Transformation Center


Voicing lived experience...Generating mental health wellness through community, policy, training and peer support

Certified Peer Specialist Training (CPS)


Updated 8.27.2018


 About the Fall 2018 Certified Peer Specialist Class:

Location: Training will be held in Central Mass area. Specific location to be determined.

Full Day Classes:  October 10, 11, 12. October 18, 19. October 24, 25, 26. October 31 and November 1.


CPS Fall 2018 Application (Word)
CPS Fall 2018 Application (PDF)
Please read “Instructions” page 2 for how to:  1) Assess your readiness for CPS Class 2) Download application 3) Request an interview 4) Complete application and 5) Obtain two letters of recommendation. 

The “Contact Us” form on this page does not go directly to CPS staff, please use [email protected]org for the fastest response to questions about the CPS program.

What is Peer Support?

“Peer Support” is a relationship between people with similar experiences.  It is a mutually valuable exchange of hope, encouragement, connection, understanding, information and/or assistance.  “I’ve been there” is one of the most validating and useful things a person can say or hear.

In the mental health recovery movement, peer support relationships are among people who have experienced emotional distress, a mental health diagnosis and/or trauma.

The Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Training

This is a rigorous training for people preparing for a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) role in the community or service system.  CPS is not an entry-level position and the training is designed for people who have some knowledge and experience with peer support.

Frequently Asked Questions

A CPS has been trained to share their experiences of mental health recovery, services and supports and to carry the message that Recovery is Real!   In sharing our wisdom, strength and hope with others (including people using services, mental health professionals and policy makers) CPSs can significantly impact peoples’ beliefs about their own capacity to recover and the capacity of others to recover.

The CPS program includes classes that covers 24+ modules, small group activities and homework.  The program supports students to inspire hope in people they support and work with.  After completing the class,  students are eligible to take a written examination for the CPS Certificate.  Students demonstrate a host of abilities that are necessary in the Certified Peer Specialist’s role, including:

The Three Core Competencies:  Peer Support, “In” but not “Of” the System, Change Agent
The Shoulders Upon Which We Stand
Human Experience Language
Principles of Adult Learning
Cross-Cultural Partnering
Fear: Friend or Foe
Group Facilitation and Self-Help Tools
Power, Conflict and Integrity
Creating the Life One Wants


Do I need to be trained as a CPS to give Peer Support?

No!  Peer relationships change lives and foster recovery anywhere that people seek and give support based on shared experiences. There are far more opportunities and places to offer peer support than there are paid roles for Certified Peer Specialists.  Peer support happens informally and in paid and volunteer roles that do not require CPS training and certification.  It is expected that people applying for the CPS training have some experience giving and receiving support in peer relationships.

Peer support trainings of many kinds are offered by a variety of organizations for people with or without experience with peer support.  Many provide a certificate of completion or offer their own certification program, for example the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Facilitator training.   Regional Recovery Learning Communities (RLCs) can tell you about peer support opportunities that do not require CPS.

CPS Code of Ethics

As part of their training, Certified Peer Specialists (CPSs) commit to peer support and collegial relationships that are guided by the Massachusetts CPS Code of Ethics (updated 2015).   Putting these 14 principles into practice is vital to protecting the mutuality of relationships and the integrity of the CPS role. The CPS Code of Ethics is particularly useful for working in programs that are based on a medical model of care. Other members of the peer support workforce may also use the CPS Code of Ethics to guide their work, including volunteers, Young Adult Mentors and Peer Facilitators.

Preparing for CPS Training

Tools to help you focus and assess your skills in one-to-one peer support, sharing your story to inspire hope and being an agent for change (click on the links below):


CPS Code of Ethics (updated 2015)

Frequently Asked Questions

Introductory Video

CPS Prep Videos and Manual           

CPS Supervisor Resources

Training Materials & Links

Retesting & Tutoring

If you wish to retake the CPS exam or schedule individual tutoring to prepare for retaking the exam please email [email protected]

Recent Classes

    • Winter 2018 – Bedford VA Hospital, Bedford – completed March 15, 2018
    • Fall 2017 – KIVA Center, Central Mass RLC, Worcester – completed Nov. 16, 2017
    • Spring 2017 – VINFEN Training Center, Somerville – completed Jun 2, 2017
    • Winter 2017 – Cape Point Hotel, W. Yarmouth – completed Feb 17, 2017
    • Fall 2016 – Holyoke Community College, Holyoke – completed Nov 16, 2016
    • Spring 2016 – Easton – completed May, 2016
    • Winter 2016 – Lexington – completed Jun, 2016
    • Fall 2015 – KIVA Center, Central MA RLC, Worcester – completed Nov 16, 2015  

Policy Manual

All the policies related to the CPS class, including the application process, acceptance process, class design and testing, are described in the manual.

CPS Program Policy Manual (approved January 2018)

Oversight Committee

The CPS Oversight Committee advises the CPS Training Program Coordinator regarding all aspects of the program, including curriculum, training and testing processes, policy and procedures, program evaluation, and meeting the needs of the community.

Membership is made up of people with expertise in education, research, testing, hiring and integrating Certified Peer Specialists into the public mental health system, CPS practitioners and persons with lived experience who are not CPS.

Oversight Committee Members June 2017


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September no meeting

August 2017

July no meeting

June 2017

January – May 2017




Certified Peer Specialist Training Team at [email protected]

The Transformation Center ~ 98 Magazine Street ~ Roxbury, MA 02118

Phone 617-442-4111 ~ Toll Free 1-877-769-7693 ~ Fax 617-442-4005

The “Contact Us” form on this page does not go directly to CPS staff.  For the fastest response to your request, please use [email protected]org