I submitted an evaluation after the CPS & CPPS Community of Practice. Where is my Certificate of Completion?

We do our best to get Certificates of Completion out to people completing the evaluations as soon as possible after the deadline to submit the evaluation forms passes. Due to fluctuating training and exam schedules, we may not always be able to get them out that same week. You will be emailed a PDF of the Certificate of Completion to the email you provided in your evaluation before the following month's CPS & CPPS Community of Practice gathering.

I have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation. 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.

I have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation. 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.

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

The Wisconsin Peer Specialist Employment Initiative held a Certified Peer Specialist Training of the Trainer (CPS ToT) in August 2021. There are currently no CPS ToT events scheduled. Future CPS ToT events will be posted on this website when they become available in the future.

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 copy of your application and next steps sent to the email you provided in your application. When applications close for a training, trainers will review applications, contact no more than 25 applicants out of the possible applicant pool for virtual interviews, and then select a final cohort of training participants (between 14-18 participants) after conducting virtual interviews. Though a maximum of 25 people will be contacted for virtual 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 minimum of 14 participants and a maximum of 18 participants accepted. Once a training receives a total of 50 applications submitted, that training no longer accepts further applications (exceptions to this include Statewide CPS trainings). 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. 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.

When are the next in-person exams?

Exams will be conducted online and remotely throughout 2022, possibly going in-person in 2023. Online/remote exams are not hosted at Independent Living Centers.

When can I expect to receive my exam results?

Official CPS and CPPS exam results are emailed to you within 30 days of the exam as a PDF exam results letter attachment. 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 (in-person)?

For in-person exams (currently on-hold due to COVID-19), 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.
  • Over 95% of exam participants complete the exam in 2 hours. The 3 hour time block is built in to accommodate time-and-a-half accommodations requests.
  • 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. Please know that as of September 2021, UWM is restructuring the exam registration form. This new form will be available in October 2021. 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.

Is there a requirement for sobriety or a certain amount of time without an inpatient stay for Certified Peer Specialists?

Certified Peer Specialists support people in a self-determined pathway to recovery, wellness, and/or meaningful living. Recovery does not mean only sobriety in Certified Peer Specialist practice. Recovery may also show up as harm reduction pathways, moderation, or just acknowledging the non-linear quality of recovery. It would undermine and contradict this message of supporting many pathways to recovery while also holding CPS to only one pathway or form of recovery. So, no, there is no sobriety requirement for certification or goodness of fit for the role of a peer specialist. However, it should be known that some individual workplaces may have such a requirement in their internal policies. Likewise, there are no requirements for certification or goodness of fit for the role of a peer specialist regarding length since last psychiatric hospital stay or any requirements about use or non-use of psychiatric medication for the same reasons.

What if I miss my recertification date?

Below is the recertification process, including when a deadline is missed:
  • Materials and payment due by (or if sending payment in via check/money order, postmarked by) the recertification deadline date of August 31st in the year due to recertify.
If deadline is missed:
  • There is a 30-day grace period after the recertification deadline (in this grace period, a person may apply for recertification in the same fashion and be recertified with no penalty - their certificate may be slightly delayed as they missed the original deadline).
  • After the 30-day grace period, CPS/CPPS has 6 months from their original recertification deadline date (August 31st) to still send in recertification materials and payment PLUS a $25 additional late processing fee (also payable to UWM-SCE) as long as all materials are received and/or postmarked within 6 months of the original recertification deadline. Total payment for recertification during this time is $75 ($50 recertification fee + $25 additional late processing fee = $75).
  • After 6 months of missing the original recertification deadline (August 31st), CPS/CPPS will then need to re-take the exam and pass to re-certify. CPS/CPPS has 2 attempts to pass exam.
  • If a CPS/CPPS has a lapsed recertification for 2 years or more, they need to retake the training and exam.

Image below reviews the timeline after recertification deadline is missed (click for clearer image):

Can I use a Recovery Coach Professional training to cover all my CPS recertification continuing education requirements?

While completing a Recovery Coach Professional training will meet some of the continuing education hours requirements for recertification as a Certified Peer Specialist, it is insufficient as the only source of continuing education. This is because of the specific nature of different "topic areas" of continuing education outlined in the recertification requirements. For example, the "peer specialist-specific" category would not be met. Additionally, CPS and CPPS should take care that the continuing education hours meeting the "ethics and boundaries" topic area requirement are presented from the lens of a peer specialist or parent peer specialist. Though there are some similarities between a Certified Peer Specialist and Recovery Coach Professional role, they are different enough where the RCP training would not be appropriate for meeting all 20 continuing education hours and the various topic areas for CPS recertification.

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?

As of May 18th, 2021, we have had updates to our recertification process. Please review our Recertification page for more details.

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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