Is there a state-endorsed certification process?
Does the state differentiate between Mental Health Peer Support Specialists and Substance Use Peer Support Specialists?
Yes. Certified Peer Specialists (CPS) are directed toward MH care. Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS) are directed towards SUD care.
What are the educational requirements to apply for a peer specialist training program?
High school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED)
What are the personal requirements to apply for a peer specialist training program?
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.
What are the professional requirements needed to apply for a peer specialist training program?
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.
What are the training requirements to become a Certified Peer Specialist?
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.
What is the average cost for CPS training?
Typical costs for completion of the certification program in Pennsylvania range from $1,000-$1,600.
Who is responsible for paying for training? (List all)
Other potential funding sources.
- Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) - County Mental Health and Developmental Services - Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations - PMHCA Glenn Koons Scholarship - Employer Supported
Is there a state-wide certification test?
Yes, it is 50 multiple choice questions and an applicant is given an hour and a half to complete the test. Test must be completed in person.
What are the personal/professional requirements for certification, if they differ from attending the training?

Is a background check required? If so, is a criminal record a disqualification for certification?
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.
What is the cost of the certification test?
Application Fee: $125
Does the certification test need to be taken regularly to maintain certification?
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.
Aside from any fees for the training or state-wide certification test, are there other certification fees/costs?

Is there a statewide certification body?
Pennsylvania Certification Board
Please provide as much information about the certification board/body as possible.
Pennsylvania Certification Board PA Certification Board 298 S. Progress Avenue Harrisburg, PA 17109 Phone: 717.540.4455 Fax: 717.540.4458 [email protected]
Where can information be found for upcoming peer support trainings?
Some information can be found on the PA Peer Support Coalition website, however the individual training vendors will have more.
Training providers (vendors) and their contact information.
What are the continuing education requirements?
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. 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.
Who tracks CEUs?
"There is no specific certificate, although there is required training. To become an approved Certified Peer Specialist Supervisor for Medicaid billing, there are the following requirements: EITHER A bachelor’s degree; and two years of mental health di
Is there a certification requirement for CPS Supervisors? If yes, provide details of requirements and relevant information.
Certified Older Adult Peer Specialists CPS in Crisis Services Training Transition Age Youth CPS Training LGBTQ+ CPS Training Forensic Peer Support Training
Additional specializations available for certified peer specialists:
Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) Certified Family Recovery Specialist (CFRS) Certified Older Adult Peer Specialist (COAPS)
What are the different acronyms used to distinguish peer supporters and specific peer support specialties?
Are Certified Peer Specialists services Medicaid reimbursable?
The State Plan Amendment falls under the 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver.
How are peer support services paid for by the state? What specific Medicaid waivers are used, if any?
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.
Is digital peer support available? Medicaid reimbursable?
Is there a statewide Peer Specialist organization?
Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition
Name of Statewide Peer Specialists Organization*
Peer Specialists Organization Website*
Peer Specialists Organization Primary Contact*
[email protected] 717-719-0746 or 717-719-0739
Other relevant/helpful contacts:*

Are there conferences held in the state specifically for Peer Supporters?
Yes, the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition has run an annual state-wide conference since 2018.
Are there recognition or award opportunities for peer support specialists or Substance Use Peer Support Specialists?
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.
Additional Info*
View a webinar titled, "Pennsylvania Peer Supported Advance Directives" through the following link:
If there are recent changes to the certification process due to COVID-19, are the changes permanent, temporary or other?

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