Skip to main content
Site Logo

Hello, you are using an old browser that's unsafe and no longer supported. Please consider updating your browser to a newer version, or downloading a modern browser.

Your path to supporting others

Becoming a Certified Peer Specialist

CPS Certification Purpose & Goals

The Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), which is the credentialing board for Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) in the State of Pennsylvania, defines the CPS certification as: “The Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is credential for individuals with personal, lived experience in their own recovery.” Peer support services are an important component in recovery-oriented systems of care.

Read More +
Close Content Wrap

“By offering insight into the recovery process based on their own experience, peer specialists are able to provide a unique perspective to those with similar experiences. As a CPS, an individual accepts and agrees that their experience as a person in recovery will be known by their colleagues, persons served, and others with whom they may share that they have achieved this credential. The role of the CPS reflects a collaborative and strength-based approach. Services provided by the CPS are a critical component of the continuum of care services that will substantially improve an individual’s ability to sustain recovery and wellness. The Certified Peer Specialist credential is for persons with serious mental health or co-occurring (mental health & substance use disorder) lived experience.”

CPS as Part of Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) Team

For teams that employ the recommended CPS, they are an integral part of the team. The CPS can bring a level of understanding and bridge the gap between the professional members of the team and the individuals served.

Read More +
Close Content Wrap

Roles of the CPS can include but are not limited to:

  • Mentoring, consultation, and modeling of recovery attitudes, values and beliefs to aid in promotion of recovery, resilience, self-advocacy, and self-direction
  • Promotes formal and informal wellness management strategies (e.g.: Wellness Recovery Action Plan – WRAP)
  • Assists in development of Psychiatric Advanced Directives
  • Aids in the promotion of a culture in which the served individual’s preferences and points of view are recognized, understood, respected, and integrated into treatment.
  • Is a resource or avenue to resources for the individual regarding all recovery-oriented needs

CPS Initial Certification Steps

CPS applicants for our PA FEP centers must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Live or work in the state of Pennsylvania
  • Be a person with lived mental health experience

Initial Certification Quick Reference Check-List


Read More +
Close Content Wrap

Applicant must be living as a recovered person in the past 3 years (defined by one or both of the following)

  • Maintained 12 months of successful work experience (paid, unpaid and volunteer work experience considered)
  • Earned a minimum of twenty-four (24) credit hours at a college or post-secondary education institution

Applicants must completion the seventy-five (75) hour approved peer specialist certification training

Current approved training providers:

Submit a completed application including the following signed pages

  • Signed and dated Code of Ethics
  • Signed, dated, and notarized Release of Information

Submit the application fee of $150 with the application

  • Acceptable forms of payment include: – Check – Money Order – Visa – Master Card – Discover – American Express
  • If payment is made by employer, payment must include applicant’s name to avoid delay in processing
  • Applications canceled prior to examination will result in a 50% refund of the application fee
  • Applicants are encouraged to review payment coverage options with potential employers

Pass the CPS exam

  • Applicant will receive approval and instruction on how to schedule examination AFTER application is reviewed and approved
    • Once examination is passed, the applicant is certified and will receive the certification certificate in the mail
  • Examination can be taken online via the PA Certification Board o Can take examination multiple times if needed
  • Additional fees incurred for canceled or changed exam dates


Resources for becoming a CPS

Video about being a Certified Peer Specialist

Check out this video of Bethany Conrad. She is a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) at On My Way, one of our PA FEP programs.


Opportunities and Events

Visit our online, dynamic training and education calendar for upcoming CPS training opportunities!

Education & Training Calendar