MHRT/Community Guidelines


1992: MHRT Established

The Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician (MHRT) Certification was first established in 1992 so that individuals in DHHS-funded positions providing community support services to adults with mental illness would have the training they needed to provide quality services.  When the certification was first established, there were four different MHRT Certifications: I, II, III, and IV.

2001-2002: MHRT/C Established; Process Streamlined

In 2001-2002, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (DHHS, SAMHS) worked with a variety of stakeholders, in partnership with the Muskie School’s Center for Learning (CFL), to re-evaluate the relevance of MHRT requirements and consider ways to streamline the certification process. CFL and SAMHS conducted research regarding knowledge competencies needed to work in the field of adult community mental health and developed a draft list of MHRT competencies based on that research. CFL then surveyed stakeholders to determine the importance of these competencies and whether they were necessary at the time of hire or one year later.  The survey results were used to develop the final list of competencies required for the Provisional and Full MHRT/Community (MHRT/C) Certification.

At that time, SAMHS and CFL also took steps to streamline the MHRT Certification process as follows:

  • The MHRT IV was eliminated because it was comparable to a Licensed Mental Health Professional and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.
  • The MHRT II and III were changed to MHRT/Community because the scope of work for both II and III was the same.
  • A review process was established so that university and college degree programs could be compared to the MHRT/Community competencies and “pre-approved” for Provisional or Full MHRT/C Certification.


The revised Procedural Guidelines for MHRT/C Certification became effective August 1, 2002. In order to allow provider agencies and individuals pursuing MHRT/Community Certification to accommodate these changes, a two-year transition period was established during which applicants could meet requirements outlined in either the 1999 or the 2002 Guidelines.  That transition period ended on August 1, 2004.

2004: Provisional MHRT/C Level A Established

In 2004, a group of community mental health providers reported continued difficulties with recruitment and retention of qualified staff.  In an effort to ease recruitment difficulties, while still assuring qualified staff, the SAMHS decided to add another level to the Provisional MHRT/C certificate.  This new level (Provisional MHRT/C, Level A) enables providers to recruit and hire individuals who have earned Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degrees in fields that are related to human services, but may not meet the five specific requirements for Provisional MHRT/C Certification. This eliminates the need for transcript review prior to hiring. (A listing of academic programs accepted for Provisional MHRT/C, Level A Certification is included in Appendix C of these Procedural Guidelines).  As a result of the addition of this new level of certification, Provisional MHRT/C Certification was renamed Provisional MHRT/C, Level B Certification.  The requirements for Provisional MHRT/C, Level B Certification were not changed.

Since 2002, CFL has worked with a significant number of Maine colleges and universities interested in creating or modifying programs to meet MHRT/C requirements.  Many more pre-approved courses and programs have been added to the expanding list.  For the most up-to-date list of academic programs pre-approved for Provisional Level B or Full MHRT/C, go to Appendix B and Appendix C of these Guidelines.


In 2005, in response to concern that the MHRT/C requirements did not adequately address the training needs for crisis staff, the Maine Crisis Network (MCN) developed its own 13-module Crisis Training Curriculum (CTC).  After review and analysis, the SAMHS approved a change in requirements for Crisis Intervention Services to adults.

2007: MHRT/Crisis Service Provider Established

On April 1, 2007, a new certification for crisis workers based on the CTC, took effect.  The MHRT/Crisis Services Provider (MHRT/CSP) certificate is required for all Crisis Intervention workers in adult mental health (and Crisis Resolution Services in children’s mental health) in Maine.  This requirement replaced the MHRT/C requirement for Crisis Intervention workers.   

CFL compared the CTC to the MHRT/C competencies to determine reciprocity.  Based on that analysis, individuals with current MHRT/C Certification have the option of testing out of the seven non-core modules of the CTC. Those who earned the MHRT/CSP before April 1, 2014 may earn the MHRT/C by completing the Case Management and Vocational Aspects of Disability requirements.

NOTE: Effective April 1, 2014, individuals with MHRT/CSP certification no longer qualify for the Provisional MHRT/C, Level B certificate due to some changes in the Crisis Training Curriculum.  However, the requirements remain the same for those with Full MHRT/C certification who wish to earn the MHRT/CSP certificate.

Change to Take Place 1/1/2009: MHRT/C Requirement Change to take place January 1, 2009:  Vocational Aspects of Disability

The National Consensus Statement on Mental Health Recovery defines recovery as “…a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.”  While the process of recovery is an individualized one, research has shown that employment can be a crucial component of mental health recovery for many people.   

Community support workers can play an important role in engaging consumers in discussions about work and in supporting consumers in pursuing the resources and services needed to meet their vocational goals. To better prepare community support workers to provide this support, starting January 1, 2009, all individuals seeking Full MHRT/C Certification must complete the Vocational Aspects of Disability requirement. (Prior to that date, individuals can choose either Vocational Aspects of Disability or Group Process. As of January 1, 2009, the Group Process course will no longer be accepted. )

In consultation with community mental health providers, academic representatives, and consumers, the SAMHS identified six core Vocational Aspects of Disability competencies needed by an MHRT/C to support consumers in pursuing vocational goals.  These new competencies are listed on pages 5-9 of these Procedural Guidelines (See Section IV.)