Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW)

The Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW) training program prepares individuals who are successfully engaged in long-term recovery with mental health and/or substance use conditions and maintaining their mental wellness to help others in their recovery process. Because of their own recovery experiences, CPSWS are uniquely qualified to enhance services delivered by provider agencies and other organizations. New Mexico CPSWs are currently employed in provider settings, peer-run wellness centers, and Managed Care Organizations. Peer support is “a system of giving and receiving help founded on key principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement of what is helpful.” (Mead 2001). Peer support services are programs, groups, events, and discussions within the behavioral health system led by people in recovery, based on the philosophy of peer support.

Learn More about the Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW) Requirements

Important Note: The Office of Peer Recovery and Engagement (OPRE) within the New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD), announces it will pause on accepting Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW) applications effective close of business on June 30, 2023. Over the next 90-180 days, BHSD/OPRE will work to streamline the application process and build online services for New Mexico peers. BSHD/OPRE will evaluate this pause action monthly and adjust accordingly as needed.

No applications will be accepted, either by email, fax, or any other method during this period.

Applicant must be at least 18 years of age, and have a minimum of three (3) years of demonstrable mental wellness and or substance use recovery. Applicant must be a current or former consumer of mental health and/or substance use support services. Applicant might be asked to provide a letter of reference from sponsor, counselor, religious leader and or therapist, etc.

A high school diploma or equivalent is required and verification must be submitted. 

The Office of Peer Recovery & Engagement (OPRE), through the Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD) of the New Mexico Human Services Department (NMHSD), offers a training program for individuals seeking certification as Peer Support Workers. 

Supervision Requirements
Applicant must have 40 hours of supervised volunteer or paid work with direct client contact in a behavioral health agency. 

To apply to become a CPSW you must successfully complete the Peer Support Worker training offered through the Office of Peer Recovery and Engagement (OPRE) and complete the certification examination provided through the New Mexico Credentialing Board.

The curriculum is structured to train individuals in skills and content universal to peer support services and provide an understanding of how peer support services are structured in New Mexico.

Domains are as followers: 

  • Professionalism
  • Ethics
  • Components of recovery and resiliency
  • Mental health and substance use disorders
  • Building communication skills
  • Stress management
  • Supportive housing

There are no fees.  OPRE provides supplies used in exercises, a training manual, resource lists, and an exam study guide.