Peer support specialists are in high demand across the nation. In an effort to meet this growing demand, Mental Health America (MHA), in collaboration with the Florida Certification Board, created the first national, advanced peer specialist certification.

Created and developed by peers, the NCPS credential is an advanced credential that recognizes peers who have extensive experience and a large knowledge base that sets them apart.

Becoming a NCPS demonstrates that an individual is at the top of their field. It requires a higher level of skills, knowledge and experience than any other certification. The goal of the NCPS credential is to support peers in demonstrating their expertise, leading to better wages, more opportunities in public and private behavioral health, and career ladders.

True to the spirit of peer support, the National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential does not mean a peer is a clinician. The NCPS credential emphasizes the principles, guidelines, and core values of peer support. It is not designed to replace current peer trainings or certifications but to build upon and enhance existing peer programs and to expand peer support into new areas. For the credential, this means adding additional competencies that ensure peers are able to meet the demands of a changing workforce with increasing opportunities.


Earning the NCPS credential does not guarantee job opportunities or wage increases. We are currently working to achieve reciprocity across states. Always make sure you check the requirements for peers in your current state and any state you are considering.


Certification Requirements

  • 3,000 hours of supervised work and/or volunteer experience providing peer-to-peer recovery support services.
  • Current state certification with a minimum training requirement of 40 hours OR hold a certificate of completion of a MHA approved training program. Click here for a list of approved trainings for the NCPS credential.
  • One professional letter of recommendation for certification.
  • One supervisory letter of recommendation for certification.
  • Attest to lived experience.
  • Pass the NCPS examination.
  • Agree to be bound by NCPS Code of Ethics.

Maintenance Requirements

  • Complete 20 hours of Continuing Education credits (CEs) every 2 years.
  • Practice according to NCPS Code of Ethics.

Costs

  • Application fee: $225
  • Examination fee: $200
  • Renewal fee: $200 biennially

Exam

  • 125-question exam
  • 3-hour test time frame.
  • Must be taken at approved testing locations or via approved virtual testing.

How to Apply

Before beginning the application process for the NCPS credential, please download and carefully review the current version of the NCPS Credential Standards and Requirements Table.

  1. If you don’t already have one, create an online account. Watch the “How To” for assistance creating your account.
  2. Create an electronic application for certification (from your online account).
    • Complete all required fields of information.
    • Upload required documents.
    • Pay the certification fee.
  3. Provide mandatory forms to eligible people to complete and submit to FCB on your behalf.
  4. Register for the exam and pay the associated fees.
  5. Pass the exam.

NCPS Documents

You must include the following completed forms as part of your NCPS credential application:


Test Preparation

There is no study guide for the NCPS exam. We have created the NCPS Training and Test Self-Assessment that includes a list of each competency covered on the examination, along with test taking tips, to help guide your exam preparation.


Testing Locations

The following locations are available for NCPS applicants. These locations are for NCPS applicants only.

We are currently offering virtual testing in coordination with Examity, a national online proctoring service. Virtual testing allows the applicant to test in the comfort of their own home or office without the need to travel to a testing location. Virtual testing is only available for the NCPS credential.

Please do not contact or travel to a testing location without having received prior confirmation from the FCB. If you are located in Florida, you have the option of taking the test virtually, with a NCPS test vendor, or one of the FCB standard vendors.


For additional information from the Mental Health America website, please click here to access MHA’s Center for Peer Support page.