Peer Support Specialist Training Overview

Training Required to Become a Peer Support Specialist

Most employers in Colorado require Peer Support Specialists/Peer Coaches to have training in a set of core competencies.  The competencies were 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
  • Strength Based Perspective
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 training and facilitation, 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, Summit Stone Health Partners, Denver Rescue Mission, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and the Denver Public Library.

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 for the fall training is $300.

Tuition for the fall Peer Support Specialist Training is $300. (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 $30 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your place in the training. This deposit is applied to your tuition.  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. If your tuition will be paid by a sponsoring organization we need a confirmation email from the organization and will send an invoice directly to them.

Applying to the Program

Minimum Application Requirements
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Desire to assist others in their recovery journey
  • Feeling established in one’s own recovery for a minimum of 1 year
  • Internet access and basic computer skills
  • Commitment to attend and participate in all days of training
Application Process
  1. Confirm that you meet the minimum requirements.
  2. Complete the written application.  Be thorough in answering questions.  The application can be completed online or can be downloaded as a PDF or DOC.  If you download the application, please fill it out on the computer so that it is legible. We can no longer accept hand-written applications as they are very difficult to read and you don’t want us to miss any important information about you.
  3. Obtain a letter of reference from a third party who is able to comment on your interpersonal and communication skills (treatment providers 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 support 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 or provide letter of authorization from DVR or sponsoring organization.

Applications for the January 2020 training will be reviewed in November and applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview.  

2020 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, 2390 S. Downing St. Suite C Denver CO 80210
Applications must be submitted no later than 10  weeks before the start of training.  Please note, if you choose to download the application as a DOC or PDF, it should be completed on a computer. We can no longer accept handwritten applications as they are too difficult to read. 

2020 Letter of Reference form (PDF) (DOC)
2020 Peer Application (PDF*) (DOC) (ONLINE)


*Please do not fill out the PDF form using your browser. Download and complete on your computer using a program like Adobe Reader.