Career Advancement

Pennsylvania’s Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) along with it’s training partners and service delivery system have worked and continue to work to create career opportunities for peers in a wide variety of services. To this end, in addition to the standard two-week certification course and two-day supervisor’s training a number of skill enhancement trainings have been created to prepare Pennsylvania Peer Specialists to work with specific populations. Descriptions for the current enhanced training opportunities are below. As new ones are developed they will be added to this page.

CPSs in Crisis Services Training

This training was developed in a partnership between OMHSAS, the Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition, Temple University, Allegheny County, and Delaware County. It was created to give Certified Peer Specialists basic background knowledge and skills to prepare them to be employed in any of the four defined crisis services in Pennsylvania (telephone, walk-in, mobile, residential).

Topics Include: Mental Health Procedures Act, Defining Crisis, Communication as an Intervention Tool, De-escalation, Polyvagal Theory, Suicide Assessment and Prevention, Self-Care

Training Length: Three Days

Training Vendor: Pennsylvania Peer Support Coalition


Certified Older Adult Peer Specialists Training

This training will prepare current CPSs to utilize existing experience, skills and training to work with Older Adults living with behavioral health disorders. Training will include an understanding of mental health and co-occurring issues as they relate to aging issues.  Peers will increase their level of expertise while gaining specialized techniques that support Older Adults.

Topics Include: Demographics, Special Consideration in Working with Older Adults, Culture and Aging, Specific Diagnosis as they Relate to the Older Adult Population

Training Leangth: Three Days

Training Vendor: PA Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition


Transitional Age Youth CPS Training

Young people who are leaving the children’s mental health or other child serving systems frequently are left with little to no supports as they navigate a new world of service delivery.  Providing peer supports for this population requires a generational lens as well as an understanding of the intersections that define systems of care.  This course is designed to support the transition from adolescence to adulthood through a deeper understanding of the interplay of individuals and the systems.

Training Length: Two Days

Training Vendor: Institute for Recovery and Community Integration

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Forensic CPS Training

Veterans CPS Training