Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) are directed toward MH care.
Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS) are directed towards SUD care.
High school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED)
You must either live or work in Pennsylvania at time of application.
You must be a person with lived experience.
You must be 18 years of age or older.
Within the last three (3) years, have either maintained at least 12 months of successful work or earned at least 24 credit hours at a college or post-secondary education institution. (Official transcripts sent directly from the education institution to Pennsylvania Certification Board) are required to verify credit hours.
75 hours of approved peer specialist training. All trainings include education on active listening skills, cultural competency, appropriate self-disclosure, sharing personal recovery stories, goal setting and other essential peer support practices.
- Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)
- County Mental Health and Developmental Services
- Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations
- PMHCA Glenn Koons Scholarship
- Employer Supported
Most convictions will NOT impact your ability to obtain the CPS. However, some employers are mandated by law to prohibit employment to people whose background check contains certain types of offenses.
No, however recertification is required every 2 years at a fee of $50 for Pennsylvania-only certification or $200 for re-certification recognized by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium.
Pennsylvania Certification Board
Some information can be found on the PA Peer Support Coalition website, however the individual training vendors will have more.
36 hours of continuing education every two years.
24 of those hours must be specific to peer support and/or recovery practices;
3 hours in ethics;
the remaining 9 hours are chosen by the CPS.
The individual is expected to retain documentation. This documentation of continuing education is only required for recertification if a certified professional is randomly selected for review, or audit of their education hours.
The Certification Board conducts audits that occur twice per year (every January and July). Those selected for audit must submit documentation of the appropriate number of hours of education/training that they completed in the prior two-year period. Since the audit process is random, individuals may be selected for audit multiple times.
Certified Older Adult Peer Specialists
CPS in Crisis Services Training
Transition Age Youth CPS Training
LGBTQ+ CPS Training
Forensic Peer Support Training
Certified Peer Specialist (CPS)
Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS)
Certified Family Recovery Specialist (CFRS)
Certified Older Adult Peer Specialist (COAPS)
The State Plan Amendment falls under the 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver.
Pennsylvania considers that peer support services are primarily delivered face to face. Live voice telephone conversations are limited to 25% of the total services provided per recipient per calendar year. Text messages and social media correspondence are not compensable.
Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition
Yes, the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition has run an annual state-wide conference since 2018.
The Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association offers one scholarship, the "Glenn Koons CPS Scholarship" specifically for peer support education, and two additional advocacy scholarships which CPS may qualify for.