Frequently Asked Questions | PRA Certification Exams

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) and Child and Family Resiliency Practitioner (CFRP) exams.

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PRA Certification Exams | Frequently Asked Questions:

FAQ: The Exam Application

1. 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 discarded or returned.

2. What are the application fees for a PRA Certification Exam?
Member: $395; Non-Member: $515
Member Retake: $200; Non-Member Retake: $320 (note that these prices are for each additional attempt)

NOTE: Rates are subject to change without notice.

3. What types of payments are accepted?
The application site accepts all major credit cards.

4. What happens if I do not submit my payment with my application?
Your application will not be processed until payment has been submitted.

5. If I am denied will I receive a refund?
No. All fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable.  If your application is returned for edits, you will be able to resubmit without an additional fee.

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

7. 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?
Because payment is collected when the application is completed and submitted for review, no transfer or refund is permitted. All fees are final.

8. 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 by email.

9. How will I know if my application has been received?
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.  Email notifications will be sent once the application has been reviewed.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. Do all applicants have to agree to the PRA Code of Ethics?
Yes. Psychiatric rehabilitation practitioners who seek acceptance into the CFRP certification program must agree to uphold the PRA Code of Ethics (the "Code"). An applicant must read the Code 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. I am currently on probation (or parole), can I become a CPRP/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.

18. 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.

19. 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 show to the proctor (via your webcam) at the beginning of your scheduled attempt. 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 ACCESS and will forfeit your examination fees. Please note that middle names DO NOT appear on the ATT.

FAQ: Formal Education

1. 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. 

3. 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 currently enrolled in a Masters degree program, then you would provide a transcript of your undergraduate studies).

4. 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

1. How do I know if I need to submit training/contact hours?
The only individuals who do not need to submit training hours are those who (1) have a 4-year degree with a major or minor in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and (2) are seeking dual certification and are already certified as a CPRP or CFRP. All others, including those with degrees in other mental health fields, will need to submit training hours.  Please refer to the Exam Eligibility page for more details.

2. 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.

3. How and where can I obtain contact hours?
The Certification Commission currently accepts all training provided by the Academy of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Recovery or other 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.

4. Is course work required in all domains of the Exam Blueprint?
Course work must fall within at least one of the domains (7 for CPRP, 8 for CFRP); PRA does not require your 45 contact 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.

5. 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.

6. 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..

7. 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

8. 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 contact PRA 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

Please note that you may now sit for the exam before meeting work experience requirements. Certificates will be issued once all requirements are completed.

1. 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.

2. 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 position must have had a job description; been regularly scheduled; been supervised by a psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner (someone familiar with psychiatric rehabilitation but not necessarily certified) and been 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. How do I verify my employment?
During the application process you will be asked to document your work experience, and have your supervisor(s) (or the appropriate person at the agency responsible for employment verification) complete and sign a verification form, which you will scan and upload into your application. NO PAPER FORMS WILL BE REVIEWED.

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

1. How many questions are on the exams?
PRA certification exams consist of 125 (CFRP) to 150 (CPRP) multiple-choice items (questions). Each item has only one correct answer.

2. 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.

3. When will I learn my exam results?
You will receive your pass/fail result immediately at the end of your exam. 

4. What happens if I don't pass the exam?
Candidates who fail the exam have 12 months from the date of their application approval to pass the exam without submitting a new application. The first attempt is included in the exam application fee, and additional attempts require submission of a retake fee ($200 member/$320 nonmember).  A candidate may retake the exam up to three times during their eligibility period. A 30-day waiting period is required between attempts.  After the 12-month eligibility period has expired, candidates that have not passed the exam must submit a new application and full application fee.

5. 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. Your exam will be hand-scored for a fee of $250.

6. What happens if I pass the exam?
Candidates who have passed a PRA exam will receive a formal certificate via email. Once you have earned a PRA certification, you are responsible for maintaining certification status through recertification every three years.

FAQ: Recertification - Maintaining a PRA Credential

1. 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.

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

3. When am I due to recertify?
All certifications expire on December 31st of the third year of certification.  Candidates may recertify anytime during the third year from January 1 – December 31st.  The cost of varies depending on when you choose to recertify. 

4. How much does it cost to recertify?

Member Status Early (Jan-Mar)Regular (Apr-Sept)Late (Oct-Dec)
PRA Member$129$145$195
PRA Non-Member$249$265$315



5. 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.

6. How do I apply for recertification?
Applicants for  recertification must complete and submit the online Recertification Application by going to the PRA store and searching for "recert."

Alternatively, recertification candidates may request recertification by re-examination. Thus, the application recertifies by successfully passing the certification examination (additional fees apply). Please contact us for more details.

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

What about the Children's Certificate?

PRA no longer recognizes the Children's Certificate in Psychiatric Rehabilitation - the Child and Family Resiliency Pracitioner (CFRP) credential is now the only designation recognized by PRA in order for CBRS Practitioners to provide services to children.  Participants in the Children's Certificate course must now pursue CFRP certification as a new applicant.