Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and Foundation

Why Certification?

Developed expressly for professionals who work in psychiatric rehabilitation programs and have committed themselves to the principles of person-centered recovery, the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) distinguishes professionals that have mastered the principles of psychiatric rehabilitation and understand how to implement them in practice.

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PRA's credentiling program verify that you have met rigorous standards.

To earn either of the PRA credentials, you must meet strict requirements in academia, psychiatric rehabilitation work experience, and continuing education and training hours. The credential culminates with the successful completion a certifciation exam—a rigorous test of knowledge and skill and adherence to a Practitioner Code of Ethics. All of these demonstrate your dedication to the field, and to the promise of recovery.

The CPRP exam has experienced an average passing rate of 65-68% (percentage of candidates passing the exam on the first attempt). Statistics for the CFRP are not yet available.

Certification validates and provides assurance to consumers and clients; other mental health care professionals; and employers, state licensure boards, and third-party payers.

Through participation in continuous professional development activities, consumers and clients can be confident that credential holders are keeping up with rapid changes in the professions' scopes of practice.

Certification enhances your professional opportunities.

Holding the CPRP or CFRP credential offers increased opportunities for employment, mobility, career advancement, professional credibility, and more, because it is increasingly being recognized in state regulations.

Employers Need to Know…

By systematically incorporating the CPRP credential as a staffing tool, your agency will:

  • Manage recruitment costs by focusing training resources on Continuing Competence. Build knowledge in a staff that will stay, rather than constantly re-training staff that come and go. A survey of CPRPs indicates that 70% of practitioners had been employed at the same agency for 5 years or longer.
  • Incorporate qualified individuals with non-traditional backgrounds in your staff. The contributions of consumer-peers, peer specialists and other non-degreed professionals are well-documented. Passing the CPRP exam establishes the competence of these highly motivated individuals.
  • Create a staff that is aware of diversity, both culturally and ethnically. Passing the CPRP exam requires an understanding of and commitment to the principle of culturally competent practice.

With the advent and introduction of the CFRP credential, PRA is looking forward to seeing similar strides in the children's beahvioral healthcare system.

Professional Certification Benefits…

The Community

Evidence shows that psychiatric rehabilitation services markedly improve a person’s potential for recovery. Based on principles that respect the capacity of every person to learn and grow, and to make independent choices on matters that are important, psychiatric rehabilitation works. This evidence-based approach has fundamentally altered the way we think about mental illness, and the potential for a life with meaning and hope for persons living with a mental illness.

People throughout the mental health field are aware of the need to support recovery of persons with psychiatric disabilities. The dilemma has been in how to design and provide services that effectively support people in their journey of recovery. Today we have a mechanism to ensure the delivery of the most professional psychiatric rehabilitation services — PRA's Certification Programs for Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners serving individuals from early childhood through adulthood.

The Profession

Increasing public confidence in the professional of psychiatric rehabilitation, certification identifies a practitioner as having achieved the required level of knowledge and skill in the field. Maintaining PRA credentials through continuing education and recertification reinforces this notion and identifies CPRPs and CFRPS as current and professionally competent to colleagues, employers, agencies and the public-at-large.

The Practitioner

Many practitioners are self-motivated to learn about current findings in psychiatric rehabilitation and related issues, earning and maintaining (recertification) a certification credential highlights the importance for them to remain current and proficient within a rapidly developing and changing profession. There are models and strategies of psychiatric rehabilitation service delivery that increase persons in recovery goal attainment and service satisfaction. Practitioners who hold the PRA credentials are proud to illustrate their commitment to professional growth and personal strengths. Having the knowledge that there are ongoing competency assurance requirements can lead to positive performance and practice change within an organization, an agency and even a state. 

Meet the Certification Commission for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

Established by PRA, the Certification Commission for Psychiatric Rehabilitation is the standard-setting body for PRAs’ credentialing programs. The Commission provides the governance, coordination, planning, and operation of the certification process as well as promotes the welfare of people in recovery by establishing professional standards for those engaged in providing psychiatric rehabilitation services. The commission works to assist and encourage all persons engaged in the profession of psychiatric rehabilitation to achieve and maintain the highest professional standards.

The Commission is housed in PRA, separate from PRF (which is responsible for education and training of our membership). Within the PRA, the Commission has autonomy in decision making related to the certification matters of eligibility standards, and exam development and administration. This ensures the integrity of our certifications. The Commission consists of no less than eleven (11) and not more than fifteen (15) members at any given time. Commissioners serve a term of four (4) years, and may serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms, or a maximum of ten (10) years. At all time, no less than 2/3 of all Commissioners are CPRPs in good standing. The Commission strives to maintain a diverse membership; ensuring geographic representation of all CPRPs. Commissioners may be recipients of psychiatric rehabilitation services, family members of recipients, those in related helping professions, and Public Mental Health Administrators. Meet the Commissioners.