Demonstrate reading and writing comprehension.
Over 18 years of age.
Self-identify as a person with lived experience with mental health or substance use services, or be a parent or legal guardian of a child (under the age of 18) with lived experience with mental health or substance use services.
If applicable, be in mental health or substance use disorder recovery for at least one year.
Demonstrate qualities of leadership.
Be willing to share your personal story of recovery.
Complete online prerequisite training (between 10-12 hours).
Successfully complete the online pre-requisite course.
Apply and be accepted as a possible training applicant.
Successfully complete an Health Care Authority (HCA)-approved in-person training.
Pass the written and oral state exam.
HCA-approved Certified Peer Counselor trainings, standard behavioral health and youth and family are 5 days long (36-40 hours).
Trainings may be sponsored either by the State of Washington or a Managed Care Organization (MCO) or BH-ASO. All known training dates and locations are listed on the website. Trainings sponsored by agencies other than DBHR may limit trainings to participants in their region or other specific criteria
After having successfully passed the exam, one is considered “Qualified to be a Certified Peer Counselor.” To be officially considered a Certified Peer Counselor requires registering with the Washington State Department of Health as an Agency Affiliated Counselor. This requires one to be employed by a community mental health agency.
There is no background check specifically required for certification in terms of the application, however prior convictions may be a barrier to gaining an agency affiliated counselor license which is required to be 'officially considered a Certified Peer Counselor'.
Peer Support Program
HCA Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery
Fax: (360) 725-1385
Mailing Address: PO Box 42730, Olympia WA 98504
The peer must be invited by HCA-contracted trainers to participate a training. Participants must be preapproved to attend a training. Invitations are sent out via email 4-5 weeks in advance.
Currently (2020) in flux due to the COVID19 pandemic and budgetary concerns, according to the HCA website.
There are currently three CPC trainings available:
1. Standard training;
2. Family and Youth training; and
3. Bridge training. This training is for CCAR certified recovery coaches who meet the other HCA eligibility requirements.
All trainings result in the same certification.
Certified peer counselor - CPC
Youth and family certified peer counselors - sometimes called ""Youth Partners"", ""Parent Partners"" or ""Family Partners""
(Youth are between 12-18 or 13-25 years of age)
Peer support is covered under a 1915 (c) Waiver called "WA Individual and Family Services (1186.R01.00)".
Peer Workforce Alliance holds a Peer Pathways Conference annually.
Yes, there is a scholarship for costs associated with attending the peer training. The CLP Certified Peer Support Specialist Scholarship Fund can be applied for at: https://www.chadslegacy.org/support-programs