3 Certification Pathways

Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS)

Certified Family Recovery Specialist (CFRS)

Certified Recovery Specialist Supervisor (CRSS)


The new Recovery Specialist curriculum is for individuals who are seeking the Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS), Certified Family Recovery Specialist (CFRS) or the Certified Recovery Specialist Supervisor (CRSS) credentials.

The curriculum for this in-person course is designed by the PCB to meet the education requirements for certification in this specialty area in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania only. The Villanova instructors teaching in the program are approved trainers through the PCB.

To complete the course, students must attend all 10 class meetings in person.

What is the Role of a Recovery Specialist?

According to the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), the Recovery Specialist is an individual with personal, lived experience of their own recovery. By offering insight into the recovery process, Recovery Specialists are able to share a unique perspective with those with similar life experiences. Recovery Specialists accept and agree that their experience as a person in recovery from a substance use disorder will be known by their colleagues, individuals served, and others with whom they may share that they have achieved this credential.

The Recovery Specialist is a role model, mentor, advocate, and motivator. Recovery Specialists advocate for the individual, the recovery system, recovery-oriented services and assist to identify and reduce stigma. They advocate to eliminate barriers, increase natural supports and build community. Services provided by the Recovery Specialist substantially improve an individual’s and family’s ability to sustain recovery and wellness. 


Fall 2024

Sept 14 - Nov 23 | Saturdays, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

In-Person Meeting Dates:

9/14, 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16


Course cost: $1,200

Apply by August 1, 2024 for an Early Bird discount rate of $900!


Villanova Application Requirements

  • Complete Application
  • $50 Application Fee
  • In order to qualify to participate in the PA Certification Board classes, you will need to answer YES to the following statements:
    • I am comfortable with computers and technology and have reliable access a computer with high speed internet.
    • Do you have a personal, lived substance use history and recovery experience? Or you are a family member of someone with a substance use disorder?
    • If you were in recovery, do you currently have a minimum of 18 months, in a continuous manner, of recovery experience?
    • Are you able to attend the entirety of the in-person requirement (66 hours)?
    • Are you able to complete the online homework (12 hours)?
  • After students are registered and have paid their deposit, all students are required to create an account with the PA Certification Board (PCB).

The classes that you attend at Villanova University will provide you with the necessary hours of education to sit for the CRS, CFRS and CRSS exams.

Total Program Tuition: $1,200.00

Course Materials: No additional charge

Additional parking fees apply.

For financial information, including cancellation policies, billing and payments, visit the College's Tuition and Fees page.

Apply by August 1, 2024 for an Early Bird discount rate of $900!




Mearl Dean Bowman is a Drug Court Coordinator in the Superior Court of New Jersey who has twenty-five years of professional experience in the mental health and addiction counseling field. Previously, he was the Program Coordinator for the Villanova University Certificate Program in Alcohol and Drug Counseling. He also provides clinical consulting, supervision, and training for drug, alcohol and gambling treatment services.


William P. Hample currently serves as a Senior Probation Office in the Mental Health Unit for the State of New Jersey. He supervises probationers with a variety of mental health issue, including co-occurring diagnoses. He provides access to evaluations, treatment, and support networks utilizing outpatient and residential services. He also provides training to the New Jersey Division of Probation, specifically in the area of substance abuse and dependency.


Don Altemus has 15 years of experience in training, coaching, motivational interviewing, and advocacy in support of people in recovery. He has presented on an international level to advance concepts in peer support, community inclusion, and self-direction. Don earned a BS in Behavioral & Addictions Counseling from Drexel University, and an MS in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. Don is a QPR Suicide Prevention instructor and Crisis Intervention Trainer for police forces and is a member of the Chester County Disaster Crisis Outreach and Referral Team.



College of Professional Studies

800 E. Lancaster Avenue
Vasey Hall, Room 103
Villanova, PA 19085

Maps & Directions to Campus

Important Notices for Distance Education Students

The following includes important information for students participating in online courses, online programs and/or on-ground clinicals or practicums while physically located outside of Pennsylvania.

Read the Notices for Distance Education Students


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Enhance your resume.

Professional education classes enable you to add new skills, expertise, or credentials to your resume and make you even more valuable to your employer.

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Expand your professional network.

Communicating and building relationships with your classmates and instructors can open new doors in your career.

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Learn from industry experts.

All programs are taught by instructors who have worked or who are currently working in the field, and who are able to share practical applications and real world examples of topics in the course.