Transformation Center


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

Certified Peer Specialist Training (CPS)

What is Peer Support?

When people who have had experiences with emotional distress or trauma and give each other encouragement, hope, assistance, understanding and to share resources to aid in recovery, it is called peer support. One of the most helpful things one person can say to (or hear from) another is “I’ve been there.”

Do I need to be a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) to give Peer Support?

No! There are many more people offering valuable peer support than there are paid roles for Certified Peer Specialists. Certified peer specialists have attended a rigorous training that covers the fundamentals of peer support as well as addressing different perspectives, advocacy, and working as a change agent to improve the mental health system for all. Certification is required for many paid peer specialists roles. Peer supporters may attend many various trainings, and may receive certificates for different educational experiences, but are not Certified Peer Specialists.  Some peer supporters may lead groups or function in roles to assist others with employment, computer training, art, to name a few.

Many of the roles and activities of peer supporters are the same as peer specialists. For instance, both peer supporters and peer specialists may choose to…

  • Facilitate support groups
  • Share resources about wellness with peers
  • Offer hope and inspiration
  • Talk one on one with an individual who has had a similar experience to provide support and hope
  • Volunteer at a warm line or hotline
  • Work at a Recovery Learning Community
  • Volunteer throughout the community

The Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Training

CPSLogoA rigorous training for people preparing for the Certified Peer Specialist role in the mental health system.  CPS is not an entry- level position and the training is not geared to people just beginning to learn about peer support work.

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

Fundamentals of Peer Support
Cross-Cultural Partnering
Moving Through Fear
Human Experience Language

A Certified Peer Specialist (CPS)

Has been trained to share his or her experiences in the mental health system and in recovery to effectively carry the message that “Recovery is Real!”  We share our experience, strength and hope with people using services, mental health professionals, policy makers and others in our lives.  A CPS can impact peoples’ beliefs about their own capacity to recover and challenge assumptions about the capacity of others to recover.


Frequently Asked Questions about the CPS Program

Introductory Video

CPS Prep Videos and Manual

CPS Supervisor Training Videos & Resources

CPS Training

There is not an application available at this time. As soon as the next class is scheduled the dates, location and application will be posted here. 

Recent Classes:

Spring 2017 –VINFEN TRAINING CENTER, Somerville -completed Jun 2, 2017

Winter 2017 –  Cape Point Hotel, W. Yarmouth, MA    – completed Feb 17, 2017

Fall 2016 – Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA  – complete Nov 16, 2016     

Spring 2016 –Easton, MA – completed May, 2016

Winter 2016 –  Lexington, MA   – completed Jun, 2016

Fall 2015 – Kiva Center, Worcester, MA  – complete Nov 16, 2016             


If you wish to schedule individual tutoring to re-take the CPS exam please email


The next opportunities to take the CPS exam will be in September 2017.

If you wish to re-take the exam please email

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:

CPS Prep Training Videos


CPS Code of Ethics


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 May 2017)


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


May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

Feb 2017

Jan 2017




Certified Peer Specialist Training Team at

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

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