Peer Support Specialist Training Overview

Training Required to Become a Peer Support Specialist

For most employers in Colorado, Peer Support Specialists or Peer Coaches are required to have training in a set of competencies established by the Colorado Behavioral Health Council and the International Credentialing and Reciprocity Consortium. Our training exceeds the standards set by these organizations. Training topics include:

  • Trauma-informed support
  • Self-care
  • Ethics
  • Communication skills
  • Resilience
  • Recovery
Why Train with the Colorado Mental Wellness Network?

We are the leading peer-run organization in Colorado that offers this training. We are focused on recovery and wellness (not just treatment) for individuals with mental health and substance use challenges. As fellow peers, we have lived experience with recovery and understand the vital role peers play in assisting others.

Our instructors are experienced in program design, facilitation, and training, and we are heavily focused on practical skill-based learning. Our graduates are employed in behavioral health care settings across the state, including at Community Reach Center, ALLHealth Network, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners.

Our Training Model

We build on the wisdom of lived experience, helping students to deepen their understanding of recovery and develop skills needed on the job. Activities like role plays and practice elements give students time and opportunity to make skills their own.

Students must demonstrate adequate comprehension of the course by:

  • Completing assigned readings and webinars
  • Completing homework assignments
  • Participating in classroom activities
  • Attending all training sessions
  • Taking part in three practice elements to demonstrate mastery of key topics
  • Scoring an 80% or higher on the final exam

Tuition and Fees

Tuition is $225.

Tuition for the Peer Support Specialist Training is $225. (The value of our training is $900, but with recent grant funding we have been able to subsidize the cost for our students.) Once accepted to the program, a $25 deposit is required to reserve your place in the training. This deposit is applied to your tuition and will be refunded to you if you participate in our data reporting requests. If your tuition will be paid by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), an authorization form from DVR will hold your place in the class.

Data reporting requests will be sent via email every 3 months for 1 year following training. Individuals who participate in at least 3 of the 4 reporting requests will have their $25 deposit returned to them at the end of the one year period. Data reporting questionnaires will inquire about your employment status, employment location, job duties, wages, number of people that you serve, etc. These questionnaires are helpful to us in receiving new and continued grant funding to subsidize the cost of the training program.

Applying to the Program

Minimum Application Requirements
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Internet access
  • Feeling established in one’s own recovery for a minimum of 1 year
  • Commitment to attend and participate in all days of training
  • Desire to assist others in their recovery journey
Application Process
  1. Confirm that you meet the minimum requirements
  2. Complete the written application
  3. Obtain a letter of reference from a third party who is able to comment on your interpersonal and communication skills (treatment providers, friends, and family are not acceptable references)
  4. Applications are assessed for readiness and aptitude for peer support work with priority given to those already working or volunteering in a peer capacity
  5. Applicants are notified of acceptance
  6. Applicants working with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation must sign Releases of Information for communication between CMWN staff and DVR counselors
  7. Accepted applicants pay deposit, provide letter of authorization from sponsor, and/or apply for scholarship funding

Please be advised that applications are  accepted on a rolling basis. Training sessions may fill before the application deadline. Applicants are advised to submit their completed application and reference as early as possible. 

In 2018, the application deadlines are as follows:

July 23 – August 10, 2018 – last day to submit an application – July 2

October 15 – November 2, 2018 – last day to submit an application – September 24


Peer Training Overview

Peer Training Overview 


Interested in Applying?

Complete the following forms and return them to Joann Calabrese*:
Email: [email protected]
Fax: 720.849.3767
Snail mail: ATTN – Joann Calabrese, Colorado Mental Wellness Network, 915 E. 9th Ave, Denver, CO 80218

2018 Letter of Reference form

2018 Peer Application

* Applications must be submitted no later than 3 weeks (21 days) before the start of training