Introduction to the MHA NCPS Certification
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 (FCB), created the first national, advanced peer specialist certification.
True to the spirit of peer support, the MHA National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential does not mean a peer is a clinician. The MHA 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.
Becoming a MHA 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 MHA 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.
What is it?
Created and developed by peers, the MHA NCPS credential is an advanced credential that recognizes peers who have extensive experience and a large knowledge base that sets them apart.
- 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 MHA NCPS credential.
- One professional letter of recommendation for certification.
- One supervisory letter of recommendation for certification.
- Attest to lived experience.
- Pass the MHA NCPS examination.
- Agree to be bound by MHA NCPS Code of Ethics.
- Complete 20 hours of CEUs every 2 years.
- Practice according to MHA NCPS Code of Ethics.
- Application fee: $225
- Examination fee: $200
- Renewal fee: $200 biennially
- 125-question exam
- 2-hour test timeframe
- Must be taken at approved testing locations
How to Apply
Before beginning the application process for the MHA NCPS credential, please download and carefully review the current version of the MHA NCPS Credential Standards and Requirements Table 2018.
Create your account here. For help in creating your account, please read our How to Verify or Create an Account in the FCB System document or view our How to Video – Creating a Profile Tutorial
You must include the following completed forms as part of your MHA NCPS credential application:
- MHA NCPS Work or Volunteer Experience Verification Form 2018
- MHA NCPS Recommendation for Certification Form 2018
There is no study guide for the MHA NCPS exam. We have created the MHA 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 are being established across the country for MHA NCPS applicants. These locations are for the MHA NCPS credential only.
We are currently expanding our network of testing sites. If you do not see a test vendor for your location, we will establish one in your area. Please contact Carla Lohi at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are having this issue.
Please do not contact or travel to the location without having received prior confirmation from the FCB. If you are located in Florida, you have the option of taking the test with either a MHA NCPS test vendor or one of the FCB standard vendors.
** The MHA credential serves as a way to demonstrate an exceptional level of knowledge and experience. Earning the MHA 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. **
For additional information from the Mental Health America website, please click here to access MHA’s Center for Peer Support page.