Certified Peer Specialist Training Dates & Information

Upcoming CPS Trainings:
(There is no cost for the training, exams, or materials)


Class 1 (Summer) 
ONLINE via Zoom 2 times a week – Tuesdays & Thursdays
July 9, 11, 16, 18,  23, 25, 30 and August 1, 6, 8, 13
Application is now closed


Class 2 (Fall)
ONLINE via Zoom 2 times a week 
September 20, 23, 24, 30 and October 1, 7, 8, 15, 16, 21, 22
The Class 2 application is now open until July 26th at 5 pm


2024 / 2025

Class 3 (Winter)
ONLINE via Zoom 2 times a week – Mondays & Wednesdays
December 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18 and January 8, 13, 15, 22
You may apply for this training from Oct 29th – Nov 8th
Class 4 (Winter)
ONLINE via Zoom 2 times a week – Tuesdays & Thursdays
December 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19 and Jan 7, 9, 14, 16, 22
You may apply for this training from Oct 29th – Nov 8th



Class 5
(HYBRID Locations TBD)
11 consecutive business days
February 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25
You may apply for this training from November 6 though November 20, 2024


 Class 6
(In Person Location TBD)
2 times a week – Mondays and Wednesdays
April 28, 30 –  May 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 28 – June 2, 4
You may apply for this training from December 23, 2024 – Jan 6, 2025


 *All classes are from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm*
** There is no cost for classes, exams, or materials **
*** Class dates and/or formats are subject to change ***

Need to reach us? Contact us at 617-807-0222

Certified Peer Specialist Training Program

Welcome! We are pleased to provide you with information about the CPS program.

Click the link to go to the section:
About the MA CPS Training Program Demonstrated Student Skills CPS Eligibility Requirements Preparing for the CPS Program CPS Success Factors Steps to Apply and Quicklinks Other FAQs


This is a rigorous training for people preparing for a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) role in the community or service system. CPS is not an entry-level position and the training is designed for people who have some knowledge and have their own experience with mental health peer support. A CPS has been trained to share their experiences of healing with trauma, a mental health diagnosis, services, and support and to carry the message that “Healing is a Self-Determined Process.” In sharing our wisdom, strength, and hope with others (including people using services, mental health professionals and policy makers) CPSs can significantly impact peoples’ beliefs about their own capacity to heal and the capacity of others to heal with the experiences they’ve lived through. The CPS program includes classes that covers 24+ modules, small group activities and homework. The course supports students to inspire hope in people they support and work with. After completing the class, students are eligible to take a written examination in order to become certified.

  • The Three Core Competencies: 1) Peer Support, 2) “In” but not “Of” the System, 3) Change Agent
  • Peer Support, Mutual, Survivor Movement History
  • Advanced Fundamentals of Peer Support
  • Human Experience Language
  • Cross-Cultural Partnering
  • Fear: Friend and Foe
  • Group Facilitation and Self-Help Tools
  • Power, Conflict and Integrity
  • Creating the Life One Wants

Final decisions take into account our mandate to compose a class that includes diverse perspectives and world views, and makes admission a priority for people currently employed as a CPS.


The application process considers the following as success factors for CPS training and in the CPS role:

  • Demonstrates a foundation of knowledge and experience in mental health peer support relationships and understands the peer specialist role in the mental health system.
  • Has basic knowledge about the differences between a maintenance-based mental health system and one that is recovery-oriented.
  • Has knowledge of self-healing process through personal lived experience in mental health and experience with leadership, advocacy, or other mental health peer support.
  • Is committed to completing the CPS course, taking the CPS exam, and working as a CPS in mental health and other service systems.
  • It is helpful to have completed at least two peer trainings before taking the CPS course. If you’ve had peer support experiences that are not listed in the application, you may explain these in your interview.

There are many resources available that will help you assess your skills in one-on-one and group peer support settings so you may become an agent for change and share your story (links below):

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | CPS Self-Assessment | Code of Ethics | Preparation Manual

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Live or work in Massachusetts
  • High School Diploma or equivalent (GED, HiSET, etc)
  • Have your own lived experience with significant life impacts like trauma, receiving a mental health diagnosis.
  • Willingness to share your own mental health recovery story in the context of peer support
  • Review “CPS Eligibility Requirements” above.
  • Assess your readiness for CPS Training using the “CPS Training Self-assessmentTraining Self Assessment CPS CPS SELF ASSESSMENT ASSESSMENT”
Letters of Recommendation

Tips on references:   Two references are required. 

We encourage you to request references as soon as you receive the reference email.  Some applicants request references from more than two people to insure they are done  by no later than 2 business days before the interview date.

References should be from  professionals who know you:   Describing your professional experience and or your work ethics related to your involvement in Peer work.  Potential references include employers, volunteers, supervisors, educators, or other people that know you professionally.  We are interested in your ability to form supportive relationships and any experience you have with peer support.  We expect one of the references to be from a Certified Peer Specialist.  Family members may not provide recommendations.  Recommendations from treatment providers detailing your “mental health diagnosis” and treatment are discouraged.

         The Application is a 3 step process
*Your ability to follow the instructions on how to apply is part of our selection process.
  1.  COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION HERE –After you submit the application, you will get an email from “The Kiva Centers” with a link to schedule an interview. (Check your spam file if you do not receive a confirmation email.)
  2.  Schedule your interview –From the email confirmation (stated above) click the link to schedule your interview.  After you schedule your interview, you will get an email from “The Kiva Centers” with a confirmation of your interview date and an email to forward to 2 individuals who can give you a reference. (for more information on who to use as a reference look on left on Tips on references.)(Check your spam file if you do not receive a confirmation email.)
  3. Forward the  “reference email” — to two people who will give you an reference.
    for the training
Apply Here

For currently enrolled students:

Kiva Academy

Other FAQs



No! Peer Support relationships change lives and foster self-healing anywhere that people seek and give support based on shared experiences. There are far more opportunities and places to offer peer support than there are paid roles for Certified Peer Specialists. Peer support happens informally and in paid and volunteer roles that do not require CPS training and certification. Peer support training is offered through a variety of organizations for people with or without experience with peer support. Many provide a certificate of completion or offer their own certification program, for example, Regional Recovery Learning Communities (RLCs) who offer a variety of peer support trainings.


See the top of the page for a list.

Kiva CPS Team
C4 Innovations

Kiva Centers is pleased to partner with C4 Innovations to develop CPS Training Programs for the Commonwealth

To reach CPS, contact us at 617-807-0222 or email us at cps@kivacenters.org