In addition to this Frequently Asked Questions page, the following in-depth reports, Peer Specialist Compensation Satisfaction Survey (PDF, 143k), and Certified Peer Specialist Role Delineation Study (PDF, 335k), are available.
A peer specialist is a mental health consumer who has self-identified as having received or is receiving mental health or co-occurring disorder services in his or her personal recovery process. This individual has the ability to assist others in regaining control over their lives based on the principles of recovery and resiliency. By inspiring the hope that recovery and resiliency are achievable goals, Certified Recovery Peer Specialist can assist others who are diagnosed with mental illness or co-occurring disorders to achieve their personal recovery goals by promoting self-determination, personal responsibility, and the empowerment inherent in self-directed recovery.
Direct peer to peer services can include a variety of support services such as:
Peer Specialists are not therapists, and, as such, are trained to refer therapeutic issues to therapists.
A Certified Recovery Peer Specialist (CRPS) is a professional designation awarded by the Florida Certification Board to individuals who demonstrate competency in the field of peer recovery. Individuals holding the CRPS credential have met minimum standards for professional certification, including education, experience, training, and testing. Certified peers perform their work according to a professional code of ethics and maintain their knowledge and skill base by completing annual continuing education units. The application for certification is maintained on the FCB website at http://www.flcertificationboard.org/Certifications_Certified-Recovery-Peer-Specialist.cfm.
The FCB offers three different levels of Recovery Peer Certification:
The applications for each credential, which includes the credential standards, as well as directions for earning and maintaining certification, is maintained on the FCB website at http://www.flcertificationboard.org/Certifications_Certified-Recovery-Peer-Specialist.cfm.
There are several fees associated with earning and maintaining certification: certification application, testing, and renewal.
The first fee is the certification application fee, which is a one-time fee assessed for processing the application and providing technical assistance to applicants for up to one year, until certification is awarded. The certification fee for each credential is as follows:
Once the application for certification has been approved by the FCB, candidates are eligible to register for the written exam. Exam fees are non-refundable and must be paid for each attempt at the written exam. All recovery peer examinations are $50.
Once certification is awarded, annual renewal fees are assessed on October 30 of each calendar year. The annual renewal fee for all recovery peer credentials is $50.
The Florida Certification Board (FCB) is the state's premier non-profit agency for protecting the citizens of Florida by ensuring that Certified Professionals working in a wide range of professions are providing safe and competent services to the public.
The first step to certification is to complete an official application, which includes the following forms. The application can be downloaded for free at http://www.flcertificationboard.org/Certifications_Certified-Recovery-Peer-Specialist.cfm.
There are currently plans underway in several circuits to assist people with the related costs. Some circuits are requesting providers who employ Peer Specialists to assist their employees by paying the certification fees. Others are offering payment of the fees in exchange for volunteer work in providing the specialized training. We are hoping that organizations like the Florida Peer Network and Nami will eventually be able to provide assistance.
There are currently over 100 people employed as Peer Specialist’s around the state through a variety of mental health programs including the Florida Assertive Community Treatment teams (FACT). It is hoped that the certification process will create new opportunities for people to be employed. The SAMH office is working with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), the management organization for Medicaid, to authorize payment for services supplied by C.P.S.’s under Medicaid rules. There is much work that needs to continue to be done to assure that this process is fair to people currently working as Peer Specialists and to maintain fidelity to peer support principles.
The National Association of Peer Specialists (NAPS) is an organization dedicated to promoting peer specialists throughout the United States. They are a group of dedicated peer specialists seeking ways to improve the effectiveness of the mental health system through the hiring of other peer specialists.
NAPS also works to enhance the profession--not just encourage the hiring of more peer specialists. They do this through training, education, and advocacy. The website address for NAPS is www.naops.org and they can also be reached at:
755 Alta Dale SE
Ada, MI 49301
Peer Specialists in Broward County have started their own association, the Broward Peer Specialists Association. Their contact information is:
President/Chair: Kristine Carleson
Located at: Rebel’s Drop-in Center
3400 N 29th Ave.
Behavioral Health Outpatient Bldg.
Memorial Regional Hospital
We hope that as the number of Peer Specialists increase throughout the state more circuits will follow the lead of Broward County and develop their own association chapter. Peer Specialists face unique challenges in the mental health care system and having a dedicated organization to help face those challenges and assist members in their ongoing educational needs is a powerful asset.
The use of Peer Specialist in the mental health field is a rapidly growing area. Peers are currently working in a wide variety of positions in drop-in centers, offices of consumer affairs, crisis stabilization units, hospitals, forensic services, case management, recovery support services and others. Peers bring a unique set of qualifications to the job. Not only are they trained professionally in their fields, but they are able to relate to the people they serve through their shared experiences and perspective. Peer/Professionals are a powerful asset to a system burdened with inadequate funding and antiquated services. We are only beginning to tap into the possibilities available as we shift our focus to a recovery based model of health care with people receiving services at its’ center.