California Mental Health Services Authority

Biennial Certification Renewal & Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

To maintain certification, renewal is required every two years. Applicants must complete twenty (20) hours of continuing education, inclusive of six (6) hours of law and ethics training, before submitting a renewal application and paying the renewal fee. Continuing education hours hold significant value for Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists (CMPSS) as they contribute to the enhancement of their knowledge, skills, and understanding of mental health and substance use conditions. This enables them to provide more effective and informed support to their peers. These hours serve as a catalyst for professional growth, allowing a CMPSS to stay updated on best practices and interventions, and ultimately improving the quality of care they offer to the individuals they serve. Complete applications for renewals may be submitted no more than 60 days prior to expiration. Renewals submitted after certification expiration date may be subject to additional training, fees and and/or completing an Initial Application process.

Requirements for Certification Renewal

  1. Certificate renewal is required every 2 years to maintain certification.
  2. Applicants must complete 20 hours of continued education prior to submitting the renewal application.
  3. Fees must be paid at the time of submitting the application.
  4. Application must be submitted online through the certification website.
  5. Application must be submitted prior to date of expiration. Certifications are considered to expire immediately following the two-year expiration date from the last date of issuance.
  6. Applications may be submitted up to 60 days prior to expiration.
  7. Applicants must have a current and valid Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification in good standing.
  8. Applicants must read and re-sign agreements to adhere to the Code of Ethics for Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists in California.
  9. Applicants attest to having met the twenty (20) hour of continued education requirement, inclusive of the six (6) hours of continued education in law and ethics.
  10. Applicants shall maintain records of continued education hours for two (2) years from the date of request for renewal.

Notification of Renewal

CalMHSA will send a notification of renewal via email to individuals who hold a certification that is current, valid, and in good standing, 90 days prior to date of expiration. CalMHSA will use email on the application. Expired, suspended, and revoked certifications are not considered current, valid, or in good standing and therefore, not eligible for renewal.

Continuing Education (CE) Hours

To maintain certification, a CMPSS must complete 20 hours of continued education every two years from the date of the initial certification and thereafter for biennial renewal. Six hours of law and ethics training are required during each two-year cycle. Eligible CE courses promote professional development, aimed at enhancing the quality of care provided. Applicants are responsible for taking CE courses within their scope of practice.

To satisfy the renewal requirements, training courses must be non-repetitive (i.e., the same CE course cannot be claimed more than one time during each certification period, even if the course was taken annually). Training courses may be taken in various ways, including asynchronous, in-person, and online and through a variety of trainers.

Acceptable Curriculum Materials

Acceptable training curriculum may include but not limited to the following areas:

  • Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist training, including areas of specialization. 

  • Trainings that focus on significant recent developments in the discipline of peer support and recovery.

  • Direct-care training that covers peer recovery, and specialty areas (e.g., theoretical frameworks of recovery and wellness; intervention techniques with individuals, families, and systems of care).

  • Indirect-care training that covers pragmatic aspects of clinical practice (e.g., legal or ethical issues, consultation, recordkeeping, supervision training).

Law & Ethics Requirements

A minimum of six (6) hours of training in law and ethics education is required for every renewal. The training hours for law and ethics are calculated into the 20 hours of continued education requirement for renewal. 

Law and ethics training includes, but is not limited to:

  • Law and ethics relevant to California
  • Treatment of minors
  • State and federal confidentiality laws
  • Record keeping
  • Crisis support
  • Client access to records
  • Dual relationships
  • Child abuse
  • Elder and dependent adult abuse
  • Telehealth services
  • Insurance reimbursement
  • Civil liability
  • Disciplinary actions and unprofessional conduct
  • Ethics complaints and ethical standards
  • Standards of care
  • Relevant family law
  • Disclosures to clients
  • The application of legal and ethical standards in different types of work settings, etc.

Calculating Continued Education Hours

One (1) hour of direct educational training instruction is equal to one (1) hour of continuing education (CE). 

For undergraduate or graduate course work, three (3) units of coursework are equal to twelve (12) hours of continuing education units. Breaks are excluded from direct training instructional requirements and must not be counted towards the 1-hour direct educational training requirement.

For training where certificates of attendance are not available (i.e., conferences) a copy of the conference agenda with detailed information on the session shall be maintained as a record by the applicant. For courses through accredited schools, transcripts shall be maintained as a record. Breaks are excluded from direct training instructional requirements and must not be counted towards the 1-hour direct educational training requirement.

Continuing Education Providers

Continued educational training may be taken from a variety of sources. Training courses offered by the following are accepted by CalMHSA to satisfy the continued education requirement for renewal of certification.

  • Any pre-approved courses taught by CalMHSA-approved training providers
  • Training that is offered by the County Behavioral Health Departments, and its contracted network providers.
  • Training courses completed through accredited schools, including vocational education.
  • Training courses by professional certification and licensing boards (i.e., CAADE, CADTP, CAMFT, BBS, APA, Mental Health America (MHA), SAMHSA etc.).

Maintenance of Records

The CMPSS is responsible for maintaining a record for continued education trainings hours for those in which the CMPSS attests to having completed. The CMPSS shall maintain records for a minimum of two (2) years from the date of application for renewal. CalMHSA may contact the CMPSS during the audit. Evidence of participation in the training course must include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Legal name of the CMPSS
  • Title of course, training, and/or event
  • Date(s) of participation and/or course completion
  • Event sponsor and/or training provider name (i.e., SAMHSA)
  • Number of direct instruction hours

Hint: If the training event title does not clearly identify the instructional content, maintain a copy of information from the training event, such as an agenda, syllabus or emails. In the absence of complete documentation, contact the training provider directly. Keep the updated information as a record. For coursework through an accredited school, maintain a copy of your transcripts (unofficial shall be accepted).

CalMHSA Audits for Continued Education

CalMHSA will conduct sample audits of records. Individuals selected for the audit will be notified of the audit by CalMHSA. Selected individuals shall submit evidence of continued education records for the timeframe in which the individual attested to in the renewal application.

CalMHSA will conduct a random audit. Individuals who are selected in the sampling will be notified via email and must submit electronic proof of CE documentation to the certifying entity within ten (10) days of request for review and approval.

Please note that failure to meet CE requirements may result in disciplinary action. See Code of Ethics and Violations Guidelines for further information.