Become a Certified Peer Support Specialist

How do I become a Certified Peer Support Specialist?

Are you interested in using your lived experience with substance use and mental health challenges to be a force of good in our community and a pathway to help others in their recovery journey? Then learn more about becoming a Certified Peer Support Specialist.

 A Peer Support Specialist can also be called peer specialists, peer recovery coaches, peer advocates, and peer recovery support specialists. This is a credentialed position where your life experience either replaces intensive schooling and formal work experience, or is an addition to schooling and work experience. 

Peer Support positions often pay above minimum wage and is a professional pathway for those who face barriers to employment such as incarceration, houselessness, substance use recovery and mental health challenges. 

By becoming a Peer Support Specialist, you can strengthen your professional opportunities as well as provide much needed support, hope and effective change in the community.  For more information about the North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist (NCCPSS) certification process, click here.

What you need to know about becoming a Certified Peer Support Specialist

  • A Peer Support Specialist is a professional position that combines lived experience with professional training certified by the UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work Peer Support Program.
  • Up to a year of personal recovery from substance use and/or mental health challenges 
  • Complete approved 50-hour peer support training program. CLICK HERE for a listing of current trainings offered or go to Sunrise’s “Pathway to Recovery” application webpage.  Scholarships may be available if needed.
  • Include two reference letters validating at least one year of personal recovery 
  • Complete an additional 20 hours of continued education through Sunrise’s Peer University, Recovery Coach Training or other professional and interpersonal training sessions. 
  • Speak to a Sunrise staff member at 828-552-3858, email or register at to enroll in Sunrise’s Peer University Program. 

CALL 828-552-3858 to find out more about how to become a Certified Peer Support Specialist.