Peer Specialist Certification
What is Peer Support?
Peer Support is a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful. Peer Support is not based on psychiatric models and diagnostic criteria. It is about understanding another’s situation empathetically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain. For more information visit SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration).
What is a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS)?
A Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS) is defined as an individual who:
- Self-identifies as a person who has direct personal experience living in recovery from mental health and/or substance use conditions,
- Has a desire to use their experiences to help others with their recovery,
- Is willing to publicly identify as a person living in recovery for the purpose of educating, role modeling, and providing hope to others about the reality of recovery, and
- Has had the proper training and experience to work in a provider role.
Do I need to become certified to work as a Peer Specialist?
Peer Services have been billable in some states for many years, including Florida. Currently, services provided by peer specialists are billable through both the Department of Children & Families (DCF) and Medicaid. Covered services through DCF and Medicaid are ONLY billable for services provided by Certified Recovery Peer Specialists (CRPS).
Where can I get a job as a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist?
Check our Employment Database for job listings for Certified Recovery Peer Specialists positions around the state or to post your resume for employers to access and recruit potential candidates.
How do I become a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist?
The Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS) is a designation awarded to individuals who demonstrate competency in the field of peer-to-peer recovery support. Competency is gained through a combination of education and experience and earning a professional credential is a multi-step process. For a complete breakdown of the requirements, please review the Certification Guidelines. Below are the requirements to become a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist:
- Submit an online application by first creating an FCB account here (Note: hard copy applications are only available for applicants who meet ADA requirements related to accommodations for using computers and related technologies. Download the hard copy application here)
- Secure a copy of your high school diploma, GED, unofficial college or university transcript, or diploma
- 40 total clock hours of training within the last 5 years divided among the following content areas:
- Advocacy- 4 hours minimum
- Mentoring- 10 hours minimum
- Recovery Support- 6 hours minimum
- Professional Responsibility- 8 hours minimum
- Whole Health- 8-16 hours
- Electives- 0-4 hours minimum
We regularly post training opportunities here. The Florida Certification Board has a list of training opportunities that may qualify here or download the CRPS Training Verification Form for specific training details. Please note, your hours must come from an approved Florida Certification Board Training and Education Provider. To find a provider, click here.
- 500 hours of supervised work and/or volunteer experience providing peer-to-peer recovery support services in any of the following domains: Advocacy, Mentoring, and Recovery Support (within the last 5 years) documented on this form. Of the 500 hours required, at least 250 hours of experience must be specific to providing peer support to others with similar lived experience.
- Applicants must attest to the type of lives experience that makes them eligible to serve as a peer to others. This attestation determines the endorsement(s) applied to the CRPS credential.
- CRPS-A: lived experience as an adult who has been in recovery for a minimum of 2 years from a substance use or mental health condition
- CRPS-F: lived experience as a family member or caregiver to another individual who has or is in recovery from a substance use or mental health condition
- CRPS-V: lived experience as a veteran of the armed forces who has been in recovery for a minimum of 2 years from a substance use or mental health condition
- CRPS-Y: lived experience as an individual currently between the ages of 18 and 29 who experienced a significant life challenge(s) during the ages of 14-25 and is living a wellness and/or recovery-oriented lifestyle for at least 2 years
- One (1) Professional Recommendation for Certification, the form can be found here.
- Professional Recommendation: A Professional recommendation is provided by an individual who has direct knowledge of the applicant’s on-the-job performance. The Professional recommendation should discuss the applicant’s work performance as it relates to the role and expectations required of the certification. While teamwork, experience and work ethic are the types of things discussed, the recommendation should give the FCB an idea of the type of individual applying for certification. Individuals providing a recommendation must be in a non-peer or non-subordinate position to the applicant.
- One (1) Supervisory Recommendation for Certification, the form can be found here.
- Supervisory Recommendation: A Supervisory recommendation is provided by an individual who is in a position that includes supervisory responsibilities defined by the organization’s published job description. Qualified supervisors include the applicant’s immediate supervisor or any other agency supervisors, trainers, mentors, quality assurance staff, and any other agency management or leadership staff assigned by the employer to provide supervision to employees seeking certification. If the applicant is working in a non-paid, volunteer capacity, the individual responsible for overseeing the applicant’s volunteer staff is a qualified supervisor. Individuals providing a recommendation must be in a non-peer or non-subordinate position to the applicant.
- One (1) Character-Personal Recommendation for Certification, the form can be found here.
- Character-Personal Recommendation: A Character-Personal recommendation is provided by an individual who has direct knowledge of the applicant in a personal capacity. Character-Personal recommendations are often provided by business acquaintances, customers or clients, teachers, trainers, professors, friends or neighbors. The Character-Personal recommendation should discuss the applicant’s traits, such as his or her personality, character, integrity, dependability, and/or insights into work habits, talents, and skills. While the recommendation will primary discuss the applicant’s personality, it should give the FCB an idea of the type of individual applying for certification.
- Must have a clean criminal history for a minimum of 3-years prior to application for certification, including release from all sanctions.
- Must read and sign an attestation agreeing to comply with the FCB Code of Ethical & Professional Conduct found here.
- Pass the Florida Certified Recovery Peer Specialist Exam (passing score is 65%; or 65 correct out of 100 questions). A free, online study guide is available here. (Note: application and all required documents MUST be submitted and approved prior to scheduling your exam date)
- 10 hours of continuing education per year. Training content must be related to at least one of the CRPS performance domains. Annual renewal is on June 30th of each calendar year.
- There are fees associated with the application, test, and criminal background report, if needed. For those in financial need, scholarships are available to cover the cost of the application and certification exam fees.
- Application Fee- $100
- Certification Exam Fee- $65
- Reinstatement Fee- $150
- Renewal Fee (Annual)- $75
All applicants have a maximum of 12 months to earn the CRPS credential, starting from the date the application and the certification fee are received by the FCB. When your fee has been processed and your application has been successfully submitted, you will receive a system email and, shortly thereafter, you will receive a personal email of introduction from your assigned Certification Specialist. This person will serve as your single-point-of-contact throughout the certification application, examination, and award process.
I don’t have all my 500 experience hours, what can I do?
Did you know that the FCB now offers another application route for those interested in becoming a CRPS but still need to earn the 500 experience hours? In late 2017, the FCB introduced the provisional application route (CRPS-P), which is for applications who have completed all requirements EXCEPT the 500 hours of work or volunteer experience. These applicants earn a provisional credential and, before the provisional credential expires, complete the work or volunteer hours necessary to upgrade to the full CRPS credential. This application is manual and all application materials are submitted via mail, email, or fax.
What is the CRPS-P (provisional certification)?
The Certified Recovery Peer Specialist – Provisional Status (CRPS-P) program is specifically designed for trained and tested peers who do not have 500 hours of experience at the time of application. The provisional certification process allows people to gain work or volunteer experience during the provisional period. The program has two steps.
Step 1: Provisional Certification. Applicants must meet FCB policy requirements and CRPS formal education, training, recommendation and testing requirements. Upon passing the CRPS exam, the CRPS-P credential is issued for a 12-month period. A total of 500 hours of work or volunteer experience must be documented and the UPGRADE must be applied BEFORE the provisional credential expires. An expired CRPS-P credential cannot be reinstated.
During the provisional period, paid or volunteer hours must be completed. At least 250 of the 500 hours of experience must be spent providing peer support services to others with the same shared lived experience. Experience must be documented on the CRPS Work or Volunteer Experience Verification Form. Be sure to track your hours and follow-up with your employers to ensure experience documentation is received at the FCB at least 30 days before the CRPS-P credential expires.
