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Welcome to the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Services

Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services


Certified Peer Specialist Training

The next CPS training sessions will begin Sept. 9.

Applications for this training period are being accepted through July 26.

PDF application | Word document application

Applications must be downloaded and submitted along with all required attachments via email to DBHIDS.PeerCulture@phila.gov.

Applicants for all classes must attend Storytelling training. Visit HealthyMindsPhilly.org to learn when storytelling training is available.

If you are interested in being trained to be a Certified Peer Specialist, please bookmark this page and continue to check for updates. Information about the application process will be available during the next open CPS training enrollment process.

For more information about CPS, contact DBHIDS PCCI at DBHIDS.PeerCulture@phila.gov.

If you have questions, please contact Cathy Washington at 215-685-5415 or cathy.washington@phila.gov; or Joann Mills at 215-685-4984 or Joann.Mills-Johnson@phila.gov.

CPS training is also available through OVR (call 215-560-1900) or MHP (call 215-751-1800).


What is a Peer Specialist?

A Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is a person who is willing to self-identify as a person with a serious behavioral health disorder (mental illness, or co-occurring disorder) with lived experiences. To be certified, the person must have received specific training in the role, functions and skills of the Certified Peer Specialist position. The purpose of a Certified Peer Specialist is to support others in their recovery process. This relationship between peers is characterized by mutual trust and respect, sharing of experiences, learning about the recovery process, supporting the peer in multiple settings, achieving goals and moving toward a more meaningful life in the community.

Who can become a Peer Specialist?

Certified Peer Specialists will be reimbursed through HealthChoices and the requirements for this position are based on the State guidelines for CPS qualifications.


In accordance to the OMHSAS definition of CPS, DBHIDS requires applicants to meet the criteria listed below:

  • A self-identified current or former user of mental health or co-occurring services who can relate to others who are now using those services
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Demonstrated proficiency in reading and writing
  • Within the last three years has 12 months (not necessarily consecutive) full or part-time paid or volunteer work experience; one year of college or other educational experience (within the last three years) can be substituted for the work experience
  • Ability to establish trusting relationships with their peers
  • Commitment to recovery, choice, and empowerment
How can I apply?

CPS training applications will be posted during application period.

  • Attach proof of your mental health services for a serious mental illness
  • A copy of your High School Diploma/GED
  • Verification of 12 month work activity
  • Proof of Philadelphia residency
  • A current resume
  • A professional letter of recommendation
  • A copy of a Story-Telling or Family Story-Telling Training

Applicants for any class must attend Storytelling training. Please go to healthymindsphilly.org to learn when the next opportunity for storytelling training is. For questions regarding CPS please email: DBHIDS.PeerCulture@phila.gov.

Last modified: Jul 16, 2024 @ 9:27 am