Who is eligible to participate in DBSA’s Peer Support Specialist Course?

Participants must be 18 or older with lived experience with a mental health or substance use condition. They must be publicly willing to identify as someone who lives with a mental health or substance use issue who seeks to turn their experience into practical, supportive services for others in recovery.

Can family members or friends participate?

We recognize that family members and friends are a valuable source of support for people in recovery. Many other organizations provide training that is designed for family and friends. However, our course is specifically for those with direct lived experience of mental health or substance use issues.

Can people in recovery from substance use disorder participate?

Our curriculum focuses broadly on recovery principles and skills and can be beneficial for people in recovery, from both mental health conditions and substance use conditions.

Is this a national certification?

There is currently no national certification for Peer Support Specialists. Training and certification requirements are determined on a state-by-state basis. Learn more about certification requirements here.

Does this training course meet my state training and certification requirements?

Each individual state sets its own peer specialist training and certification standards. Many states do accept the DBSA Peer Support Specialist Course as part of their training requirements. Please check applicable requirements with your state certification body, office of consumer affairs, or service delivery system before making the decision to participate in the DBSA Peer Support Specialist Course.

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

Successful completion of DBSA Veteran Peer Support Specialist courses meets national competency standards set by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services for peer support employees. Successful completion of the DBSA Peer Support Specialist Course may also meet those standards if it can be used to obtain certification as a peer specialist in your state. Please consult with your state for specific information.

Does participating in this course make me eligible for a paid position?

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

How do I enroll in the course?

Visit our registration page to complete the online application form by the scheduled deadline. Enrollment is limited. Please note that submitting an application form does not guarantee acceptance.

What is the cost?

Tuition is $1,500, plus a non-refundable $75 registration fee. If you are accepted, your registration fee will be automatically applied to your tuition.

What types of payment are accepted?

DBSA accepts check and credit card payments. We can also bill a third party on request from the participant.

What’s the training schedule?

The DBSA Peer Support Specialist Course is a blend of independent learning, remote group learning, and a virtual skill-building workshop.

Week 1 | Independent learning: 15 hours
Week 2 | Remote group learning: 4.5 hours
Week 3 | 5-day Building the Skills workshop: 37 hours
Week 4 | Independent learning: 10 hours
Week 5 | Remote group learning: 4.5 hours

Comprehensive final exam, 3 hours

Is there a test, and is it required?

To receive a certificate of completion, the student must obtain a combined score of 70% on all modules. Each independent learning module has an associated multiple-choice quiz or essay question. The remote group learning conference calls are evaluated via student participation. A grade for the 37-hour live workshop is scored, based on observed evaluation of skills and student participation. A comprehensive exam is provided at the end of the course.

When and where does testing take place?

All quizzes, essays, student participation, observed evaluation and comprehensive exam are completed by the student remotely.

Is there an extra fee to take the test?

The 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.