District of Columbia

Is there a state-endorsed certification process?
Does the state differentiate between Mental Health Peer Support Specialists and Substance Use Peer Support Specialists?
What are the educational requirements to apply for a peer specialist training program?
High school diploma or GED.
What are the personal requirements to apply for a peer specialist training program?
Must be 18 years or older. Must be DC Resident.
What are the professional requirements needed to apply for a peer specialist training program?
The competitive application is required and ranked on a points basis. Applications are ranked for previous peer-related training and job experience, and points are then awarded for excellence of answers and for essay questions.
What are the training requirements to become a Certified Peer Specialist?
Training is half-days for six weeks.
What is the average cost for CPS training?
There is no fee. Individuals receive a $300 stipend to attend.
Who is responsible for paying for training? (List all)
No fee
Other potential funding sources.
Is there a state-wide certification test?
Yes. Following completion of the field practicum requirements, a certification examination must be passed.
What are the personal/professional requirements for certification, if they differ from attending the training?
After training, an 80-hour field practicum must be completed with an agency. This is arranged through the DC Department of Consumer and Family Affairs.
Is a background check required? If so, is a criminal record a disqualification for certification?
A background check is not required for CPS. A background check is required for Family Peer Supporters and Youth Peer Supporters.
What is the cost of the certification test?
Does the certification test need to be taken regularly to maintain certification?
Aside from any fees for the training or state-wide certification test, are there other certification fees/costs?
Is there a statewide certification body?
Please provide as much information about the certification board/body as possible.
Consumer and Family Affairs Administration Department of Behavioral Health 64 New York Avenue NE, 3rd Floor Washington, DC 20002.
Where can information be found for upcoming peer support trainings?
On average, how often are trainings held in your state?
At least three times a year.
Training providers (vendors) and their contact information.
Department of Behavioral Health, Consumer and Family Affairs Administration Adrienne Lightfoot, Consumer and Family Affairs Administration (202) 671-4089 [email protected]
What are the continuing education requirements?
Certified Peer Specialists shall complete at least 20 (twenty) hours of continuing education units within the two year certification period to maintain their certification and be eligible for recertification. The Office of Consumer and Family Affairs (OCFA) publishes an annual list of approved classes, seminars, conferences, workshops and other activities related to mental health and recovery that serve as acceptable CEUs for CPS. Other courses may qualify for CEU credit with prior approval from the OCFA.
Who tracks CEUs?
Certified Peer Specialists shall report attendance at approved classes to the Office of Consumer and Family Affairs. The OCFA maintains records of CEUs for each CPS.
Is there a certification requirement for CPS Supervisors? If yes, provide details of requirements and relevant information.
A qualified practitioner provides clinical and administrative supervision to a Certified Peer Specialist. Qualified practitioners are defined as "psychiatrists, psychologists,independent clinical social workers, advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses, licensed professional counselors, an independent social worker, or addiction counselors."
Additional specializations available for certified peer specialists:
Family or Youth Support Specialist
What are the different acronyms used to distinguish peer supporters and specific peer support specialties?
Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Certified Family Peer Specialist (CFPS) Certified Youth Peer Specialist (CYPS)
Are Certified Peer Specialists services Medicaid reimbursable?
How are peer support services paid for by the state? What specific Medicaid waivers are used, if any?
Some peer support services, such as day programs, trauma-informed services and psychiatric emergency peers, may be paid for through a 1115 Medicaid Waiver which began in January 2020.
Is digital peer support available? Medicaid reimbursable?
Yes, while relatively few providers offered at the beginning of 2020 the availability is growing.
Is there a statewide Peer Specialist organization?
Name of Statewide Peer Specialists Organization*
District of Columbia Peer Support Association
Peer Specialists Organization Website*
Peer Specialists Organization Primary Contact*
Are there conferences held in the state specifically for Peer Supporters?
Are there recognition or award opportunities for peer support specialists or Substance Use Peer Support Specialists?

Additional Info*
If there are recent changes to the certification process due to COVID-19, are the changes permanent, temporary or other?
Yes, in person events and training are temporarily canceled. The January 2020 peer certification class has not completed practicums as of July 2020.

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