Is the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative currently seeking new trainers?

The Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative is holding a Certified Peer Specialist Training of the Trainer (CPS ToT) in late Summer 2020. We accepted applications for this CPS ToT for two weeks in July 2020. We are currently reviewing applications. We will then set up interviews and select 5 CPS ToT participants to hopefully add to our CPS trainer pool.

Does it cost anything to participate in a training?

Certified Peer Specialist and Certified Parent Peer Specialist trainings are currently free of charge for participants.

The state-approved, competency-based certification exam, run through UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education, costs $50 to complete. The recertification cost is also $50 every two years. These $50 exam registration and recertification fees are the only costs associated with this initiative.

How do I know if I’ve been accepted into a training?

Once you have successfully submitted an application for a training, you will receive a "confirmation of receipt of application" email within two business days.

Once 50 applications have been received or the application deadline passes (whichever is sooner), trainers will review applications, contact no more than 25 applicants out of the possible 50-person applicant pool for phone interviews, and then select a final cohort of training participants after conducting phone interviews. Though a maximum of 25 people will be contacted for phone interviews, everyone can expect to hear back about the final decision in regards to their application.

Please know that it will take some time for participant selection to be finalized, and we ask for your patience during this process. You will hear back within two weeks of the application deadline whether or not you have been accepted to move on in the application process.

How many people are accepted into a CPS/CPPS training?

For each training throughout the state, there is generally a maximum of 18 participants accepted. Once a training receives a total of 50 applications submitted, that training no longer accepts further applications. The Wisconsin Certified Peer Specialist/Certified Parent Peer Specialist certification is highly sought after, so we advise that you complete and submit your application as soon as you are able.

What if there is no training currently accepting applications from my county and I am interested in becoming certified?

Even if there is currently no training accepting applications from residents of your county, the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative and its partners will generally not accept applications from outside-county residents.

The only exception for outside applicants to be accepted is if there is a shortage of applicants within the training's respective county region.

I have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation for the exam. How do I request this?

We have a page and an online form for this! Please click here to learn more and fill out a reasonable accommodations request application. Please note that reasonable accommodation requests for trainings are taken care of in the training application and participant selection process.

When are the next in-person exams?

We began holding online exams in April of 2020 with the help of UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education. We had hoped that in-person CPS and CPPS exams would be possible by September, but the continuation and intensity of the COVID-19 public health crisis in Wisconsin requires that we remain with online exams for the September 2020 exam dates.

Currently, our best guess is that in-person exams will resume in 2021. However, this is dependent upon the duration and intensity of the COVID-19 public health crisis, its impact on Independent Living Centers, and the capacity of UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education.

When can I expect to receive my exam results?

CPS and CPPS exam results traditionally are mailed to you within 30 days of the exam. Due to COVID-19 and remote working, we are currently emailing exam results within 30 days of a given exam. Please do not contact the Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative requesting results during that time.

What should I expect on the day of the exam?

For in-person exams, you can expect the following:

  • The Wisconsin CPS and CPPS exams take place over the course of 3 hours, and you are not required to stay for all 3 hours and may leave as soon as you are finished with the 62 question exam.
  • The exam will begin promptly at the designated time, so please arrive 15 - 20 minutes early in order to check in and ensure you are ready to begin at the appropriate time.
  • All testing centers are fragrance free environments, so please do not wear any perfume, cologne, or other scented products.
  • If you choose to bring your phone, tablet, laptop, or other electronic device, you will be asked to leave it with testing center staff for the duration of your time taking the exam.
  • If you choose to bring a purse, bag, backpack, or other personal carrying item, you will be asked to leave it with testing center staff for the duration of your time taking the exam.
  • We strongly recommend leaving these items at home or in your car, if you drove to the testing site, when taking the exam.
  • No food or drink will be permitted while taking the exam other than water.
  • No study materials will be permitted while taking the exam; however, you will be provided with a pen and paper should you feel the need to take notes. You will be asked to return both items to testing center staff after the exam.
  • You will be asked to complete a short survey after you complete the exam.
 

How do I apply and pay for the exam?

