Certified Peer Counselor Training

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Certified Peer Couselors Build a Stronger, More Resilient Workforce

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In-Person CPC Training

The Behavioral Health Workforce Collaborative provides Certified Peer Counselor trainings for youth and family members across Washington State. Certified Peer Counselors are people who have experienced mental illness in their own lives and are living in recovery, and so model competency in ongoing coping and recovery skills. They help people identify goals that promote recovery and resiliency and assist them in identifying services and activities to help them reach these goals. 

Certified Peer Counselors work with their peers (adults and youth) and the parents of children receiving mental health services to promote recovery and resiliency. They draw upon their own experiences to help peers find hope and make progress toward recovery. 

Because of their own life experience, Certified Peer Counselors are uniquely equipped to provide support, encouragement, and resources to those with mental health challenges.

How to Complete the Online Certified Peer Counseling Course

We hope you will find the online pre-requisite training course to be a positive and helpful experience. Completing the course is important to gaining the knowledge and skills you will need as a Certified Peer Counselor (CPC).  

There is much information in the online course, including material that is not covered in the 40-hour in-person training. The CPC test covers information from both the in-person and the online course. Please complete the online course thoroughly, take notes, and review the information as you are able.

When you have completed the online course, please email a copy of your certificate to mcdonja2@dshs.wa.gov. We must have a record of completing the course before confirming registration to any in-person class. This applies to the youth and family training and the standard, adult training.

Full Requirements to Qualify for the In-Person Certified Peer Counselor Course

Certification has three steps:

1. Apply and be accepted to a training. Click here to access online application.
2. Successfully complete a 40-hour approved training.
3. Pass the state exam.

Beginning in July of 2016, you will need to complete our online training class and send in completion certificates with your application. Upon passing the CPC test, applicants will receive a letter confirming they have met certification requirements. It should be noted that many employers also require licensure from the Department of Health as an Agency Affiliated Counselor after being hired. Employers are generally knowledgeable about this process, or employees may contact the Department of Health directly. This licensure is only required for individuals providing Medicaid billable services. 

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Self-identify as a consumer who is receiving or has received mental health services. For a child under the age of thirteen, or for a child age thirteen or older whose parents or legal guardians are involved in the treatment plan, the definition of consumer includes parents or legal guardians. The mental health services they have received can be either privately funded (insurance) or publicly funded (Medicaid).
  • Demonstrate that they have been well grounded in their own mental health recovery for at least one year at the time of application
  • Receive specialized training approved by the state  - the training is free
  • Pass a written and oral exam administered by the State - the exam is free
  • After having successfully passed the exam, one is considered “Qualified to be a Certified Peer Counselor.” To be officially considered a Certified Peer Counselor requires registering with the Washington State Department of Health as an Agency Affiliated Counselor. This requires one to be employed by a  community mental health agency.
  • Complete Peer Counselor Training for Certification