Paying for Training
There are several ways to pay for Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) training in Pennsylvania. 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 Managed Care 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:
- Beacon Health Options
- Community Care Behavioral Health
- Magellan Health Services of Pennsylvania
Also, Capital Area Behavioral Health Collaborative (CABHC) (Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and Perry counties only) has scholarship opportunities available. Click the below link for a flier with more information:
Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania sometimes provides funding for Peer Specialist training for individuals in their service area as well.
PMHCA Glenn Koons Scholarship
Once a year the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers Association (PMHCA) awards the Glenn Koons scholarship to one individual. For more information on this scholarship opportunity click here.
Community Support Program (CSP)
The Community Support Program, or CSP, of Pennsylvania is an alliance of mental health consumers, family members, and professionals working together to aid adults with severe mental illnesses and co-occurring disorders to live successfully in the community. The statewide coalition connects national CSPs with regional and local CSPs throughout the state.
Regional and local CSPs sometimes offer scholarships for various trainings including the two-week training, For more information on CSPs and to locate your regional and local CSP please click here.
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.
Individuals seeking certification can also choose to pay for training. Typical costs for completion of the certification program in Pennsylvania range from $900-$1400. The exact cost varies with each class, and depends on the training vendor, the class size, and the location. This does not include travel or lodging costs.