You can apply for the next Certified Peer Specialist exam by visiting the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education exam application page. For Certified Parent Peer Specialist exams, you can apply by visiting the CPPS exam application page.

The applicant information section at the links above can be submitted electronically. Payment must be submitted separately. If you cannot submit the applicant information section electronically, it needs to be printed, signed and mailed with payment and required documentation.

Please submit the $50.00 exam registration fee and required documentation to:

UW -Milwaukee School of Continuing Education
Gloria T. Lane
161 W. Wisconsin Ave. Suite 6000 Milwaukee, WI 53203-2602

Check is to be made out to:
UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education

Your form and $50 fee must be postmarked no later than the exam application deadline found on our exams page.

I’m a CPS and need official documentation of the 2020 recertification deadline extension. Where can I find this?

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has issued a letter for your use. This may be necessary especially if you work in Comprehensive Community Services (CCS). Please see that letter here:

Has the recertification deadline changed for Certified Peer Specialists due to COVID-19?

After initially deciding to keep the August 30th recertification deadline in place, we have since reviewed this decision and discussed possible changes to the 2020 CPS recertification deadline with Wisconsin Department of Health Services and UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education in light of public health crisis.

We are offering a 6-month extension for those who were scheduled to recertify as Certified Peer Specialists in August of 2020. The new CPS recertification deadline (for those whose certificates expire this year) will be February 28th, 2021.

You have until that date to send in required forms and checks to UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education. Upon recertifying by the end of February in 2021, your next recertification date will be August 30th, 2022.

Please note: This deadline extension does not automatically recertify you. It is the responsibility of each Certified Peer Specialist to send in required forms and payment by February 28th, 2021 in order to recertify.

What counts as viable opportunity for continuing my education as a CPS/CPPS?

Please keep in mind that to use continuing education opportunities for recertification purposes the organization hosting the opportunity will have to provide you with a certificate or document that lists the number of continuing education hours that you have received. It is your responsibility to acquire documentation of continuing education hours. CPS continuing education requirements can be found here. CPPS continuing education requirements can be found here.

The requirements linked above detail the six areas (for CPS) or 4 areas (for CPPS) you need to cover in your continuing education for recertification. Reading through the title and description of a given continuing education opportunity should give you an idea as to not only if it's relevant to your role but which of the six areas it might best fall under.

Webinars, conference sessions or breakouts, in-person and virtual trainings, as well as our own Community of Practice gatherings that cover material related to a topic area for CPS/CPPS recertification, oftentimes serve as appropriate options for continuing education.

Reading books, viewing youtube videos or TED Talks, or other videos related to the required topic areas for CPS/CPPS continuing educaiton do not qualify for recertification purposes. Also, college courses cannot be used for recertification purposes.

Please know that not every continuing education opportunity we send out on our contact list or post on social media fits in neatly with the role of a Certified Peer Specialist or Certified Parent Peer Specialist. Sometimes offerings we share fall in a category of, “this could be helpful information on the trajectory and components of service systems, but people should be bringing a critical analysis and peer support lens to explore its applicability or not to CPS/CPPS services."

When attending continuing education opportunities, please keep in mind the guiding ethical principle of self-determination for CPS/CPPS, how we see our peers as the experts in their own experiences, the value of multiple pathways to recovery, as well as the differences between “helping” and connective support without undue influence on the lives and choices of our peers.

How do I get recertified?

​Achieving recertification as either a Certified Peer Specialist or Certified Parent Peer Specialist requires engaging in a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education. CPS continuing education requirements can be found here. CPPS continuing education requirements can be found here.

Please return recertification form(s) and the $50.00 recertification fee to:

UW -Milwaukee School of Continuing Education
Gloria T. Lane
161 W. Wisconsin Ave. Suite 6000
Milwaukee, WI 53203-2602

Check is to be made out to:
UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education

Your form and $50 fee must be postmarked no later than the recertification deadline.

How often do I need to get recertified?

Certified Peer Specialists and Certified Parent Peer Specialists are required to recertify every two years in order to keep certification valid. If you completed and passed your exam during an odd year (eg. 2017), you would need to apply for recertification in the next odd year (eg. 2019).

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