Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification Process

/Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification Process
Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification Process 2018-03-16T21:31:52+00:00
Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Application Checklist
Certification Application
The Code of Ethics
Peer Recovery Supporter Certification Non-Disqualifying Offense Waiver

Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification Process

What is peer support?

Individuals with direct lived experience of a mental health and/or substance use disorder who are in recovery are eligible to apply to become Certified Peer Recovery Supporters.

In Ohio, the definition of recovery is: The personal process of change in which Ohio residents strive to improve their health and wellness, resiliency, and reach their full potential through self-directed actions.

OhioMHAS Peer Recovery Supporter caseload size should not exceed 20 individuals.

Individuals interested in becoming certified need to submit an application packet containing:

  • Completed OhioMHAS Application for Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification
  • Signed copy of the Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Code of Ethics
  • Proof of completion of a 40-hour in-person peer services training OR proof of 3 years of work/volunteer experience as a peer recovery supporter
  • Proof of completion of 16 hours of E-Based Academy Courses.
  • Proof of passage of the Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Exam

Individuals applying for certification must also complete a BCI background check.

e-mail or mail the completed application to:

The PEER Center
Attn: Lisa Kiner
750 E Broad St, STE 100
Columbus, OH 43205


Once The PEER Center has ensured the application packet is complete, their designated staff person will bring the application to OhioMHAS where it will be reviewed for approval. If The PEER Center determines that an application is incomplete they will return it to the applicant for correction.

Examples of approved 40 hour in-person peer services training models include:

  • OhioMHAS Integrated Peer Recovery Supporter Training
  • Appalachian Consulting
  • Arizona Peer Specialist Training
  • Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR)
  • InterNational Association of Peer Specialists (INAPS)
  • Michigan Department of Community Health Peer Support Specialist Training
  • North Carolina Peer Support Specialists training
  • Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Certified Peer Specialist Training

If you have taken or are interested in taking a training not listed, please contact the Bureau of Recovery Supports (ohiopeersupport@mha.ohio.gov) to ensure the training meets core competencies required by OhioMHAS.

The required E-Based Academy courses for individuals applying for the Ohio PEER Recovery Supporter Certification and those who will be supervising Certified Ohio Peer Recovery Supporters are:

  1. Introduction to Peer Recovery Support
  2. History of Addiction for Peer Recovery Supporters
  3. Ethics and Boundaries for Peer Recovery Supporters
  4. History of the CSX Movement for Peer Recovery Supporters
  5. Helpful Tips for Peer Recovery Supporters Entering the Workforce
  6. Health and Wellness in Peer Recovery Support
  7. Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Addiction Recovery
  8. Human Trafficking Training for Peer Recovery Supporters
  9. Supervision for Peer Recovery Supporters
  10. Trauma Informed Care in Peer Recovery Support
  11. Ohio S-BIRT: An Introduction to S-BIRT and Motivational Interviewing

These 11 courses are a total of 16 hours of E-Based learning. Individuals who completed the OhioMHAS Integrated Peer Supporter Training prior to September 2016 have already completed 12 of the required 16 hours. To complete the remaining 4 hours, these individuals must complete the Ethics and Boundaries for Peer Recovery Supporters and Supervision for Peer Recovery Supporters courses.

The E-Based Academy maybe be accessed at: http://www.ebasedacademy.org/lms/. E-Based Academy courses are free of charge. For clinicians who will be supervising Certified Ohio Peer Recovery Supporters, you may earn 14 CEUs for completing the E-Based Academy courses.

OhioMHAS is pleased to announce that individuals with a direct lived experience of a mental health or substance use disorder who are interested, may now take the Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification Exam on-line. The on-line version is the same as the in-person version with the same parameters. Test takers will have a maximum of 3 hours to complete the exam and will need a passing score of 70%.

If you are interested in taking the exam, and have completed the OhioMHAS Integrated Model Training, please e-mail Terri Gales at Terri.Gales@mha.ohio.gov. Please include your first and last name and state that you are interested in taking the exam.

If you are interested in taking the exam, and have completed another 40 hour training or are using work/volunteer experience in lieu of the 40-hour training, please email Mindy Vance at mindy.vance@mha.ohio.gov. Please include your first and last name and state that you are interested in taking the exam.

Once we receive your e-mail, an account will be created for you and a link to the test with your individual password will be sent directly to you.

