Becoming Employed

Paid positions for Certified Peer Support Specialists continue to grow throughout Pennsylvania. In 2007 Pennsylvania received approval to implement a service called Peer Support Services. Peer Support Services are now a required Medicaid service in Pennsylvania. This means the service must be available in every county in the state. And that means there are jobs for Certified Peer Specialists in every county.

This does not, however, mean that everyone who becomes a Certified Peer Specialist must work in a Medicaid-billable Peer Support Services program. Many people who complete the certification training find other jobs in the mental health system. Certified Peer Specialists work in a variety of settings, including residential programs, hospitals, warmlines, psychiatric rehabilitation programs, consumer and family satisfaction teams, advocacy organizations, and drop-in centers.

The skills taught in the certification training are valuable skills in any mental-health related job.

Visit the PA Peer Support Coalitions’ Job Bank for available positions throughout Pennsylvania.

Information about civil service employment

Pennsylvania has created a civil service classification for Certified Peer Support Specialists. It should be noted that if you submit a Civil Service application with a Certified Peer Specialist Training Certificate, no testing is required to qualify for Civil Service Peer Specialist positions. The civil service classification allows Certified Peer Specialists to work as government employees in state hospitals and in some county MH/DS offices.

Certified Peer Specialists who work in civil service positions generally do the same kind of work that Certified Peer Specialists do in non-civil service positions: supporting individuals with a mental illness.

To learn more about civil service and how to apply, visit Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission Website.

Seeking employment in PA – reciprocity with other states

To be certified as a peer specialist in Pennsylvania you must have received the certification training from one of two training vendors: Recovery Opportunity Center or the Institute for Recovery and Community Integration. For more information visit the Training Vendors in PA page on this Web site. If you have received peer support training from one of these vendors, you may be able to transfer your peer specialist certification from another state to Pennsylvania.

If you received peer support training from a different vendor, there is no reciprocity for certification. You will need to take certification training through one of the Pennsylvania-approved vendors to receive certification.

Other states may or may not recognize the Pennsylvania Peer Specialist Certification. If you are a Pennsylvania Certified Peer Specialist, and you want to relocate or work in another state, it is up to that state to decide whether your certification can be transferred.

Get notified!

As a benefit of membership of the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition, you will be notified of upcoming trainings and job opportunities in Pennsylvania. Join today.