Peer Specialist Training and Certification

Peer Specialist Training and Certification

Becoming a credentialed Peer Support Specialist

Since 2010, Via Hope has provided an ongoing training program for Peer Specialists in Texas.  More than 2,000 individuals have started their peer support journey with Via Hope, and we hope to see that number continue to grow as peer support services become more available to all Texans.

Effective January 1, 2019, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission implemented a new peer support benefit for the state Medicaid Program and developed a Peer Specialist certification track for the state of Texas.  Via Hope is committed to training excellence and has adapted its training approach so that anyone who completes Via Hope’s peer specialist training will be eligible to apply for the state certification. Once certified, individuals will have the credential of Mental Health Peer Specialist (MHPS) or Recovery Support Peer Specialist (RSPS).

At this time Via Hope offers the following certification trainings:

  • Peer Support Core Training (pre-requisite to certification trainings)
  • Mental Health Peer Specialist Training
  • Peer Specialist Supervisor Training
  • Reentry Peer Specialist Training

Steps to Certification

The following steps must be completed in order to be eligible for state certification.

  1. Review the online orientation materials and complete the self-assessment. You must acknowledge at the end that you have reviewed the materials.  This will enable you to apply for training on the Core Principles of Peer Support (“Core” training). The materials will be available on the Via Hope Calendar Events page for each session of the Core Training.
  2. Apply and take the Core training. Complete the application and submit along with payment by credit card.  Application for the Core training is not a competitive process; all eligible applicants are accepted. The current fee is $250 (no refunds).The Core training is a 3 day, facilitated and interactive webinar.  You must register at least one week prior to the next scheduled training.  Once your application and payment are received by Via Hope, you will be sent an email with instructions for logging onto the training. At the end of the Core training is a short knowledge assessment. Once you complete and pass the knowledge assessment you will be able to apply for supplemental training.
  3. Apply for the supplemental training in either mental health or substance use peer support specialist. The training to become a MHPS (Mental Health Peer Specialist) is a competitive process.  If you are accepted, you will be sent an invoice for payment by credit card and information about the training.  The current registration fee is $650.  The supplemental training is a five day, 40 hour, classroom style training held in various cities around the state.  Refer to our training calendar for details here. At the end of the supplemental training, you will get an email with a link to take an online knowledge assessment.  Once you complete and pass the knowledge assessment you will receive instructions for downloading and printing a confirmation that you have successfully completed all the steps in the training process.  You will need this document to apply for certification.
  4. Apply for certification with (TCB) Texas Certification Board: Here  Refer to their websites for information on how to apply, what documentation is needed, and the cost. Via Hope is not involved in this Certification process and cannot provide any additional information. The initial certification is valid for six months. During this time, you must complete 250 hours of supervised work experience.  You may then apply for re-certification for a full two year certification period.

Orientation and application for Core Training can be found on the Calendar, by selecting the Core Training session for which you wish to apply. Materials and application will be available between the dates listed on the event page for the session you wish to attend. 

Upcoming MHPS Trainings

Via Hope is offering the Mental Health Peer Specialist training online. While the content of the training will not change the delivery method will vary. This means that the content will be provided via Zoom technology, through online discussion threads, and short interactive breakout sessions online. 

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has introduced “Start My VR” an online self-referral portal for prospective vocational rehabilitation customers, providing a convenient way for individuals with disabilities who are seeking employment to inquire about Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services and/or be connected to a VR staff member. Once the form is completed, a staff member will contact them to begin the VR process.

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