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MHA National Certified Peer Specialist Certification-- Get Certified!

Peer support specialists are in demand across systems and sectors. To meet this demand, Mental Health America has created the first national advanced peer specialist certification. This lets peers show they have the highest levels of knowledge and expertise that qualifies them to support people wherever they are.

The MHA National Certified Peer Specialist (MHA NCPS) certification recognizes peers with the lived experience, training, and job experience to work alongside healthcare teams. The certification is designed to exceed the standards used in public behavioral health around the country. A major purpose of the certification is to meet the needs of private health insurers and private practitioners. Expansion of peer support into the private sector will open up new career paths and opportunities, which have been previously unexplored, for thousands of peer supporters.

This certification has been peer initiated and conceived. We have worked with a stellar group of subject matter experts most of whom are accomplished leaders in the peer community. Within the community there has been much concern that professionalizing peer support will take away from its true nature. True to the spirit of peer support, the credential does not mean a peer is a clinician. It emphasizes and expects that all duties reflect the principles, guidelines, and core values of peer support. 

It is not designed to replace current trainings but to build upon and enhance current programs. This means adding additional competencies to ensure peers are able to meet the demands of a changing workforce and increasing opportunities. The private health sector offers a wide array of work opportunities for qualified peer support workers including:

  • Working in private practice alongside psychiatrists, psychologists, and licensed mental health therapists
  • Working in primary care, emergency departments, and inpatient settings
  • Working as members of Whole Health Care Teams
  • Working in supervision roles.

MHA has conducted a series of pilot programs placing peer specialists with enhanced training as providers of peer support within a national HMO, Kaiser Permanente (KP). Our experiences with KP and continued work in piloting peer support in the private sector have given us a wealth of information about meeting the standards and requirements of a national insurance company and private practitioners.

Supporting people in achieving and maintaining recovery takes compassion and skills. With more opportunities for peers to work in a variety of systems and settings, earning the MHA NCPS credential shows that you have the highest levels of knowledge and skills required to thrive as a peer support specialist. 

Get started! 

Read our guide to get certified here!

Download our shareable handout on the MHA NCPS ceritifcation.

For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions

More information:

The MHA National Certified Peer Specialist credential was developed in partnership with the Florida Certification Board with additional funding through the Alkermes Inspiration Grant program and a gift from Mental Health America's Anonymous Donor.

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 Alexandria, VA 22314

Phone (703) 684.7722

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Fax (703) 684.5968


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