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 serve as 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. As such and until further notice, NCPS applications and exams are branded under the NCBBHP and processed using the FCB’s credentialing and examination systems. The NCPS credential and wall certificate are issued by the NCBBHP.

NCPS Certification Requirements

Please carefully review the NCPS Certification Requirements BEFORE applying for certification.

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.


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

Download the NCPS forms, provide them to the appropriate people to complete and submit directly to the Board on your behalf. Please note: each NCPS form is branded with the NCBBHP logo.

NCPS How to Apply

  1. If you don’t already have one, create an online 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 NCBBHP on your behalf.

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.