Peer Support Specialist Training

Spring 2018 Training-CLOSED

April 9-13, 2018


Summer 2018 Training

June 11-15, 2018

Sioux City, Iowa

Stoney Creek Inn

300 3rd St, 51101

Applications will be accepted from April 2 –May 11

     Lodging: The Days Inn Sioux City is holding a block of rooms for participants. You must reserve and pay for the room on your own. Contact the Days Inn, 712-258-8000, and mention Peer Support.


A Peer Support Specialist (PSS) is an individual who is personally living well in recovery from a serious mental illness. As a Peer Support Specialist, you will use your recovery story to instill hope. You will provide support to other peers and assist them in reaching and maintaining their personal recovery goals. In addition, you will serve as an advocate, provide information, help access community resources, and model competency in recovery and wellness. Peer Support Specialists promote skills for improving mental and physical wellbeing and increasing resiliency. They promote self-determination and support peers in maintaining relationships and increasing a higher level of control and satisfaction over their lives.

Peer Support Specialists are employed in mental health facilities, social service agencies, peer run recovery centers, peer run respites, integrated health homes, hospitals, prisons, with law enforcement agencies and other healthcare organizations. Peer Support Specialists may also serve on a variety of advisory boards and committees at local, state, and national levels.


You must commit to attending the entire 40 hour training. Training begins promptly at 8:30AM each day and ends at 5PM. Training will break each day around noon for lunch.


Successful completion of the training requires a passing score on the final exam.  Study sessions will be available in the evenings during training.  The exam will be an online exam that will be available within 2 weeks after the training.

Upon completion of the training (including homework, exam and other related requirements) trainees will receive a Letter of Acknowledgement stating they have completed the training. Successful completion of the training meets the requirement of most agencies for employment. Completing the training does not guarantee employment. Employers have their own requirements (in addition to training) for employment. Completing the training is a requirement to pursue certification.

Cost & Logistics

This training is FREE, however, trainees must pay for their own lodging, food and travel costs. If you are currently employed as a Peer Support Specialist, check with your employer about covering these expenses.

Lodging: You must make arrangements for your own lodging.

Meals: You must make arrangements for your own food.  You will have an hour for lunch and there are many food options near the training site. Most training locations do not allow outside food to be brought in.

Stipends: If you are not currently employed as a Peer or Family Peer Support Specialist (and will not have your costs paid by your employer) you may be eligible for a stipend that would reimburse you for part of your training related expenses.  You would be required to pay the initial costs of you hotel, gas and meals and submit a form for reimbursement upon completion of the training. You must submit the stipend application 2 weeks before the first day of training. Stipends must be applied for, processed and approved BEFORE the training.  If you would like more information about applying for a stipend please email:

Accommodations: Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this training, please contact Diane Funk in advance at 319-467-5034.

Suggested Dress: We ask that participants wear business casual clothing during the classroom hours. Jeans are discouraged. Clothing should be modest. As temperatures in the meeting rooms may fluctuate, you are encouraged to bring clothing so that you will be comfortable. Many people are sensitive to fragrances (smells)so please do not wear perfume or cologne.

Training facilities are smoke free.

To apply send an email request to:

  • You will receive an email response within 48 hours with a link to the online application.
  • Applications will be screened as they are received.  Training spaces are limited, so apply early.
  • You will be asked to provide contact information for 2 references.
  • Once your application is received you may be contacted with information regarding a phone interview.
  • After the screening interview you will be notified about whether or not you will be accepted for training.


Successful completion of this training will provide trainees with a Letter of Acknowledgement stating they have completed the training. Completing the training does not mean you are certified. Certification requires training plus work or volunteer hours and supervision.  For information on how to obtain certification visit: