Iowa Peer and Family Peer Support Specialist Training Program

In February of 2015, the Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS) contracted with the University of Iowa’s (UI) Division of Child & Community Health (DCCH) to train the Peer Support and Family Peer Support workforce in Iowa.  During this six year project, DCCH will collaborate with key stakeholders to develop curricula, conduct training, educate supervisors, provide continuing education and make recommendations about certification.

Certification is not a requirement for employment as a Peer Support or Family Peer Support Specialist in Iowa at this time.

Certification for Peer Support Specialists

MHPSS – No New Applications after 6/30/18

IBC will be accepting new applications for MHPSS (Mental Health Peer Support Specialist) through June 30, 2018.  Effective July 1, 2018 Peer Support Specialists will need to apply for the PRS (Peer Recovery Specialist) credential.  The PRS requires 6 additional hours of ethics over and above the Peer Support training, plus some additional experience and supervision, and passing the IC&RC computer-based exam

This does NOT affect current MHPSS’s by 6/30/18, and those already certified as a MHPSS may continue to recertify with their MHPSS.

The PRS credential is reciprocal with other IC&RC states that also hold this credential (25 at this time) which allows a Peer Support Specialist to use the reciprocity process when moving to a new state.  IBC also believes the PRS credential shows an additional level of experience, supervision and education, as well as expertise evidenced by passing the international IC&RC exam.  To read more about the IC & RC PRS credential click on the link below to see a fact sheet:

ICRC_Fact Sheet_Final

Click the link below to go to the IBC website where you will find information regarding the process for pursuing each of those certifications.  In order to be certified, you must complete the 40 Peer Support Specialist Training program.

Certification for Family Peer Support Specialists

As part of our work, we will be developing recommendations to the State (IDHS) for establishing a new certification process for Family Peer Support Specialists.  This process will include working with the Family Peer Support Advisory Committee, current Family Peer Support Specialists and other stakeholders to agree on competencies, finalize the curriculum, evaluate training, and determine continuing education needs. Check back for updates regarding Family Peer Support Specialist certification.

Are you already  certified by the Iowa Board of Certification as a Peer Support Specialist?

If you currently hold the Certified Mental Health Peer Support Specialist (CMHPSS) certification through the Iowa Board of Certification your certification will remain valid.  You can choose to pursue the Peer Recovery Specialist certification but it is not necessary to have both certifications.

If you have a certificate of completion from a Peer Support Specialist training, that is not the same as a certification.  You will need to complete the certification process set out by the Iowa Board of Certification.

Will your certification be recognized in another state if you leave Iowa?

Peer Support Specialists

Currently there are not national training standards or a national certification for Peer Support Specialists.  This means there is not a way for your training or certification to be automatically recognized in another state.

The Iowa Board of Certification has a certification for Peer Recovery Specialists through the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) that allows for reciprocity in locations that accept the IC&RC credentials.

Family Peer Support Specialists

While the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health does have a national certification, it is not widely recognized at this time. http://www.ffcmh.org/certification

For either role, to determine whether your training and/or certification would be recognized in another area, you would need to make contacts there. Many states have their own requirements for certifying Peer and Family Peer Support Specialists.