National Certified Mental Health Peer Specialist (NCPS)

National Certified Mental Health Peer Specialist (NCPS)

Created in partnership with Mental Health America and now solely operated by

the National Certification Board for Behavioral Health Professionals.

Created in partnership with Mental Health America and now solely operated by the National Certification Board for Behavioral Health Professionals.

We are excited to introduce the National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential, acknowledging advanced proficiency in mental health peer-to-peer services. These services are centered on offering hope and assistance to individuals on their journey toward recovery from mental health challenges. NCPS certified individuals draw from personal experiences of recovery to effectively engage and empower others in developing the skills needed for wellness maintenance.

NCPS certification stands as a professional, high-level endorsement for individuals delivering peer specialist services across mental health, behavioral, physical, and related healthcare settings. This credential mandates a minimum educational attainment of a high school diploma or equivalent, alongside previous educational, training, and professional experiences aligning with the NCPS performance domains and core competencies set by the Board.

It’s important to note that the NCPS doesn’t aim to supplant existing state-level peer support/peer specialist programs. Rather, it seeks to acknowledge peers with extensive expertise who fulfill the NCPS certification criteria.

As the sole National Mental Health Certification available nationwide, this credential is dedicated to acknowledging peer practitioners with extensive expertise. It aims to identify these advanced peers as individuals that may be recognized by insurance companies for their ability to assist clients in navigating peer services and attaining recovery.

people talking

The NCPS performance domains are:

  • Foundations of Peer Support
  • Foundations of Health Care Systems
  • Mentoring, Shared Learning, and Relationship Building
  • Activation and Self-Management
  • Advocacy
  • Professional and Ethical Responsibilities

NCPS Certification Requirements

Please carefully review the NCPS Certification Requirements BEFORE applying for certification.
In general, qualified applicants must:

  1. Currently hold a state-level peer support specialist credential that required a minimum of 40 hours of training or have previously completed an equivalent 40-hour training program,
  2.  Have 2,000 hours of supervised work or volunteer experience providing peer specialist services within the five (5) years prior to application, and
  3. Obtain three (3) professional letters of recommendation.

Applicants who can provide documentation of these qualifications will be approved to sit for the NCPS exam, and will be awarded the NCPS credential after earning a passing score on the NCPS exam.

Application Fees

Fee Type

Fee Amount


Application Fee


One-time fee

If NCPS credential is not earned within 12 months of application, a 12-month extension can be obtained with an extension fee.

Exam Fee


Fee is due with each exam attempt.

Biennial Renewal Fee


Fee is due every 24 months, on or before the NCPS expiration date.

Application Extension Fee


Fee is assessed for each 12-month application extension request.

Application Process and Documents

Earning the NCPS credential is a multi-step process. Applicants have a maximum of 12 months from the date that their application and certification fee is received to earn the NCPS credential. Within this time, their application must be approved and the exam must be passed. Applicants who do not pass the exam may re-take it within this same 12-month period. After that, a 12-month extension can be obtained by paying a fee equal to the original application fee.

In general, the applicant creates an electronic application, pays fees, submits documentation, and provides Board forms to former or current employers and to persons providing recommendations for certification to complete and return directly to the Board. Work experience and recommendations submitted by the applicant are not eligible for certification purposes.

The Board initiates the exam pre-registration and registration activities after the NCPS application and supporting documentation is approved. All exam activities occur online, including taking the exam. The Board administers the exam using remote proctoring. Details will be provided when the NCPS application is approved. The NCPS credential is awarded when a passing score is earned on the exam. Individuals who do not pass may retest every 30 days.

Are you ready to apply?

NCPS Application Forms

Download the NCPS forms, provide them to the appropriate people to complete and submit directly to the Board on your behalf.

NCPS Exam Information

The NCPS exam is a 125 item, multiple choice exam of peer specialist knowledge and skills. The exam is administered using remote proctoring protocols. Additional information will be provided to applicants who are approved to sit for the NCPS exam.