Peer Specialist (RPC) in Arlington, VA at Volunteers of America Chesapeake and Carolinas, Inc.

Date Posted: 9/20/2020

Career Snapshot

Career Description

The Peer Specialist (PS) reports to the Clinical Manager and the PS will serve as a recovery agent for participants in the Residential Program Center (RPC) Residential Treatment and Recovery Services-as defined by the ASAM Level III; Treatment Criteria for Addictive, Substance-Related and Co-Occurring Conditions. The PS will provide and advocate for effective recovery based services to aid in creating a stable environment for individuals with a substance abuse disorder or a dual diagnosis (substance abuse disorder and mental health). The focus is improving daily living skills and improving access to programming.  The PS brings a unique asset to the treatment team as the PS has firsthand and or learned experience with recovery that allows the PS to fully empathize and relate to the life experiences of program participant and offers hope and support in overcoming obstacles. Have knowledge of the recovery process, signs and symptoms of substance abuse and mental health issues, and community resources that support independent living.  

•    Manage a caseload of approximately 5-15 adults at any given time; in collaboration with the Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Counselor
•    Responsible for linking clients as they transition through the levels of care, ensuring that the individual treatment and recovery plan is formulated and implemented
•    Work one-on-one with each participant to determine strengths and needs to develop and meet self-directed recovery goals
•    Utilize tools such as Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) to help participants create their own individualized recovery plan.
•    Assist participants in determining the steps he/she needs to take in order to achieve his/her goals of self-directed recovery and housing stability.
•    Assist client in identifying and linking to self-help groups, community groups, faith based community groups to foster participant’s community involvement
•    Work closely with SUD Counselor and Community Case Manager to collaborate continuity of care and place referrals to the community as needed. 
•    Document and report concerns to Clinical Specialist in a timely manner.
•    Assist participants with empowerment skills to improve coping techniques and self-help strategies 
•    Consult with direct supervisor or supervisor on duty regarding participant’s personal needs, behavior and service planning.
•    Follow appropriate critical incident protocol and accompanying documentation
•    Maintain a comprehensive and accurate written record of events that occur during one on one interventions
•    As clinically appropriate, share their own recovery story and how they tackled obstacles or challenges in their recovery journey to help normalize participant experience.
•    Maintain healthy boundaries with program participants
•    Perform other duties as assigned.


•    Provides empathy and support to engage and encourage vulnerable clients 
•    Supports the clients access to recovery support services
•    In collaboration with the SUD Counselor support development and implementation of a long-term recovery plan including, self-advocacy, independence, sustainable housing and others resources to support the client’s ability to maintain recovery


•    High School Diploma and at least two years in recovery from a substance use or a combination of substance use and mental health disorder Or a combination there of work-related experience; Or Associate’s degree with two years of work experience Or Bachelor’s degree in Counseling, Social Work, Psychology or other Behavioral Health Sciences, and at least one year of experience.
•    Peer Specialist certification is required but, if not available at the time of hire must be acquired within 90 days of employment with the agency. 
•    Ability to prepare written reports; possess data entry skills, monitor and direct program activities; and ensure the safety and security of program operations.  Also, develop effective working relationships with other staff, community partners, and individuals served at the program.  Strong organization skills, problem-solving skills and judgment are desired.  
•    Excellent Written, Verbal and Computer Skills with Microsoft Outlook 
•    Bilingual in Spanish, Farsi, Amharic and Korean is a plus. 


The physical requirements described below are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential duties of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential duties. 
•    The ability to safely operate a motor vehicle to transport oneself, consumers, and program supplies as necessary. 
•    The physical ability to travel to assigned locations, stand, stoop, bend, reach, pull, push, lift, grasp, climb, talk, see, hear and perform basic and light home maintenance activities, and operate office equipment.
•    Operating office equipment requiring continuous or repetitive hand/arm movements. 
•    The ability to remain in a sitting position for extended periods of time


Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.