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How to Become a Peer Support Specialist

Working in peer support is an especially rewarding experience. You get to share the tools, skills, and information you have learned to transform your own life with individuals going through similar struggles. Not only do you get to contribute to the lives of others, but you also improve your own recovery and wellbeing in the process.

As more and more learn about the impact of peer support, opportunities and career paths for peer specialists will grow and expand. The growth of peer support has the potential to radically transform the ways we support people in the behavioral health system.

Learn more about how to get started in this exciting field below!


If you are interested in working as a peer support specialist, you will likely have to participate in some sort of training. Requirements vary across the states so you must determine what is required in your state or county. Doors to Wellbeing has a comprehensive list of training and certification requirements and appropriate contact information in each state. Costs, payment options, and educational requirements also depend on where you are located. Make sure you check your state and local requirements first.

If you are interested in eventually pursuing national advanced certification, we recommend these trainings


Similar to training, certification varies across the US. Learn if your state has a peer specialist certification and any related requirements, including work experience, here. Your state may require a certain number of hours experience providing peer support before you achieve certification.

Generally, if you live in a state with a peer specialist certification, you will need to be certified to work as a peer specialist.

Mental Health America's National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) credential is a great next step for individuals looking for career paths in peer support and to distinguish themselves as highly experienced peers with a large knowledge base. Learn more about our national, advanced certification here.

Return to the Center for Peer Support.