Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How is “lived experience” satisfactory demonstrated?

A: Each applicant should briefly describe their lived experience, and how it has prepared you for your role as a Peer or Family Specialist. There is no correct answer for this question. The applicant should provide enough information to demonstrate their own lived experience, but should be in a general way.  Please do not use graphic or excessive explanations of details.  Please share how you use your Lived Experience to assist with your Peer role to help others, including examples.  The Lived Experience narrative should be 250 words or less.

Q: How is the exam paid for? Is this the only fee until renewal?

A: The certification board will pay the fee for the initial exam directly to the testing company. There are no additional fees for the applicant until renewal.

Q: Will the fees always stay the same?

A: Fees will be continually assessed by the certification board. It is the board’s intent to keep fees as low as possible.

Q: How long must I be a resident of Colorado before I can become certified as a Peer and Family Specialist?

A: You must work in Colorado at least 51% of the time to be certified.

Q: What if I do not pass the exam?

A: If you do not pass the exam, candidates may retake an exam 90 days after the original test date. Re-taking the exam will cost an additional $80 from the applicant.

Q: How will I find a site to take the exam?

A: The testing company will contact each applicant with site locations.  This will occur after the certification board approves the completed application to take the exam.

Q: Is it necessary to fill out the drop down boxes that come after some of the questions on the application?

A: Yes.

Q: What happens to my Certification if I relapse or became very mentally ill and I am working on getting back into recovery?

A: All certified professionals must adhere to the Colorado Code of Ethics. Violations of the Code of Ethics will be assessed by the Board on a case by case basis.

Q: What if the agency that did the training was resistant to giving me my training certificate.

A: Any difficulties confirming trainings or work experience should be directed to the CPFS staff at

Q: Why is the process for certification so complicated?

A: The CPFS Certification Board must ensure that applicants meet the professional standards necessary for the certification.

Q: How do you know if a training fits into the domains?

A: Any questions about a particular training may be directed to CPFS staff at

Q: How long is the Certification valid for?

A: Certifications are valid for two years, and can then be renewed.

Q: Will Certified Peers be notified before re-certification is due? What is the time-frame before notified?

A: Renewal notices will be sent prior to the renewal date. However, it is the responsibility of each certified professional to engage in the renewal process.

Q: My CPFS certification expires in 2019. What do I have to do for re-certification?

A: For CPFS renewal, individuals must complete 30 hours of continuing education training hours, including 6 hours of ethics training.  The trainings must have occurred within the last 2 years, between the initial certification or last renewal date, and the current renewal date when your CPFS certification expires.  Record the 30 hours of continuing education and upload verification documentation in the online application system.

Q: How do I know if a training is IC&RC approved?

A: The application system will automatically notify applicants upon the attendance verification of trainings by the CPFS staff, and the CPFS Certification Board approves trainings while reviewing the application for certification, or renewal.

Q: How do I reset my password to the online application system?

A: Please contact CPFS staff at for assistance in resetting your password.