Who is eligible to participate in DBSA’s Peer 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, trauma, or substance use condition who seeks to use their experience as practical, supportive services for others in recovery. DBSA does not offer a course for family members of loved ones living with major depressive or bipolar disorder.

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, trauma and/or substance use conditions.

Can people in recovery from substance use conditions/disorder (SUD) participate?

Our curriculum focuses broadly on recovery principles and skills and can be beneficial for people in recovery.

Is this a national certification?

There is currently no national certification for Peer 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 Specialist Course as part of their training requirements, but receiving DBSA’s course credentialed is just the first step in becoming a state-certified Peer Specialist. 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 Specialist Course.

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

Successful completion of DBSA Veteran Peer Specialist course meets national competency standards set by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services for peer specialist employees. Successful completion of the DBSA Veteran Peer Specialist Course meets those standards and is recognized by the VA as an approved course. There may be additional work or volunteer experience required by the VA for employment.

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 Specialist Course. However, participating in the course does not guarantee employment or a volunteer position as a Peer Specialist. Nor does successfully completing the course fulfill a state’s additional requirements for a state credential. Learn more about credentialling requirements here.

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. DBSA requires the full tuition payment be submitted 10 business days prior to the start of the course.

Do you offer scholarships for the training course?

At this time, DBSA does not offer scholarships for the Peer Specialist Training Course.

Can Veterans use Chapter 31 benefits towards their tuition fees?

Eligible Veterans and family members can apply to use VA Chapter 31 benefits to cover the expenses involved in receiving a certificate of course completion. We recommend you contact your local VA facility to learn more.

Do you accept payment from 529 college savings funds?

DBSA is not an accredited academic institution and therefore is not a recipient of those types of funds.

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 is the cancellation policy?

The $75.00 registration fee is non-refundable.

The $1,425.00 course tuition is:

  • 100% refundable if requested up to 30 days prior to the first day of the DBSA Peer Specialist Course.
  • 50% refundable if requested up to two weeks prior to the first day of the course.
  • 25% refundable if requested any time after two weeks prior to the first day of the course.
  • Once course has commenced there is no refund.

Why is the tuition fee $1,500?

Part of elevating the Peer Specialist role is striving to offer best-in-class service. As a nonprofit organization, DBSA carefully manages its budget to fulfill our mission of providing hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders.

Though we strive to avoid financial barriers to participating in our programs, we cannot eliminate the resources needed to ensure the Peer Specialist course prepares participants for the workforce. DBSA would like to invite you to consider two things:

  1. Join our advocacy efforts which will help remove barriers like cost.
  2. Please consider the following fundraising options.
    • Research scholarship options.
    • Look into Chapter 31 benefits if you are a Veteran.
    • Set up Go Fund Me style page to raise the money for the course.

What’s the training schedule?

The DBSA Peer 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 and Remote group learning: 4.5 hours

Comprehensive final evaluation, 3 hours

Is there a test, and is it required?

To receive a certificate of completion, the student must obtain a combined score of 75% on all modules.

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?

Participants must receive a combined 75% based on all modules and final exam.

Can I obtain a copy of DBSA course materials?

Our Student Manual is proprietary material and requires classroom attendance and instructions.

Can DBSA staff review my situation and decide if I should apply?

While DBSA staff is not in a position to speak about your own unique situation, we recommend reviewing these FAQs for further information. This may help you make a determination on whether or not this course is a good fit for you.