Certified Peer Support Specialist

A Certified Peer Support Specialist is an individual who uses their lived experience in recovery from mental illness and/or substance use disorder, in addition to skills learned in a formal training, to deliver services promoting recovery and resiliency.

Optum Health CPSS Training:

A mental health and substance use disorder training. The training prepares people grounded in their recovery, to learn tools and practices to help their peers find their own pathway to recovery. The curriculum covers mental health and substance use disorders evenly. Principles of recovery, discovering strengths, using your recovery story, motivational interviewing, ethics and boundaries, role of trauma, culture and worldview, working with groups, crisis prevention and intervention, self-care and maintaining personal wellness as well as preparing for employment. The cost of this training is paid by the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

USARA Training:

The objective of USARA’s CPSS (Certified Peer Support Specialist) training is to facilitate each participant’s progress toward mastery-level competence as a Peer Support Specialist. By the end of the week long CPSS Training, trainees will have the information and tools to:

  • Empower and uplift Peers to identify their own pathway in recovery and build a life grounded in success and forward momentum
  • Confidently deliver Peer Support services within a team of addiction, mental health &/or social service providers
  • Fulfill a role that is valued by yourself, the peers with whom you engage, and your employer
  • Describe your newly acquired Peer Support knowledge and skills
  • Identify your Peer Support development goals and tasks for progressing toward a mastery level of competence
  • Engage a network of peers to build communities of recovery and engage in efforts that promote the Peer/Recovery Movement & Peer Workforce Development

USU CPSS Training's

USU offers a state-approved curriculum based on Appalachian Consulting Group’s (ACG) nationally recognized peer support training, with an added substance use disorder component. The purpose of all USU trainings is to enlarge Utah’s behavioral health workforce, while introducing integrated health care into all peer support services. To make the training accessible, USU uses a mix of state and federal funds to cover the cost of the training and offers two formats.

USU 5-day in-person training

This is a 5-day in person training and can be broadcasted to various sites across the state.

USU Hybrid Training

This training includes a combination of distance-education, online learning modules, and a 2-day face-to-face training. This program is ideal for rural and/or working individuals who would like to become a peer support specialist, but are not able to manage costs, travel, and time for a 5-day in-person training.

The hybrid training is structured as:

  • One broadcast class, introduction to class cohort, and 4-hour training.
  • 20 hours of online instruction—self-paced completed within a 3-week period.
  • 16 hours of in-person intensive learning held 3 weeks after initial broadcast class.

Training Content:

Both programs contain 40 hours of training and cover understanding the state mental health system, a shift toward a recovery mindset, problem-solving and facing fears, effective listening, motivational interviewing, trauma-informed services, shared decision making, cultural humility, ethics, and many other topics.

For a limited time, USU has federal funding to support internships, apprenticeships, and professional development college courses.

What is a Family Peer Support Specialist?

Family Peer Support Specialist (FPSS) offers hope, guidance, advocacy, and camaraderie for parents and caregivers of children and youth receiving services from mental health, substance use, and related services systems. Family Peer Support Specialist deliver peer support through face-to-face support groups, phone calls, or individual meetings. They bring expertise based on their own experience parenting a child or youth with social, emotional, behavioral, or substance use challenges, as well as specialized training, to support other parents and caregivers. Working within a peer support framework that recognizes the power of mutuality and experiential understanding, Family Peer Support Specialist deliver education, information and peer support (Obrochta et al., 2011)

Parents trying to identify and access appropriate services for their child may find child-serving systems (e.g. mental health, education, juvenile justice, child welfare, substance use treatment) complicated and overwhelming. Family Peer Support Specialist support can help these parents navigate systems more effectively, learn from the experiences of other families, feel less alone, and gain hope, ideas, and information. This support can help parents meet their children’s needs more efficiently, and with greater confidence and hope. (Kutash et al, 2011, Hoagwood et al, 2009)

Veteran’s Administration CPSS Training:

If you are a Veteran, and want more information, or to apply, contact Mark Hutcheson. He can be reached at mark.hutcheson@va.gov, 801-582-1565 ext. 2748. Cost for this training is covered through the Veteran’s Administration.

*We are no longer accepting old versions of these forms.

Certified Peer Support Specialist Training Dates



CPSS Core Training:

Feb. 20-24, 2023

June 19-23, 2023

Oct., 2023 - TBD

Only confirmed attendees will be admitted.

Utah State

CPSS Core Training:


Utah State Hybrid Training

CPSS Hybrid Peer Support Training:

January 30, 2023

Salt Lake Feb 24-25, 2023

March 29, 2023

Vernal April 21-22, 2023

Fall - TBD

Only confirmed attendees will be admitted.


LBHS - Spanish

April 24-28, 2023
July 17-21, 2023: St. George tentative
Sept. 18-22, 2023


January 23-27, 2023

May 8-12, 2023

August 7-11, 2023

December 4-8, 2023

Only confirmed attendees will be admitted

Family Peer Support Specialists

Utah State Initial FPSS Training: February 6-10, 2023

Please contact familypeersupport@utah.gov
alicia.wilcox@usu.edu for questions about the training.


CPSS Peer Monthly Calls and Quarterly Webinars, 2nd Thursday from 10 to 11 am.
Click Here to Join Video Call
‪(470) 241-5408
PIN: ‪867624#


FPSS Monthly Peer Call/Webinar Fourth Friday of every month.

Friday, March 25 · 10:00 – 11:00 am

Click Here to Join Video Call

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 321-200-0614‬ PIN: ‪752 263 106‬#

Click Here for more phone numbers

If you would like to apply for any of the training courses listed above, please download the new application and complete it. We are no longer accepting the old certification form. Individuals who are currently employed may be given priority, however, all are welcome to apply. You can mail, or email your completed application and related attachments to:

Office of Substance Use and Mental Health (OSUMH)
Email: utahpeersupport@utah.gov
Attn: Utah Certified Peer Support Specialist Program
288 North 1460 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84116