Certified Peer Specialist Training (CPS) - PA

The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery is an approved CPS training vendor by the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB).

The Copeland Center has been a leader in peer recovery education for over 20 years. We bring the most engaging, skilled, and experienced trainers to your agency or organization for high quality and experiential training.

Join experienced Copeland Center trainers for the Certified Peer Specialist Training that prepares participants to sit for the PA Certification Board Exam and to enter the workforce as a certified peer support specialist.

This 10-day course utilizes experiential learning methods so you will be learning through practicing, sharing, reflecting. This hands-on approach is the most effective way to bring the philosophy and research of peer support into practical methods that can be used for a successful career. We are not only learning about practices and applications for future roles and relationships as certified peer specialist, we are also building and learning from the very peer relationships present in this course.

Peer support has been demonstrated through research and practical application to be highly effective. Research has proven that peer support can increase individuals’ self-esteem, sense of hope, and practical coping skills and improve life outcomes in many domains (Cook, 2011). Peer support has also proven to be a best practice for engaging populations who are resistant to traditional mental health services (Chinman, et. al., 2014). Peers are now playing an integral role as professional healthcare providers across the United States. Training and certification programs in states and localities across the nation, including in Pennsylvania, are preparing Peer Specialists to assist individuals in skills building, goal setting, problem solving, and in helping peers build their own self-directed recovery tools (Chapman, Bash, & Chan, 2015). Studies have demonstrated that peer support services are generally cost effective and often save costs (American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, 2014). 


Certified Peer Specialist Qualifications

All participants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have received or are receiving mental health services for serious mental illness
  • Have a GED or High School Diploma
  • Within the last three (3) years, have either maintained at least 12 months of successful work or volunteer experience, or earned at least 24 credit hours at a college or post-secondary educational institution.

These are requirements of PA Certification Board (PCB)

Certified Peer Specialist Training Classes:

  • The course runs 10 days – 5 days one week with a break for the weekend and 5 days in the next week. Classes usually run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. Participants must be able to attend all days and sessions of the course in order to get a certificate of completion.
  • The training is designed for between 10 - 20 participants.
  • The Copeland Center offers this training to agencies or organizations for groups of at least 10 participants or as open-enrollment trainings where participants each pay a tuition fee.

Upcoming CPS Training:

July CPS Training- Allentown, PA
Week 1: July 17 - 21
Week 2: July 24 - 28
November CPS Training- York, PA:
Week 1: November 6 - 10
Week 2: November 13 - 17
Registration information coming soon!

For more information about hosting a training at your location, please call Katie Wilson, Director of Operations, 802-451-0145 or email