Career Pathways

Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist (CIPSS)

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Description of a CIPSS

Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist (CIPSS) provide formalized peer support with the goal of building community oriented, natural help rather than creating a formal service. CIPS do not focus on illness, diagnosis, problems, symptom management, medication compliance, or provider orders, and do not assist with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL). Instead, individuals who have had a serious mental health challenge commit to becoming part of a relationship in which both people will give and take, share and listen, learn and grow, and challenge one another to gain a better understanding of themselves and their experiences both within and outside of the mental health service system.

CIPSS Work Settings and Populations Served

A CIPSS works with youth and adults living with impact of trauma, mental illness and/or substance use.  Some places where CIPSS’s work:

  • Maine Warmline, Emergency Departments (for peers ages 16+)
  • Youth Move Maine
  • Behavioral Health Homes
  • State Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Some ACT teams, Crisis Program, Peer Centers, Social Clubs  and Peer Centers

Hiring Requirements

A person may not be hired as CIPSS if that person has ever been:

  • Convicted of a crime, except for convictions for Class D and E crimes over 10 years old if the conviction did not involve a victim who was a patient, client or resident of a health care entity
  • Any specific documented findings of abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property of a resident, client or patient


Complete Peer Support 101 or Healthy Connections

Complete CIPSS Core Training

Complete Follow Up Workbook

Complete One Year of Field Work





A person who is working as a CIPSS can move into the following positions with additional education:

Health Services:

  • PSS
  • CRMA
  • Home Health Aide
  • CNA
  • CNA-M
  • LPN
  • Medical Assistant
  • Nursing Degree

Human Services:

  • MHRT-I
  • DSP
  • MHRT-C