The Certification in PPC Exam

Certification in Peer Para-Counseling

Peer Para-counseling (PPC) is a form of psychological support designed to be applied by “peer” interventionists during the subacute phase of human distress, regardless of its origin.

PPC is not a form of professional counseling, but is best conceived of as a form of “coaching” which entails integrating the power of shared lived experiences with active listening and non-directive as well as directive guidance interventions. While the core skills of PPC are applicable to the acute aspects of human distress, the primary application of PPC is envisioned to be the dysphoric subacute reactions to both traumatic, as well as, cumulative stressors.

Who Should Take the Exam

This exam is designed for anyone in the fields of Workplace Crisis Intervention, Disaster Response, Education, Emergency Services, Employee Assistance, Healthcare, Homeland Security, Mental Health, Military, Spiritual Care, and Traumatic Stress.

The Certification in Peer Paracounseling (CPPC) is the second university-based certification in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). The University of Maryland, Baltimore County Department of Emergency Health Services pioneered a general certification in CISM (CCISM). Now, the Department of Emergency Health Services offers certification in an advanced aspect of CISM, Peer Paracounseling (PPC).

The Certification in PPC is a confirmation that an individual has demonstrated a basic understanding of the nature and principles of PPC, as defined herein.

Obtaining the Certification in CISM to Prerequisites for the Certification in PPC

Certification in Peer Para-Counseling can only be obtained by first completing the prerequisites by receiving the:

  •  ICISF Group Crisis Intervention Certificate of Completion and ICISF Assisting Individuals in Crisis Certificate of Completion. It is suggested that these courses have been taken within the last five years to ensure greatest relevance, however, that time frame is not mandatory. 
  • ICISF  Crisis Informed Peer Para-Counseling: Intervention Enhancement to the CISM Continuum Certificate of Completion.


Second, in order to receive a Certification in Peer Para-Counseling, one must pass the Certification of Peer Para-Counseling (CPPC) Exam, endorsed by the University of Maryland and it is the only university-based certification in PPC. 


The CPPC Examination is a confirmation of an individual’s basic understanding of Peer Para-Counseling and its nature and principles. 

This certification is a confirmation of knowledge, not practical nor applied ability. It is not a certification of clinical or applied competency. It is an effort to promote an additional industry standard through the retrieval, acquisition, and proliferation of a fundamental corpus of knowledge pertaining to the peer paracounseling aspect of the CISM continuum of care.

Designating the Certification

Upon successful completion of the CPPC Certification Exam, a certificant may indicate on a CV or resume. The certificant can also use the initials CPPC after his or her name to indicate certification.

CPPC Certification is good for five years. A recertification exam based on current Peer Para-Counseling topics and resources is required to continue your Certification in CISM. In this manner, individuals are encouraged to stay current with the field.

The CPPC Exam

The CPPC Examination consists of 125 true-false and multiple-choice questions. The Examination utilizes an “open book” format modeled in various degrees after online examinations offered by the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Given that a secondary goal of the certification process is the retrieval, acquisition, and transposition of relevant knowledge, as opposed to memorization, the “open book” format is deemed acceptable.

The PPC Certification of Knowledge is valid for 5 years from the date of successfully passing the CPPC Examination.

CPPC Exam fee: $295.00 This includes the test and a CPPC Certification Certificate upon achieving a passing grade of 70% on the exam. If you do not achieve a passing grade on the first attempt, two additional retakes are included within the exam fee.

Registration for the exam requires payment by credit card. Upon confirmed registration, the test (and retakes, if applicable) remains available for 30 days to complete.

For groups of 10 or more, contact us for group payment details.