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Paying for Certification Training

There are several ways to pay for Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) training in Pennsylvania. There are a number of programs and organizations that sponsor Peer Support Specialists certification training, continuing education classes, and supervisor training classes. A few of the ways to pay for certification training include:

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR)

The Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) helps people with disabilities prepare for and achieve an employment goal. OVR has fifteen offices located throughout Pennsylvania. If you qualify for OVR services, OVR may pay up to $900 for you to receive certification training. It is up to each OVR office to decide if they will pay for someone's training. To find out if you qualify for OVR services, contact the OVR office near you.

County Mental Health and Developmental Services

Your county MH/DS program office is another source of possible funding.

Some county MH/DS offices contract with the CPS training vendors to provide a CPS class in that county. When this happens, a county purchases an entire class (20 seats) from a training vendor. The county then accepts applications from people who want to attend the training. In these cases, the training is usually only open to people who reside in that county. The people who attend these "county-based" trainings do not have to find funding for their training, because the county has already paid for the entire class.

Other MH/DS offices provide funds for individuals to attend a CPS training class outside the county.

To find contact information for your county's MH/DS office visit MH/DS Program Administrators Association of PA Web site.

Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations

Behavioral Health Care Managed Organizations sometimes provide partial or complete funding for Peer Support Specialist certification for individuals who live in their service areas. Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations in Pennsylvania include:

Also, Capital Area Behavioral Health Collaborative and Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania sometimes provides funding for Peer Specialist training for individuals in their service areas.

Employer Supported

Some mental health agencies that employ Peer Support Specialists provide career support and assistance by paying their certification training fees. At times an agency may be willing to hire someone who does not already have the certification to work in a peer support services program and will then pay to send that person to the certification training.

If you want to work as a Peer Support Specialist, but you do not have the certification, this might be an option for you. You can apply for Peer Specialist jobs and negotiate with the potential employer to hire you and then pay for your certification training. However, be aware that as the number of Certified Peer Specialists increases, this option becomes less likely. More and more agencies will not employ someone to work in a peer support program if they don't already have the certification.

Self Pay

Individuals seeking certification can also choose to pay for training. Typical costs for completion of the certification program in Pennsylvania range from $800-$1200. The exact cost varies with each class, and depends on the training vendor, the class size, and the location. This does not include travel costs.