Peer support is a process through which people who share common experiences or face similar challenges come together as equals to give and receive help based on the knowledge that comes through shared experience.[1]

The National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) is an advanced credential focused on the knowledge and skills peer specialists need when supporting others to achieve and maintain recovery from a mental health condition or other behavioral health challenge.

Peer specialists have the lived experience that is critical to providing this support. Though no two people walk the same pathway to recovery, comparable lived experience creates a foundation of trust and compatibility between peer specialists and the individuals they assist. While the NCPS credential does not define or measure this lived experience, it does require specific competencies that enable the peer specialist to advocate for, mentor, and support recovery in an ethical and professional manner.

Most NCPS applicants have already been credentialed by their state, and the NCPS credential does not replace such state-level credentials. Instead, the NCPS credential signifies that an individual with significant work experience as a peer specialist, who currently provides peer services, seeks to demonstrate their advanced competency in the field.

Disclaimer: The NCPS is not a clinical credential; the scope of practice does not entitle individuals to engage in or establish an independent peer specialist practice. Further, each state has different requirements for the delivery of peer services and, in some instances, the NCPS may not be eligible for employment purposes, however, it remains an indicator of advanced competency.

[1] Riessman, F. (1989). Restructuring help: A human services paradigm for the 1990’s. New York, NY: National Self-help Clearinghouse.


The NCPS performance domains are:

  • Foundations of Peer Support
  • Foundations of Health Care Systems
  • Mentoring, Shared Learning, and Relationship Building
  • Activation and Self-Management
  • Advocacy
  • Professional and Ethical Responsibilities

The FCB, through its wholly owned subsidiary, the National Certification Board for Behavioral Health Professionals (NCBBHP), is pleased to offer the National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential.

The FCB is in the process of transitioning all NCPS application activities from the FCB to the NCBBHP website. The following information mirrors that on the national site. Existing applicants and certified professionals may apply for the NCPS through their FCB online account. New applicants are encouraged to apply from the national website at www.behavioralhealthprofessional.com.


NCPS Certification Requirements

Qualified applicants must:

  1. Currently hold a state-level peer support specialist credential that required a minimum of 40 hours of training or have previously completed an equivalent 40-hour training program,
  2. Have 2,000 hours of peer support specialist work experience in the five (5) years prior to application for certification, and
  3. Obtain three (3) professional letters of recommendation.

Applicants who can provide documentation of these qualifications will be approved to sit for the NCPS exam, and will be awarded the NCPS credential after earning a passing score on the exam.


Fees

Fee TypeFee AmountNotes
Application Fee$150One-time fee
If NCPS credential is not earned within 12 months of application, a 12-month extension can be obtained with an extension fee.
Exam Fee$150Fee is due with each exam attempt.
Proctoring Fee$35Fee is due with each exam attempt.
Biennial Renewal Fee$200Fee is due every 24 months, on or before the NCPS expiration date.
Application Extension Fee$150Fee is assessed for each 12-month application extension request.

NCPS Application Forms

The NCPS application forms are hosted on the national website at www.behavioralhealthprofessional.com; we have temporarily provided them below for your convenience.

You will complete the NCPS Training Verification Form. You will provide the NCPS Work Experience Verification Form and the NCPS Recommendation for Certification Form to the appropriate people to complete and submit directly to the Board on your behalf.


NCPS How to Apply

  1. If you have an existing FCB account, you can apply for the NCPS from your online account. Other applicants may create an electronic application for certification from the NCBBHP website at www.behavioralhealthprofessional.com
  2. Provide mandatory forms to eligible people to complete and submit to NCBBHP on your behalf.
  3. Complete all required fields of information.
  4. Upload required documents.
  5. Pay the certification fee.

NCPS Exam Information

The NCPS exam is a 125 item, multiple choice exam of peer specialist knowledge and skills. The exam is administered using remote proctoring protocols.  Additional information will be provided to applicants who are approved to sit for the NCPS exam.