Michelle Lujan Grisham, Governor

Kari Armijo, Cabinet Secretary

Nick Boukas, Director, BHSD



A Resource for Certified & Credentialed Professionals and Employers

The New Mexico Department of Human Services Behavioral Health Services Division has developed guidelines for certified and credentialed professionals and the employers who welcome them to the workforce. Although there are many types of certified and credentialed professionals, this handbook focuses solely on behavioral health professionals. In New Mexico especially, it is important to include behavioral health professionals who reflect the culture, race or ethnicity, and language of the community throughout the continuum of care.

Certified and credentialed professionals are non-clinical, non-licensed workers who support the prevention, treatment, and recovery process in complementary ways that build on the work that licensed professionals do. These professionals include Certified Peer Support Workers (CPSWs), Certified Family Peer Support Workers, Certified Prevention Interns, Certified Prevention Specialists, and Senior Certified Prevention Specialists as well as Community Health Workers, Community Support Workers, Certified Wraparound Facilitators, and Wraparound Supervisors. Additional licensed professionals including Licensed Substance Abuse Associates and Tier 1 Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors do not require a Bachelors’ degree and offer a pathway to clinical work. 


The Need In New Mexico

As New Mexico faces a real shortfall of behavioral health providers in the statewide health care system, nearly 60 percent of the state’s certified and credentialed professionals are unemployed or under-employed1. By engaging these non-licensed professionals in the workplace and providing a clear path to certification, New Mexico can change the narrative about individuals with mental health conditions, SUD, and the nature of recovery. 

By using our peer-based workforce effectively on the front lines, we can better leverage all of our behavioral health professionals. Long-term success can be achieved by relying on proven results that show the value of greeting an individual in crisis with shared experience by a peer. 

In conclusion, welcoming more certified and credentialed behavioral health professionals to the workplace will help usher in a culture shift. We envision a New Mexico where families and friends speak openly about addiction, substance abuse, mental health challenges, and actively try to help each other heal to live their best lives.


Publication date: January 2021

If you have any issues downloading these resources, please email for assistance:

The Certified & Credentialed Professionals Handbook is designed for non-clinical, non-licensed workers who are seeking careers in behavioral health. Use the link to download the handbook (pdf).

The Employer Handbook was developed for supervisors, employers, and organizational leaders as a guide to welcome certified and credentialed professionals to their teams. Use the link to download the handbook (pdf).


The Behavioral Health Services Division at the New Mexico Human Services Department and the Center for Health Innovation, New Mexico’s Public Health Institute, would like to recognize and thank all the individuals and organizations that contributed to this guide. We are especially grateful to the many individuals who contributed their expertise in many hours of dialogue, responded to our questionnaires, and participated in our interviews. We are also grateful to everyone at the state certifying boards and agencies who assisted in providing the information on the certification and credentialing requirements reflected in this guide. 

Special acknowledgement goes to the following people for their indispensable support of this project: Susan Wilger, Executive Director at the Center for Health Innovation; Marie Elena Reyes with the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation; Micaela de la Rosa, MPA Graduate intern from the University of Arizona; and Lisa Jimenez, Consultant.



Susan Wilger, MPAff

Julie Rastetter

Carole Rutten


This report was supported in part by the New Mexico Department of Health through Professional Services Contract #22648 and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $200,000 with 25% percentage financed with nongovernmental sources.

This project is supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $2,451,656.00 with 100 percent funded by CMS/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CMS/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

The development of this handbook was supported in part by a federally funded 18-month assessment grant awarded to the State of New Mexico to expand the capacity of Substance Abuse Disorder (SUD) providers to offer Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) through the Medicaid State Plan. It was also funded in part by a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Community Mental Health Block Technical Assistance grant. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, the U.S. Government, or the New Mexico Department of Health.