Peer support specialists are in high demand across the nation. The National Certified Peer Specialist credential was created and developed by peers to recognize those with extensive experience and advanced knowledge that sets them apart.
The NCPS demonstrates that a peer is at the top of their field. It requires a higher level of skills, knowledge, and experience that any other related certification or credential. The goal of the advanced credential is to promote peers, their expertise, and services that lead to improved recovery and resiliency outcomes across a variety of public and private behavioral and physical health settings.
The FCB is pleased to administer the National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential. The NCPS was envisioned by Mental Health America (MHA), which contracted with FCB tin 2015 to develop and administer the credential. This partnership continued through 2022, when MHA and FCB agreed to transition the NCPS to the leadership of a new organization: the National Certification Board for Behavioral Health Professionals (NCBBHP).
Until further notice, NCPS applications and exams will be processed using the FCB’s credentialing and examination systems. However, the NCPS wall certificate will be issued by the National Certification Board for Behavioral Health Professionals (NCBBHP).
Please review the MHA/FCB Press release for more information.
The NCPS does not guarantee job opportunities or wage increases. We are working to promote reciprocity across states. Always make sure you check the requirements for peer specialist/peer support in your state/jurisdiction. Please contact us for information regarding reciprocity or equivalency reviews.
The NCPS was not designed to replace state-level peer support/specialist programs. It is designed to recognize peers who have advanced in the field and can meet the following minimum requirements:
- Hold a state-level peer specialist/peer support credential OR completed 40 hours of NCPS approved training;
- Have at least 3,000 hours of supervised work experience providing peer support services in the six years prior to application;
- Have three professional letters of recommendation for NCPS certification;
- Agree to follow the Code of Ethical and Professional Conduct;
- Agree to complete an annual minimum of 10 continuing education hours; and
- Pass the NCPS 125-item, multiple-choice competency exam.
Once certified, NCPS’ commit to ongoing monitoring of professional practice and continued education.
- Application: $150 (one time fee)
- Exam: $155 (per exam attempt – includes the $30 online proctoring fee)
- Renewal: $200 (due every two years, on October 31st)
- 125-question exam
- 3-hour test time frame.
- Must be taken at approved testing locations or via approved virtual testing.
NCPS Application Process and Documents
You must include the following completed forms as part of your NCPS credential application:
How to Apply
Before beginning the application process for the NCPS credential, please download and carefully review the NCPS Certification Standards and Requirements. All application activities occur online.
- If you do not already have one, create an online account.
- From your account, create an NCPS electronic application. The application is a ‘shell’ that collects basic information required to assess eligibility for certification. The application is submitted when the online fee is processed.
- Provide mandatory forms to eligible people to complete and submit on your behalf.
When the electronic application and all supporting documentation are approved, you will receive a system-generated email, directing you to access your account and complete the exam pre-registration process. This includes a brief application, agreement to follow confidentiality policies, and exam fee payment. The test pre-registration is submitted when the online fee is processed.
- Exams are administered in physical and virtual locations across the country. Details will be provided during exam registration activities.
- The NCPS credential is awarded when a passing score is earned on the NCPS exam. Re-tests are available, if necessary, every 30 days.
- The NCPS is a two-year credential. After the first renewal, the credential will be issued for a two-year period, starting November 1 of the renewal year and expiring October 31, two years later.
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.
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 one of the FCB standard vendors.