Browse the requirements based on your type of certification below.
Residency: All applicants must live or work at least 51% of the time within the state of Montana.
High school education or equivalence and attain the age of eighteen (18).
Certified Prevention Specialist candidates must have 2,000 documented hours (one year) of prevention-related experience in the Prevention Performance Domains.
- Planning and Evaluation
- Prevention Education and Service Delivery
- Community Organization
- Public Policy and Environmental Change
- Professional Growth and Responsibility
Of the 2,000 documented hours, a minimum of 120 hours of supervision** is required, with at least 10 hours in each domain. A minimum of 500 (25%) of the required 2,000 hours must be specific to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) prevention.
Experience may come from internships/practicums and paid or voluntary work hours. Applicants must have gained experience and received supervision from a position in which the job description included prevention.
Calculating Hours of Experience: Hours of experience are based on actual time worked, interned, or volunteered. Hours are calculated based on start/end dates and the average weekly schedule. The following equivalents will help to calculate hours of experience:
- 1 year of full-time employment/volunteering = 2,000 hours
- 1 month of full-time employment/volunteering= 167 hours
- 1 week of full-time employment/volunteering= 40 hours
For example, if an individual worked half-time (20 hours per week) for a full year, they would accumulate 1,000 hours of experience.
**Supervision is a formal or informal process that is administrative, evaluative, observative, and supportive. It can be provided by more than one person. Supervision includes observation, mentoring, coaching, evaluating, inspiring, and creating an atmosphere that promotes self-motivation, learning, and professional development. In all aspects of the supervision process, ethical and diversity issues must be at the forefront.
3. Education/Training Requirements
Certified Prevention Specialist Candidates must have a total of 120 hours of documented education and training. A minimum of 60 hours of the 120 hours must be ATOD prevention. The remaining hours may be in other related prevention education and/or training.
Of the 60 hours of specific ATOD prevention education/training the following courses are required:
- 31 hours must be obtained through the “Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training” (SAPST). An applicant may substitute 31 hours of the 3-week (96 hours) Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Coalition Academy training for SAPST, as long as they have attended all three weeks of training. Applicants may also identify 31 hours of similar SAPST material and present it to the certifying board for approval.
- 6 hours of Ethics in Prevention (Ethics in Prevention Training must have been completed within 2 years before application submission).
- 8 hours of Sustainability or another ATOD prevention course as it relates to sustainability.
- Of the remaining hours needed to meet the 120 hours of education/training requirement general prevention education/training must include the following:
- 4 hours of Public Health 101
- 6 hours of Health Equity (known as Cultural Competency)
- 2 hours of Suicide Prevention
- 3 hours of Mental Health Education
Defined/Types of Education: Education is defined as formal, structured instruction in the form of workshops, seminars, institutes, in-service training, college/university credit courses, and MPCB-approved distance education. Courses or Continuing Education Units from an accredited college or university: Undergraduate or graduate coursework may be submitted for credit towards the required hours.
- One semester credit hour = 15 clock hours
- One credit hour on a quarter system = 10 clock hours, as long as all the hours in the course are relevant
If your situation falls out of these credit to hour ratio guidelines, check with the Certification Program Manager.
Online Training/Webinars: Online trainings/webinars can be applied to the education requirement. Pre-approved training for Prevention Specialists and trainings that are endorsed or sponsored by the following organizations are automatically pre-approved:
- International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC)
- Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)
- SAMHSA’s Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC)
- Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- A list of pre-approved training opportunities will be made available on the MPCB’s website.
Whenever possible the education/training for initial certification should be from pre-approved sources. All workshops, in-service education, online training, or college course certificates of completion that are not pre-approved by the MPCB must be submitted with a syllabus, agenda, or description of the training as proof of its appropriateness.
Trainings without Pre-Approval Status: Trainings that are relevant to ATOD prevention and/or the Prevention Performance Domains can be applied toward the education/training requirement for certification or re-certification. If these trainings are not included in the “Approved Trainings” list, the MPCB reserves the right to ask for additional information to determine the applicability of training/education for Prevention Specialist certification.
Calculating Training Hours:
1 Hour/Contact Hour = 1 CEU
Documenting Education: Education hours by discipline must be documented on the Montana Certified Prevention Specialist Education Documentation form in the application packet and accompanied by certificates of completion for each documented training/workshop. Any education event listed that does not have the required documentation will not be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide the required documentation.
Undocumented Events: If a certificate(s) of completion for one or more workshops is not available, the Education Form for Undocumented Events must be completed. It is included in the application materials. A supervisor, program director, or applicable course instructor must sign this form to verify attendance at the listed workshops. Listing education on this form should be the exception in the application documentation. Only 15% (18 hours for initial certification or 6 hours for recertification) of total education can be applied with this form. This form can also be used to document in-service trainings.
4. IC&RC Examination Requirement
To become a Certified Prevention Specialist, an applicant must pass a Prevention Specialist Examination administered by IC&RC. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. The Prevention Performance Domains addressed in the exam include Planning and Evaluation; Prevention Education and Service Delivery; Communication; Community Organization; Public Policy and Environmental Change; and Professional Growth and Responsibility. There are 800 possible points and 600 is passing. Applicants can retake the test after the mandatory 90-day waiting period.
5. Agreement to Abide by the Code of Prevention Ethics
To become a Certified Prevention Specialist, an applicant must sign an agreement to abide by the Code of Ethical Conduct.
To become a CPS, an applicant must pay the appropriate fees.
Legacy Standards & Process
Legacy (once known as Grandfathering) standards are a temporary sub-set of the Prevention Specialist credential’s full certification standards (Standard). Legacy standards are typically set when a new credential is opened for application for the express purpose of allowing persons who have long been “doing the work” to earn the credential without meeting the credential’s full certification standards.
Legacy standards focus on degree, training, and experience requirements and omit the exam requirements. No designation will allow the public to determine if a PS credential was earned under Legacy or full certification standards.
MPCB will only open the Legacy window in three nonconsecutive 30-day increments for a total of 90 days, and it is only available to professionals with approximately 5 years of prevention experience. During the active Legacy period, the applicants must submit proof of the requirements listed below using the online Certemy application software within the MPCB’s established time frame. As previously stated, at their discretion, MPCB will open in three nonconsecutive 30-day increments for a total of 90 days. This will allow for more applicants who qualify for Legacy standards the time to gather documentation for verification in the application. Once the Legacy 90-day period has closed the last time, it will not be reopened.
Requirements for Legacy Status
- High school education or equivalence and attain the age of 18.
- Completion of Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training (SAPST), Native American SAPST, or Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Coalition Academy training within the last 7 years.
- Completion of Ethics in Prevention Course within the last 2 years.
- 10,000 documented hours of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) prevention – work experience (paid or volunteer) within the last 7 years.
- 120 hours of prevention related education/training, half of which is related to Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs (ATOD).*
- Signed Agreement to abide by the MPCB Code of Ethics.
- Fees: $75.00 for application and $150.00 for certification.
*A detailed breakdown of required education/training topics can be found in the certification manual.