Peer University

Sunrise’s Peer University program provides learning and professional development opportunities to individuals in recovery who are interested in using their lived experience to join the workforce as a Certified Peer Support Specialists. 

Incarceration, substance use and mental health challenges are typically seen as barriers to employment and economic stability. Peer University helps remove barriers by providing a pathway to not just a job, but a profession. In other words, your record is your resume! 

Peer University provides the additional 20-credit hours needed to complete the Peer Support certification process. Graduates are offered opportunities to volunteer and intern at Sunrise as well as gain connection to a strong network of Peer Support Specialists.   

Classes are offered at NO COST. Registration is required. Complete the registration form below.

CALL 828-505-5146 or email to find out when the next session of Peer University begins or to answer any questions. 


Are you a Certified Peer Support Specialist looking for a job?
Check out our webpage listing AREA PEER SUPPORT job openings.  

Peer Support 101
Let Peer University introduce you to the world of resource navigation and networking!
Sinking or Swimming in Certifications
Learn the steps and aspects required for obtaining the Peer Support Specialist certification.
Peer Support Groups & Facilitation
Get an overview of different support groups, what is required as a facilitator and how to navigate difficult situations that may arise.
Peer Support & Spirituality
Class discussion on understanding, respecting and navigating conversations pertaining to religion and spirituality as a Peer Support Specialist
Speaker Series: Seek Healing’s Intro to Listening
Learn how to connect with peers in a profound way through active listening
Peer Support and Harm Reduction
Learn about the benefits of implementing harm reduction and the tools that help promote a healthier community.
Speaker Series: Naloxone Training
Learn how to reverse an opioid overdose with our Peer Specialists at the Safe Syringe Program within Buncombe County Health and Human Services.
Peer Support and Verbal De-escalation
Gain knowledge on the stages of escalation and learn where and when a Peer Support Specialist can make the biggest difference.
Peer Support and Recovery Messaging
Learn about common language used within the peer support world, the stigma associated with popular terms and how to be intentional with our words.
Peer Support and Racial Equity 101
In-depth discussion on the notion of “race”, equity vs equality, how to start the conversation and how systematic racism has affected (and affects) our communities.
Peer Support in the Justice System
Learn how Peer Support Specialists work within and the effect they have on the healthcare, criminal justice, education and corporate sectors.
Peer Support and Diversity
Unpack from a neutral perspective how to support, learn from and connect with peers facing exclusion due to their race, gender, age and more
Speaker Series: Friday Guest Speakers
Each Friday a guest speaker from Sunrise will share their role at Sunrise, their recovery story and answer any questions
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How do I become a 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 replaces intensive schooling and formal work experience. Peer Support positions often pay above minimum wage and is a pathway to a career for many who face barriers to employment such as incarceration, houselessness, substance use recovery and mental health challenges.  


  • 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 throughout the state or go to Sunrise’s 50-hour Training, Pathways to Recovery HERE.
  • 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. 
  • Fill out the form below to register for Sunrise’s Peer University Program. If class is full, you will be notified of a waiting list.

Please fill out the form below to register

Please allow three to five business days for a response from Sunrise once you have completed your registration, and  check your SPAM folder regularly.