Apply for our Peer Training Course

DBSA Veteran Peer Training Center

The shared experiences of military service and a commitment to overcoming the impact of mental health conditions and addictions create a bond like no other between Veteran peers. To ensure that quality Veteran peer support services are available to all, DBSA trains Veterans who live with mental health conditions to support the recovery of their peers. Facilitated by nationally recognized trainers, this comprehensive course delivers a solid foundation in recovery principles, peer support intervention skills, and ethical practice. Training consists of 46 hours of web-based and face-to-face training, and courses are available to both Veterans currently employed in VA peer support positions, and individuals who wish to qualify for these positions. 

DBSA’s experience

DBSA is the recognized national leader in training and certifying Veteran peer specialists, with our Veteran training experience dating to 2005. VA Peer Support
In 2012, DBSA was proud to be awarded the national contract from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)/Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) for training and certification of peer support staff members employed by VA Medical Centers and other VA facilities across the country. Contract training was an outgrowth of a major expansion of peer support services within the VHA, the result of an Executive Order by President Barack Obama to improve access to mental health services for Veterans. In 2013–14, 475 Veteran peer support employees completed DBSA training and certification courses, with 99% success and satisfaction rates.

Successful completion of this training course and all associated examinations meets current VA certification requirements for individuals employed as peer support specialists.

2016 DBSA Veteran Peer Specialist Training Dates

  • April 18–23, 2016 Watch for application information
  • October 24–29, 2016

Funding your participation in training
Benefits may be available from the VA or your state to support training costs. For information about your eligibility, please contact your state Veterans Benefits Office or Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation Services. DBSA Veteran peer specialist training is approved for G.I. Bill benefits by the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA), and eligible Veterans from any state who successfully complete this training course can be reimbursed for the cost of certification (1/3 of the total registration fee, or $665). For additional funding ideas, please visit

Helpful information for Veterans interested in qualifying for employment as a VA peer specialist

Eligibility for VA peer specialist positions
As codified in 38 U.S.C. 7402 (b) (13), a person seeking appointment to a VA Peer Specialist position is eligible if he or she is:

  • a Veteran who has recovered or is recovering from a mental health condition (with a minimum of one year in personal recovery), and
  • trained and certified as a peer specialist by a VA-approved entity.

Have you already been trained and certified as a peer specialist?

  • Yes, I’ve already completed a Peer Specialist training course offered through DBSA.
    Individual Veterans who completed a DBSA Peer Specialist core training course (26 hrs.) on or before March 8, 2013 and who have successfully completed the post-course DBSA Peer Specialist examination are deemed to meet current VA requirements for individuals employed as peer support specialists.

Please note: Individual Veterans who complete a DBSA Peer Specialist core training course after March 8, 2013 will only meet current VA requirements for individuals employed as peer support specialists if your state accepts DBSA core training for state certification. Contact your state certifying body for further information.

  • Yes, I’ve already completed a Peer Specialist training course offered by my state or another organization.
    Individual Veterans who have completed Peer Specialist training and received certification on or before March 8, 2013 through their state mental health department’s approved process, or through a course offered by one of the VA-approved organizations listed below, meet current VA requirements for individuals employed as peer support specialists:
    • Appalachian Consulting Group
    • Georgia Certified Peer Specialist Project
    • Pennsylvania Community Integration Program
    • Recovery Innovations
    • Transformation Center (Massachusetts)

Are you a VA employee currently working in a peer support specialist role at a VA facility who has not yet been trained and certified?
Contact your supervisor or your facility’s Local Recovery Coordinator for information on national training participation and eligibility. 

Are you a VA employee who is not currently working in a peer support specialist role, and interested in qualifying for VA employment as a peer support specialist?

Here are your options for qualifying for a VA peer support position:

  • Complete your state mental health department's approved certification process (or another state's certification process that doesn't require residency)
  • Participate in DBSA Core Peer Specialist training if your state accepts DBSA core training for state certification
  • Complete a DBSA Veteran Peer Specialist training course

Are you a Veteran not currently employed by the VA and interested in obtaining equivalent training that could qualify you for VA employment as a peer support specialist?
DBSA periodically offers Veteran peer training courses for non-employees. Join our mailing list to receive notices of future DBSA peer specialist training courses.

DBSA is not an authority on VA employment eligibility. All questions regarding individual eligibility to participate in DBSA-VA Contract Peer Specialist Training and eligibility for VA positions must be directed to Dan O’Brien-Mazza, VA National Director of Peer Support Services:  Daniel.O’ or (315) 565-5179 or Laura Gomez: or (314) 894-5742. We also invite you to visit the VA Peer Specialist website for complete information on VA peer support career opportunities.

Resources and Information for Military and Veteran Peers

VA Peer Support Positions
Information on VA peer support employment

Guard Your Health
Information and resources on health and medical readiness

Make the Connection
Connect with other Veterans with shared experiences

VA Online Self-Help Resource Center
Online skill-building courses designed for Veterans, Service Members, and their families

Veterans Employment Toolkit
Resources for employment

Vet to Vet USA
Facilitator training and partnerships

NAMI Veterans & Military Resource Center
NAMI resources

Wounded Warrior Project
To honor and empower wounded warriors

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Onsite Training

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