Step 2: CRPS-P UPGRADE. People holding the cRPS-P credential must apply for an upgrade to the CRPS credential no less than 30-days before the CRPS-P expiration date. CRPS-P UPGRADE applicants are responsible to:
Note: Lived experience (CRPS-A, F, V, or Y) is not indicated when the provisional credential is issued. Lived experience is indicated when the CRPS-P UPGRADE process is complete.
How do I apply for the CRPS-P?
Requirements for the CRPS-P are exactly the same as the regular CRPS application process, with the exception of (1) the CRPS-P application and supporting documentation are paper-based, submitted through US Mail, email, or fax, and MUST be filled out electronically (Note: handwritten applications WILL NOT be accepted), and (2) applicants will not have to submit their Work or Volunteer Experience Verification Form until applying for the CRPS-P UPGRADE. For a complete breakdown of the requirements, please review the Certification Guidelines. Below are the steps to apply for the Certified Recovery Peer Specialist – Provisional credential:
- Create online FCB account. The CRPS-P and the CRPS-P UPGRADE applications are paper-based. However, all applicants MUST first establish an online account with the FCB. You can create your online account here.
- Download and complete the CRPS-P Application
- Download and complete the CRPS-P Training Verification Form and attach supporting documentation
- Secure a copy of your high school diploma, GED, or unofficial college or university transcript to the application
- Submit CRPS-P Application, Training Verification Form, proof of formal education/degree, and payment for certification fee ($100, unless on Scholarship) to the FCB through:
- US Mail: FCB, 1715 South Gadsden Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301
- Email: Applicants are assigned a Certification Specialist when their application has been received by the FCB. Please ask for this person’s email address. In the absence of a specified person, FCB accepts emails at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: (850) 222-6247
- Please Note: all CRPS-P fee payments MUST be made by credit card (over the phone), check or money order (mail). The standard $5 fee for processing credit cards over the phone is waived. If you are on scholarship, submit a copy of your scholarship award notice to the application.
- Download and provide a separate Recommendation for Certification Form (Professional, Supervisory, and Personal/Character) to each person providing a recommendation on your behalf. (Note: Part 1 is filled out by the applicant and Part 2 is filled out by the individual providing the recommendation. Also, the recommendation MUST be submitted by the individual providing the recommendation and the FCB WILL NOT accept recommendations from the applicant)
- Once application is approved, register for the CRPS Exam, pay exam fee of $65 (unless on scholarship), and take the exam and receive a passing score of at least 65% or 65 questions correct out of 100 questions
How do I become a CRPS-A, F, V, or Y after receiving my CRPS-P credential?
Once you have earned your CRPS-P credential you will have a 12-month period to earn the required 500 work or volunteer experience hours for you to become eligible for the CRPS-P UPGRADE, which if approved, upgrades your CRPS-P to a CRPS-A, F, V, or Y (depending on which lived experience disignation you’ve indicated). Below are the following documents and fees that must be submitted NO LESS than 30 calendar days before the provisional credential expires:
- Download and complete the CRPS-P UPGRADE Application
- Download and provide a separate CRPS-P UPGRADE Work or Volunteer Experience Verification Form to each employer verifying experience on your behalf (Note: this form should be given to employer on day 1 of employment as CRPS-P for the employer to document your hours as you earn them. Don’t forget to remind your employer they must submit this to the FCB no less than 30 calendar days before your provisional credential expires)
- Submit CRPS-P UPGRADE Application with payment for Application Fee of $50 (NOT covered under scholarship) to the FCB through US Mail, email, or fax. Application Fee Payments may be made by check, money order, or credit card (over the phone- in which the $5 processing fee will be waived)
- Once CRPS-P UPGRADE application is approved and CRPS-A, F, V, or Y is awarded, regular CRPS credential maintenance will apply, including the yearly required ten (10) continuing education units and Certification Renewal Fee ($75)
Note: the CRPS-P credential CANNOT be reinstated if you do not submit the CRPS-P UPGRADE Application, required documents, and payment for the application fee within the 12-month provisional period.
For more information on the certification process visit The Florida Certification Board.