Frequently Asked Questions about DBSA Peer Specialist Training

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

Participants must be:

  • individuals with personal experience in living with a mental illness and publicly willing to identify as such, and
  • 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.

Can people in recovery from addictions participate?

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

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 training and certification requirements?

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

Successful completion of DBSA Veteran Peer Specialist training courses meets national competency standards set by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health Services for peer support employees. Successful completion of DBSA Core Peer Specialist training courses 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 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 a course 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 40 hours, Monday-Friday. The course starts at 8:00 a.m. each day and concludes on Friday at approximately 3:00 p.m.

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. However, state certifying bodies, employers, and/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 beginning the week 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’s Core and Veteran Peer Specialist training courses are approved by the Illinois Certification Board (ICB) for continuing education units (CEUs) for Certified Recovery Support Specialists and other similar categories. You may be eligible to use these CEUs in your location; DBSA can provide a curriculum outline and documentation of ICB approval for your use in verifying eligibility.

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Peer Leadership Center
The DBSA Peer Leadership Center is an easily accessible, impartial, and central location where peer specialists and peer supporters can find the information and training they want, connect with others working in the ­field, learn about employment opportunities and organizations that champion peer support services, and engage in dialogue to strengthen the peer workforce. Join the DBSA Peer Leadership Center!