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certified peer specialist

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) successfully collaborated with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to revise Pennsylvania’s State Medicaid Plan for Certified Peer Specialists (CPS). The changes aim to enhance workforce opportunities, break down barriers, and establish a robust crisis system. The updated qualifications for aspiring CPS include:

  1. Elimination of the self-identification requirement for Serious Mental Illness, replaced with an attestation of a mental health diagnosis and a stage of recovery to support others;
  2. Removal of the high school diploma requirement and instead, as part of the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB) application, applicants will be providing narratives on how they achieved recovery and wellness; and
  3. The mandatory recent employment or volunteer experience within the last three (3) years has been removed.

Details on these changes can be found in the updated State Plan here (scroll down to 0013 Attachment 3.1A-3.1B, page 88). OMHSAS will issue a forthcoming bulletin, and inquiries can be sent electronically.

If you have further questions, please contact RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.

Conference Information

  • Theme: Coming Together: Creating a Culture of CommUNITY
  • Date: Friday, April 6, 2018*, 8:30 am – 4:00 pm
  • Location: Ramada Inn, 1450 South Atherton Street, State College, PA, 16801
  • Click here for conference information


  • $79 for current PaPSC members
  • $99 for non-members

To Register:

*On Thursday, April 5, conference participants are invited to attend an informational and networking event from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm in the Gallery Room of the Ramada Inn conference center. Learn more about PaPSC, receive information about the move of Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) credentialing to the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), and meet other CPS’s from throughout the Commonwealth!