Who can become a Certified Peer Support Specialist?

Anyone living or working in North Dakota, who is over the age of 18, self-identifies as an individual in recovery from a mental health disorder, substance use disorder, brain injury, or any combination thereof: or a family member who has personal lived experience with an individual with a mental health disorder, substance use disorder, brain injury, or any combination thereof and has completed the education and training requirements. Please see the checklist for certification eligibility document for full eligibility requirements. Insert link

How long does it take to process my certification application?

Please allow up to 30 business days for your application for certification to be processed and for you to receive notification.

How do I know if my peer support training program is division approved?

If you completed a training other than the training program offered through the North Dakota Department of Human Services, Behavioral Health Division, please submit your certificate of completion along with the curriculum objectives and any other accompanying materials to

I am certified in another state, will I automatically be certified in North Dakota?

No, you will still need to complete the application process for certification for North Dakota.

What is the difference between a CPSS I and a CPSS II?

A Certified Peer Support Specialist II is a peer support specialist who has 1500 hours of direct service hours as a peer support specialist and can serve as supervisor for a CPSS I.

If I was a certified peer support specialist in another state and want to become a CPSS II in North Dakota, can I?

If you meet the eligibility criteria of a CPSS II you can apply, we will accept your direct service hours that were provided in another state. Please ensure that you have verification of your direct service hours.

How can I verify my direct service hours working as a peer support specialist?

Please submit the Peer Support II Work/Volunteer Hours Verification” form. A supervisor from the agency or agencies where you provided direct services will need to review and provide and their contact information on the form. Please review the template for verification of direct service hours for more information.

How do I demonstrate an ability to read and write at a level proficient enough for training, documentation, and the type of work peer support will require?

By completing the application and writing a personal statement, your ability to read, write and document at a level proficient for peer support work will be shown.

I’m applying for certification as a family member of a person living with mental health or substance abuse. I’m struggling with how to apply the word “recovery” to my personal statement.

The definition of recovery used by the Behavioral Health Division, as found in NDCC 75-03-43-01.6 states, “Recovery” means a process of change through which individuals improve the individual’s health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach the individual’s potential.” Your personal statement should include information detailing how you have supported your family member’s recovery process for a year or longer. This does not require that your family member has remained in recovery for a year or longer, rather identifying how you have supported that family member’s recovery process for a year. If you have further questions, please contact

I don’t currently live in North Dakota but an agency in North Dakota wants to hire me to work as a peer support specialist. What should I do?

Please obtain a copy of the employment offer in North Dakota and upload with your application under Part III eligibility.

What if I work for an organization in Minnesota/Montana/South Dakota, can I still be certified?

If your agency services North Dakota residents, you are eligible for certification in North Dakota. Please answer this application question as “yes” under Part III Eligibility Criteria that states, “Do you work for or have a job offer at an organization that services North Dakota residents?”

Do I have to use the templates provided for the reference letters, personal statement and verification of peer support service hours?

Yes, please use these templates, it ensures that we receive all required components per administrative rule.

Once I am certified, how do I get a job as a Peer Support Specialist?

As a certified peer support specialist, you will want to keep in contact with local organizations, search job postings and follow the North Dakota Peer Support group on Facebook. The Behavioral Health Division will provide a list of certified peer support specialists in North Dakota to any employer that requests this information.

If I need help with my certification application, or have questions who can I reach out to?

Please email