CPCA® Training & Certification Program

College students listening to a university lecture

NAPCA trains thousands of high school and college student leaders each year across the nation to become a Certified Peer College Advisor (CPCA) through classroom and online training. In order to become a CPCA, high school and college student leaders are required to complete a total of 140 hours of CPCA training and certification, which consist of 100 hours of pre-service training and 40 hours of supervised fieldwork while enrolled in the CPCA Training and Certification Program. In addition, CPCAs are required to complete at least 20 hours of on-going training throughout the school year to ensure that they are providing quality college advising services to middle and high school students and to reinforce a wide range of competencies learned from their CPCA training/certification. On-going training will provide a space for CPCA’s to come together as a peer group to discuss any challenges or needs that they are facing during their service as a CPCA.


To learn more about the CPCA Training & Certification Program, download the CPCA Training & Certification Program Overview.

Recruitment typically takes place during late winter and early spring of the academic year. Prospective CPCAs should be prepared to submit the CPCA Training and Certification Program Online Application along with the documents needed to apply. NAPCA recruits committed and highly influential high school and college student leaders across the globe from all backgrounds to serve as a NAPCA Certified Peer College Advisor (CPCA) for a minimum commitment of one school year but we encourage at least a two year commitment. However, there are many students who commit to a longer term. For instance, many high school student leaders serve as a CPCA at the beginning of 10th grade and continue their service until they graduate from high school. Additionally, many of our CPCAs look forward to continuing their commitment during their college years where they serve local high schools surrounding their college/university campus.


Our approach to selecting CPCAs is based on our commitment to student success. CPCAs are charged with very high-stakes work: helping their peers achieve the academic success that will expand their life opportunities. NAPCA recruits on high school and college campuses across the globe. Our recruitment teams identify top prospects and cultivate them individually to apply to become a CPCA and/or to start a NAPCA Chapter, while also raising campus awareness about NAPCA.


Our recruitment efforts start with the following question: What are the characteristics that define our most successful CPCAs, and how can we identify those student leaders? Through four years of research, and with the support of many people in the broader academic community, we have developed a recruitment/selection model based on qualities that we have found to be the most distinguishing characteristics of an effective CPCA.

Characteristics of a CPCA:

Leadership and achievement in academic, extracurricular, or volunteer settings.
Perseverance in the face of challenges – demonstrated resiliency to break through barriers.
Strong critical thinking skills: making accurate linkages between cause and effect and generating relevant solutions to problems.
The ability to influence and motivate others.
Organizational ability: planning well, meeting deadlines, and working efficiently.
Respect for students and families in their school and community – commitment to serve all students regardless of their race and socioeconomic status, gender or religious affiliation.
An understanding of NAPCA’s mission and vision and the desire to work relentlessly in pursuit of it.


Student leaders across the U.S. who fit this profile come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. We deeply value each individual who commits to our mission and believe we need to enlist our nation’s student leaders in this important work.


We have learned that the best way to recruit the most talented student leaders is to meet with prospective CPCAs one-on-one. We maintain a force of part-time recruiters (many of our team members are CPCAs and NAPCA alumni – high school and college student leaders). Our part time recruitment team meets with student leaders across the country, striving to convince them to join NAPCA in the effort to build a college going and college completion student movement in thousands of high schools across the globe.

Training is usually held at the CPCA National Training Facility in Los Angeles, a local high school campus, and/or local college or university campus. The training dates for Summer 2017 are as follows:


  • June 14, 2017 – July 1, 2017
  • July 5, 2017 – June 22, 2017
  • July 24, 2017 – August 10, 2017

Build Credibility Through CPCA Certification

The Certified Peer College Advisor (CPCA®) designation is a mark of distinction demonstrating the knowledge, skills, and commitment to the field of peer college advising. CPCA® certification is recognized as the highest standard in peer college advising. Having CPCA® certification enables you to stand out and communicates your expertise and credibility to the public. The CPCA® certification provides the public with the assurance that student leaders with the CPCA designation are committed to maintaining the highest quality of peer college advising service to students.


Nearly 9 in 10 students say they would feel more confident working with a peer college advisor who completed extensive training to hold the designation as a Certified Peer College Advisor. The creation of the National Association of Peer College Advisors was the first global effort designed to increase the recognition of and establish standards for peer college advising by high school and college student leaders across the globe.

  • Fill Out and Submit the Online New Member Application (For Non-Chapter Founders)
  • Required Participation Forms (For Non-Chapter Founders)
    • Waiver of Liability Form
    • Parental Consent Form
    • Image Release Form
    • Medical Release/Emergency Info Form
    • NAPCA Member Code of Conduct Form
  • Meet GPA Requirement of at least a 2.7 GPA or Higher
  • Personal Commitment
  • Complete and Upload Admissions Essay
  • CPCA Interview
  • Parent Interview
  • Upload Unofficial Transcripts
  • Submit Two Online Recommendation Forms
  • Secure Your Enrollment in NAPCA’s 140 hour CPCA Training and Certification Program
  • Fundraise for CPCA Service Learning Scholarship