For reasonable accommodations; please e-mail peerservices@mha.ohio.gov and we will work with you to make alternative arrangements.

Individuals interested in applying to become an Ohio Certified Peer Recovery Supporter must complete a Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI) background check within 30 days of submitting their application.

To find a location in your community that can create a BCI report, please visit the Ohio Attorney General’s Website. For those who are currently unemployed, please complete a Community Family Partnership Team (CFPT) application to cover the cost of the BCI. Individuals will be reimbursed provided funds are available.

Individuals who are multi-state offenders, meaning they have been convicted of a felony/misdemeanor in another state (or Federal in state convictions), , must also complete an FBI background check.

All BCI and FBI checks must be mailed directly from the authorized BCI office to The PEER Center per state requirements. This ensures the authenticity of the document.

Please have BCI/FBI reports mailed to:

The PEER Center
750 E Broad St, STE 100
Columbus, OH 43205

Reason Codes

When completing a BCI check, individuals should choose “other” when asked for a “reason code.” Then use code “NO ORC” and specify the reason as “Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Certification.” Individuals completing an FBI check must use code “NCPA/VA” which is the “Volunteer with Children Act.” Although peer recovery supporters will not be working with children, using this code will run the correct type of background check.

Background checks which are submitted from offices other than the Ohio Attorney General or who do not follow the procedures above will not be accepted.

FBI Rapsheet Request

In certain cases, the FBI report, will state “may not meet employment qualifications.”

OhioMHAS does not have its own “reason code” for FBI checks, so we use the default “Volunteer with Children Act” code.  Peer recovery supporters do not work with children, but this is the only option open to us.  Unfortunately, sometimes, thinking that you are trying to work with children causes the FBI to “lock” the report.

The work around that OhioMHAS and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office have come up with for a locked report is for you to obtain your (free) FBI rapsheet.

You can still be certified, and to complete the certification process, you need to submit a copy of your FBI rap sheet.  Due to federal regulations, this document cannot be sent directly to us, but must be requested and received by you.  Please follow the instructions on this report to receive your FBI rap sheet.

Please note:  the “Request for Release:  FBI Rap Sheet” form is created by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.  The AG’s office has let us know that the fax number contained on the form is no longer a working number.  Although they have not yet corrected their form, we have been told that you should to fax this request form to 1-866-750-0214.

Once you receive the rapsheet, please forward it to The PEER Center.

Criminal Convictions

Individuals who have been convicted of one of the 36 “Disqualifying Offenses” cannot become Ohio Certified Peer Recovery Supporters. A complete list of disqualifying offense is displayed below.

Individuals who have had any other type of criminal conviction within three years of the date of application need to complete and sign a Non-Disqualifying Offense Waiver.

Individuals who are currently under probation or parole, will have to wait until their probation/parole has been fulfilled, to submit materials for certification.

Professional licensure and certification bodies have clear standardized expectations to ensure individuals adhere to professional standards. In most cases, the standards include a Code of Ethics. When allegations of ethical violations occur, individuals from the certifying body are assigned to take a closer look.

For Certified Peer Recovery Supporters, there is a formal Conflict of Interest process. Either Supervisors of Certified Peer Recovery Supporters or individuals they are partnering with for services may file a Conflict of Interest Form. Depending on the complexity of the Conflict of Interest, the overall process may take a few months. Your patience is appreciated during this process. The OhioMHAS Conflict of Interest Review Committee will consist of four OhioMHAS staff members. All recommendations will be presented to the OhioMHAS Deputy Director of Treatment and Recovery.

Certified Peer Recovery Supporter Conflict of Interest

As with other professional and licensure and certifications, it is necessary for individuals to remain in good standing in order to maintain certification. The Ohio Peer Recovery Supporter Code of Ethics is the professional standard of conduct for certification. When working for a provider, Consumer Operated Service, or other organization, it is crucial to abide by the organization’s Employee Code of Conduct and the OhioMHAS Certified Peer Recovery Supporter Code of Ethics.

Peer Recovery Support Certifications are good for a period of 2 years. Certified Peer Recovery Supporters will complete the re-certification application 60 days prior to the date the certification expires. Applicants will need to submit proof of completion of 30 hours of Continuing Education Credits (CEU) to include trainings on trauma informed care and ethics and boundaries. CEU hours that can count towards the recertification must be earned between the effective date of the certification and date the recertification application is submitted.