For Medicaid-reimbursable designations only: Mental Health Peer Specialist, for a person with lived experience in recovery from a mental health condition are distinct from Recovery Support Peer Specialist, for a person with lived experience in recovery from a substance use disorder.
Peer Mentor/Peer Recovery Support Specialist/Re-entry Peer Specialists may have lived experience in recovery from mental health OR chemical dependency.
High school graduation or a GED from an accredited organization
Personally experienced challenges with mental health/substance use/both
Willing to appropriately share recovery story
Able to demonstrate current self-directed recovery, and
Pass criminal history and registry checks
Peer has the time needed to participate in a challenging course of study.
Peer has the ability to travel away from their home for multi-day trainings.
Peer is ready to be involved in a class that requires active participation.
Peer can participate in a full 8-hour training day.
Peer can discuss their own recovery story and experience with others
Peer is able to listen to others’ stories and feel empathy for others’ experiences, even when it parallels painful experiences from peer's past.
Peer can arrange their own transportation needs.
Peer Mentor/Peer Recovery Support Specialist (certification only via Texas Certification Board, does not allow Medicaid billing): 46 education hours specific to the PRS domains below:
Peer Recovery Support Domains:
Advocacy (Minimum 10 education hours required)
Mentoring/Education (Minimum of 10 education hours required)
Recovery Support (Minimum of 10 education hours required)
Ethical Responsibility (Minimum of 16 education hours required)
Mental Health Peer Specialist: at least 40 education hours specific to the MHPS domains through an approved certified MHPS trainer or training entity.
Potential training participants may apply directly to Texas Workforce Solutions Vocational Rehabilitation Services for an assessment of eligibility to determine whether they qualify to have the cost of training covered by TWS. For further information, contact your vocational rehabilitation services office or for TWC Vocational Rehabilitation Inquiries, call: 800-628-5115.
MHPS requires at least once a week supervisions by a Certified Peer Supervisor for the first six months (Initial Certification) and at least once monthly during the 2 year certification.
Yes, a background check is required for MHPS. Crimes which have a direct connection to the duties and responsibilities of a peer specialist or peer specialist supervisor are disqualifications for periods of time categorized according to the seriousness of the offense. For more information see: https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/fids/201805345-1.pdf
Wales Education Services or The Texas Certification Board.
Individual training vendor websites.
Via Hope / viahope.org
4604 South Lamar Blvd., Unit E-102
Austin, Texas 78745
Toll-Free Number: (844) 300-2196
Additional information on the training providers can be found on the websites of the certifying bodies.
A mental health peer specialist must obtain at least 20 hours of training each certification period, of which three hours must be related to the ethical responsibilities of a peer specialist. Renewal training must be relevant to the skills required of, or services provided by, a peer specialist. Renewal training may include classroom training, webinars, online training, and conferences.
Renewal training may be obtained through a certified training entity; training pre-approved by a certification entity; or training approved for continuing education for a mental health or substance use disorder professional, if the training is relevant to the skills required or services provided by a peer specialist.
Someone who is both a peer specialist and a peer specialist supervisor may include the six hours of training required each certification period relating to Peer Specialist Supervisor Certification Renewal Training as part of the 20 hours of continuing education (renewal training).
The continuing education requirements are the same for the Peer Recovery Support Specialist certifications.
Yes, (a) A peer specialist supervisor must:
(1) be at least 18 years of age;
(2) be a:
(A) qualified credentialed counselor (QCC);
(B) licensed practitioner of the healing arts (LPHA);
(C) Qualified Mental Health Professional-Community Services, with a QCC or LPHA supervising the QMHP-CS; or
(D) QPS--Qualified Peer Supervisor, with a QCC or LPHA supervising the QPS;
(3) pass criminal history and registry checks.
A supervisor must successfully complete supervisory training for peer specialist services and the recovery model from a certified training entity before supervising a peer specialist. Supervisor training must include instruction about:
•The distinction between peer support and therapy.
•The role of peer support in building and sustaining recovery goals.
•Advocacy for peer specialists and peer specialist services.
•Job performance review, including strengths-based, timely, and respectful feedback.
•Supervisory skills, such as how to work with a variety of personality types and communication styles.
After completing training, each candidate must successfully complete a knowledge assessment before receiving approval to supervise a peer specialist from a certified training entity. Peer specialist supervisor certification must be renewed every two years, which requires continuing education hours.
Trainings in some specialized areas are available through training vendors (see Via Hope's website) but MHPS do not gain specific specializations through certification.
The Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS) works in peer recovery support within the field of chemical dependency, mental health, and/or co-occurring disorders. This certification is not Medicaid billable, but can potentially be used in another state through International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium reciprocity.
The Mental Health Peer Specialist (MHPS) works in Recovery Support within the field of mental health, and/or co-occurring disorders. This certification is intended for providing peer specialist services through Medicaid and applies only to peer specialist services that are Medicaid reimbursable. This certification is only valid in Texas.
The Recovery Support Peer Specialist (RSPS) works within the field of chemical dependency and/or co-occurring disorders. This certification is intended for providing peer specialist services through Medicaid and applies only to peer specialist services that are Medicaid reimbursable. This certification is only valid in Texas.
Mental Health Peer Specialists complete specified training, requirements, and supervision time. MHPS services are reimbursable by Medicaid. Peer Recovery Support Specialist is a separate certification offered by The Texas Certification Board (private entity), which is NOT reimbursable through Medicaid but is recognized by multiple other states.
The amount, duration, and scope of peer specialist services (provided by an MHPS) available through the Texas Medicaid Program are established according to applicable federal regulations, the Texas state plan for medical assistance under Title XIX of the Social Security Act, state law, and HHSC rules. Information regarding benefits and limitations is available to providers of these services through the Texas Medicaid Provider Procedures Manual.
Digital Peer Support is not Medicaid-Reimbursable.
Re-Entry Peer Specialists is a proprietary stand-alone training and certification program for people with shared lived experience of incarceration AND mental health and/or substance use challenges. Reentry Peer Specialists provide support to other people with criminal justice involvement. This certification is offered at Via Hope and certified by the Texas Certification Board.
Trainings are now being held online.