How do I get certified?

Thank you for your interest in the Peer Support Program and for thinking about becoming a peer support specialist. We hope the details below will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. If you decide to proceed you may request an application by clicking on the button below.

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South Carolina Peer Support Specialist Certification

Peer Support Certification


A Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) candidate is a person with a mental illness and/or substance use disorder who can demonstrate their own efforts at self-directed recovery and expertise including knowledge of approaches to support others in recovery and dual recovery. All candidates should have at least one year of abstinence/ sobriety and no significant inpatient psychiatric admissions for the year prior to applying for certification training.

Priorities for acceptance to the training are:
  • Individuals employed by a Community Mental Health Center or other Facility.
  • Individuals being offered a position at a Community Mental Health Center or other Facility upon satisfactory completion of certification training program and exam.
  • Individuals who have demonstrated recovery leadership within their communities.

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  1. Education - Minimum, a high school degree or GED
  2. Recovery Experience - Psychiatrically stable for a minimum of year, able to discuss their relapse prevention plan at interview for example, what relapse prevention groups they are engaged in, lifestyle changes/improvements, support systems in community, etc. Understands and able to discuss in depth their illness, triggers, warning signs, medications, stability and relapse prevention plans.
  3. Beyond a demonstration of personal mental health stability, a peer support specialist should be:
    • flexible
    • have organizational skills
    • be self-motivated with the ability to work well independently or in groups
    • possess strong inter-personal and communication (verbal & written) skills
    • exercise good judgment
  4. Volunteer/Work Experience - 100 hours of formal or voluntary experience related to mental health, community or public service. Work/Volunteer Experience can include but is not limited to:
    • Facilitating 12-step meetings - N.A., A.A. etc.
    • Facilitating Recovery for Life, WRAP and/or Double Trouble Groups
    • Work with mental health advocacy organizations - SC SHARE, NAMI-SC, MHA-SC, Federation of Families, Protection & Advocacy for People with Disabilities
    • Public Service Organizations - Red Cross, Food Banks, Shelters, Libraries, Girl/Boy Scouts, Big Brother/Sister Programs, Religious organizations, Sunday school classes etc.
  5. Agree to abide by the Certified Peer Support Specialist Code of Professional Conduct.
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