The NCCPSS Program defines Peer Support Specialists as people living in recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorder who support others who can benefit from their experiences. The Program certifies persons with lived recovery experience in Serious Mental Illness (SMI), Substance Use Disorders (SUD), or both. Please see the eligibility tab for more information on the criteria for certification, definitions of serious mental illness, substance use disorders, and recovery.


The NCCPSS Program certifies persons who meet the eligibility criteria in recovery from a significant mental illness and/or substance use disorder. Certification means that the Program acknowledges that the peer has met the requirements to support individuals with mental health or substance use disorder. The Program certifies peers for two years, and CPSS is responsible for maintaining their certification by renewing their certificate by the due date. 

Reciprocity with Other States

The NCCPSS Program does not accept certification from other states. Thus, the Program does not have reciprocity with other states regarding certification. CPSS from other states MUST follow the requirements for certification to process their NC certification.

Application Submission

The NCCPSS Program has two options for receiving applications:

  • Online
  • Mail

Applications are only accepted by mail or online processes. Please Do NOT bring applications to the office! Your application will NOT be accepted in person. There is NO exception to this policy. 

Application Processing Timeline

Please note that due to the high influx of applications, the processing time depends on how you submit (online or by mail) a complete application packet. Incomplete applications will delay the process. To check the status of your certification/recertification, please visit the Credential Verification page and search your name to verify.

Incomplete Applications

Applicants unable to complete their certification within six (6) months of beginning the certification process will have to resubmit their application (provide all documents needed for certification) as a new certification. 


The NCCPSS Program mails approved certificates to the address submitted by the applicant on the application form. If an applicant changes address while processing certification, they MUST contact the Program to update their information to ensure timely receipt of their certificate. The Program staff will make ONE attempt to contact an applicant regarding a returned certificate.

Designation (Optional)

Applicants interested in the Military designation may review the information under the requirements for the required documentation. Other designations (such as COAPS) require applicants to be a CPSS before completing training for that designation.