What Makes a Good Application?

Understand the Role!

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the role of a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) before applying for CPS trainings. Click here to learn more about the role and work of a CPS.

If you are applying for a Certified Parent Peer Specialist (CPPS) training, please click here to learn more about the role and work of a CPPS.


Applying for a CPS or CPPS training does not guarantee your selection as a participant.

Applications received for review by trainers are reviewed by them in full, and a variety of criteria may determine whether an applicant is asked to interview and possibly participate in a given training. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether or not the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirements to become a Certified Peer Specialist, if applying for CPS trainings (18 or older, possesses either a high school diploma or GED, is a Wisconsin resident, has personal, first-hand lived experience navigating mental health or substance use)
  • Whether or not the applicant meets the basic eligibility requirement to become a Certified Parent Peer Specialist, if applying for CPPS trainings (18 or older, possesses either a high school diploma or GED, is a Wisconsin resident, has personal, first-hand lived experience parenting a youth with social, emotional, behavioral concerns/substance use concerns)
  • Whether or not the applicant meets secondary eligibility requirements that are training-specific (e.g., belongs to the county, tribe, region, and/or community served by the particular training)
  • Whether or not the applicant is seeking employment or is already employed in a peer support/parent peer support position and/or a supervisory role to CPS/CPPS (trainings are intended to serve workforce development efforts as part of an employment initiative)
  • Whether or not the applicant is a community member looking to use their personal experiences to support others towards recovery/family resilience/wellness/meaningful living
  • How well the applicant is able to demonstrate an understanding of recovery principles, especially in such a way that supports self-determination of people with lived experience/families
  • Whether or not the applicant has experience offering peer support/parent peer support in a professional or personal setting

Because Wisconsin CPS & CPPS trainings are the pre-requisite to registering for the state-approved CPS or CPPS exam, and a pathway to working in a professional peer support/parent peer support role, applications demonstrating the following may not be given priority in the application review process:

  • Applicants seeking this certification simply as a resume booster
  • Applicants looking to obtain the certification but not go on to work in the role of a CPS/CPPS or CPS/CPPS supervisor
  • Applicants looking to use this training as the “next step in their recovery”
  • Applicants who show they do not support many pathways to recovery/family resilience
  • Applicants only seeking certification in order to bill as a CPS/CPPS while providing non-CPS/CPPS services


Filling Out and Submitting the Online Application

Plan Ahead and Confirm Successful Submission!

First, we highly recommend filling out and submitting the online training application form using a desktop computer or tablet and not a smart phone.

Read the training event page in full! Each training has an event page listing that details the date and time applications open alongside the closing date and time. Most trainings (click here for exceptions detailing the statewide CPS trainings) will close applications once 50 applications are received even if that happens before the application closing date. Statewide CPS trainings do not close once 50 applications are received.

When the application period starts, a blue button reading, “Click Here to Apply” will appear on that training’s event page listing. Click that button to apply for the training.

Make sure to read the application page fully and offer thorough answers that give the trainers enough information about you to make an informed decision regarding your application during the review process. Show your understanding of the role, how you intend to use your training and eventual certification, and any other information you feel is useful for trainers to know.

Note: Applicants who offer mostly one-word or one-sentence responses for more open-ended application questions generally do not get selected for participation in trainings, because trainers have very little information to go off of during the review. This is an application for training in a professional peer support role and the starting place for a career pathway.

Was My Application Submitted?

It is important that you answer all required questions, marked with an asterisk (*), on the online training application form. There are also formatting requirements in regards to dates and other fields (such as email address). If required fields are not answered in the application form or the fields are entered incorrectly, it will register as an error and your application will not be submitted to us when you press the “submit” button.

This is what happens if you try to submit an application with errors:

  • Applicant presses “submit” button
  • Instead of being redirected to the “application submission page” and receiving a copy of your application sent to your email address you provided, the training application form page reloads
  • This page now contains language telling the hopeful applicant that some fields were entered incorrectly (applicant may need to scroll down to see this)
  • Incorrectly filled out or missing fields are highlighted in red
  • Applicant should fix errors and resubmit
  • Upon successfully addressing errors, the application submission page with a timestamp will appear (we recommend you print or save a print screen of this page when it appears) and a copy of the application will be sent to the applicant’s email address they provided alongside an outline of next steps

Remember: If the application form or event page page reloads instead of the “application submission page,” there is something wrong with your application, and you will need to follow the instructions to address any errors.


I’ve Interviewed and Been Selected, Now What?

Participant Agreements

If you are invited by trainers to participate in a training you will be expected to agree to the following to confirm your slot:

  • I understand that if I withdraw from this training within a week of its start-date, it will be difficult for an alternate participant to fill my slot. I will make every effort to follow through with my participation commitment, barring any unforeseen emergencies.
  • I understand that full participation and presence is vital for successful completion of this training, and that trainers may drop a participant from a training if a participant has not set aside the training hours for training participation and activities. Participants who miss more than 8 hours of training will not receive a Certificate of Completion. I will reserve training hours for training participation only and promptly communicate any unforeseen scheduling conflicts or emergencies.
  • I understand that reasonable accommodations can be requested if I have a disability that impacts my optimal participation and engagement with the training. I will submit a reasonable accommodations request, if needed, at least 5 business days prior to my training start-date.
  • I understand that participation in online trainings requires use of a computer or tablet with a working microphone and camera in Zoom meetings, and that I will need access to internet for this online training. I also understand that the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative has a limited technology-lending inventory and can request tech lending of available technology. I will submit a tech lending request if I need a tablet and/or wifi hotspot at least 5 business days prior to my training start-date.

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