 30 days of receiving your score report. The computer testing companies will hand-score your examination and mail you the results for a fee of $150.

What happens if I pass the exam?
Candidates who have passed a PRA exam will receive a letter of acceptance, a forma certificate, a certificaiton identification card, and information on certification maintenance requirements. Once you have earned a PRA certification, you are responsible for maintaining certification status through recertification every three years.

FAQ: Recertification - Maintaining the CPRP Credential

What is the purpose of recertification?
As the profession’s knowledge base continues to expand, and new insights and practices develop, it’s essential for certificants  to maintain and enhance their expertise and knowledge. Recertification helps to ensure that certificants remain current in their field of practice.

How much does it cost to recertify?
Member: $145
Non-Member: $265

NOTE: Fees are subject to change without notice.

How often do I have to recertify?
All PRA certificants are required to recertify every three years.

When am I due to recertify?

New Deadlines

All CPRPs recertifying in the same calendar year now have the same recertification and expiration dates; those that previously were due in March have been aligned with the September group.  Your recertification is due by midnight on September 30 (in the year that you are due for recertification.)  If unpaid, your recertification will expire on December 31 of that year, and be terminated on January 1, of the following year.  You've worked hard to earn and maintain your credential - don't let that happen!

Extended Recertification Period

We have doubled the recertification period to 12 months, including a three-month last-chance period between your recertification deadline and your expiration date.

New Early Bird Rate

We have introduced a reduced Early Bird rate, for those who renew during the first quarter of their recertification year, to encourage you to go ahead and recertify, if you've already attained your credits.

New Deadlines and Pricing

  • Early Bird recertification - deadline March 31 - cost $129.00 (PRA members) / $249.00 (nonmembers)
  • Standard recertification - deadline September 30 - cost $145.00 (PRA members) / $265 (nonmembers)
  • Last Chance recertification - deadline December 31 - cost $195 (PRA members) / $315 (nonmembers)

What is required to recertify?
Certifants must complete and maintain documentation of a minimum of 45 contact hours of qualifying education/training (professional development) during each three-year recertification cycle. 4 hours must be specific to Ethics in the Helping Professions.

How do I apply for recertification?

Easier Way to Recertify

​We no longer work with a third-party (such as Professional Credential Services) to handle recertification.  The whole process now takes place on the PRA website, and takes just a couple minutes!  In order to recertify, please do the following:

  1. Login
    ​Please note that our database was refreshed in late 2016, at which time all passwords were reset.  If you have not logged in since this change, your initial password is Password1.  Your login is your primary email address.
  2. ​Click the Shop button at the top of the page (next to the Login/My Account button)
  3. Once in the store, search for "Recert"
  4. Click the item to begin your recertification application.
  5. Select "Renew" in the first dropdown (please ignore the "subscription" language - that's just database lingo)
  6. ​Answer all questions, then click "Add to Cart"
  7. ​If you are not a current PRA member and would like to become one, click "Continue Shopping" and add membership to your cart.  Your recertification price will automatically update to the PRA member rate once membership is also in the cart.  If it does not, please contact for assistance.
  8. Your purchase is final.  If you believe you see the incorrect rate (for instance, if you believe you are a PRA member, but see the nonmember rate), do not complete your purchase.  Instead, please email, and PRA staff will assist you.  Payments will not be retroactively adjusted.

You're all done!

What if I need additional time to complete the recertification process?
If you need additional time for any reason, contact the Certification Department in writing to request an extension. Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis. Additional fees may apply.

What if my certification laspes?
There is no appeal from lapse of a PRA credential due to failure to meet recertification requirements. To regain the credential you will be required to apply for and successfully pass the certification examination.