Frequently Asked Questions about DBSA Peer Specialist Training

Who’s eligible to participate in DBSA Peer Specialist Training?

Participants must be:

  • a person with personal experience in living with a mental illness and publicly willing to identify as such
  • age 18 or older

Can family members or friends participate?

Family members or friends without personal experience in living with a mental illness are not eligible.

Is this a national certification? 

There is currently no national certification for peer specialists. Peer specialist training and certification requirements are determined on a state-by-state basis.

Does this training course meet my state qualifications?

Each individual state sets its own peer specialist training and certification standards, and many states do accept DBSA Peer Specialist training courses. Please check applicable requirements with your state certification body, office of consumer affairs, or service delivery system before making the decision to participate in a DBSA Peer Specialist training course. View a list of state Peer Specialist training and certification programs compiled by the Center for Social Work Research of the University of Texas at Austin.

Does this training course meet qualifications for VA peer support positions?

DBSA Peer Specialist training courses meet national competency standards set by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services for peer support employees.

Does participating in this course make me eligible for a job?

Many individuals have increased their skills and marketability by successfully completing a DBSA Peer Specialist training course. However, participating in the course does not guarantee employment or a volunteer position as a Peer Specialist.  

How do I enroll in the course?

Interested individuals must complete and submit an application form by the scheduled deadline in order to be considered for participation. Enrollment is limited, and submitting an application form does not guarantee acceptance.

Are scholarships available?

A very limited number of partial scholarships may be available through DBSA, covering approximately 50% of the $975 registration fee. Information on applying will be provided to accepted participants. Here are some ideas on other sources of funding. 

What types of payment are accepted?

DBSA accepts check and credit card payments and can invoice funders on request from the participant.

What’s the training course schedule?

Total instruction time for the core training course is 26 hours. The course begins on Monday morning and ends on Friday at approximately 12:00 noon.

Is there a test, and is it required?

Post-training testing measures participant knowledge of core training competencies. Participants are encouraged to complete testing but it is not required by DBSA. Local employers or funders may require test completion, and participants are responsible for determining applicable requirements. 

When and where does testing take place?

Testing takes place online approximately 2-3 weeks following training. 

Is there a fee to test?

Cost of testing is included the course registration fee.

Can I re-test if I don’t pass?

Individuals who do not earn a passing score are eligible to re-test at a later date.

Can I get continuing education credit for participating in the course?

DBSA does not award continuing education credits for core peer specialist training courses. You may be eligible to petition for credits in your local area, and DBSA can provide a curriculum outline and documentation of attendance for your use. 


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