The field of peer support is growing rapidly as more and more learn about the transformative effect it has on people and systems. What has been known in public behavioral health and among people with lived experience is becoming more mainstream, as healthcare moves towards services that provide the best outcomes and improve overall wellness.
Even though peer support is known to have strong outcomes, peer support specialists are often paid low wages and given no room for career advancement. Even though the private sector is interested in peer support, the lack of uniform, high standards is a large barrier for decisionmakers in its expansion.
The National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) certification works to address these issues for peers and for payors. By providing a national, advanced level certification, peers with the MHA NCPS can demonstrate their experience and knowledge are at the cutting edge of the field. From the payer and systems perspective, decisionmakers are assured that they are hiring peers with a uniform, high standard of knowledge and experience, no matter where they are in the US.
Obtaining the NCPS certification is a way to demonstrate knowledge and experience. Since its rollout, MHA has been working to promote the certification to employers, states, and commercial insurance plans. The NCPS is not currently approved by any state, but our goal is reciprocity among the states.
As we continue to work with leaders in behavioral health across the US, the NCPS certification will be a critical part of the expansion into previously unexplored roles for peers and a way to achieve increased pay and career opportunities.