Peer Support Specialist Job Description

Peer Support Specialist Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a peer support specialist. You can use our job description template in this article to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a peer support specialist.


Who is a Peer Support Specialist?

A peer support specialist is someone with real-life experience who has undergone training to assist individuals who suffer from mental health, psychological trauma, or substance abuse. Peer support specialists have knowledge that cannot be matched by professional training because of their firsthand experience with these challenges. Peer Support Services are specialized therapeutic interactions provided by self-identified current or past receivers of behavioral health services who have been trained and accredited to provide support and assistance in aiding others in their path of recovery and community reintegration. Peer support aims to give people hope that healing is not just possible but also likely. Through mentoring and service coordination supports, the service is intended to foster empowerment, self-determination, understanding, coping skills, and resiliency in people with severe and persistent mental illness and co-occurring disorders. This enables them to achieve personal wellness and manage the stressors and challenges they face as they work toward recovering from their disabilities.

Peer support is based on the ideas of consumer choice and people actively participating in their healing. Peer support is based on the idea that persons with disabilities should have the chance to decide for themselves what roles they want to play in terms of interacting socially, learning, working, and living in the community. Therefore, the agreement of the individual to receive services is critical. Peer support specialists are also referred to as referred certified Recovery Support Specialists or Peer Support Technicians.

A peer support specialist will receive training and certification to support and encourage individuals who are seeking wellness and going through similar circumstances. Substance abuse, substance use disorders, opioid abuse, physical and mental trauma, mental health problems, and underlying disorders can all fall under this condition. Peer support specialists have direct knowledge of such traumatic situations and collaborate closely with specialists to provide therapy and counseling. Peer support specialists have a shared commitment to promoting recovery, providing peer recovery support, and providing mental health services to assist others in resolving or managing their challenges. Peers and shared experiences can be used to deliver services in a way that is empowering and effective in a variety of contexts. Most peer support specialists are persons who have recovered successfully and assist others in overcoming similar challenges.

Human services professionals that specialize in peer support can help people stay committed to their recovery while reducing their probability of relapsing. To enable effective and long-lasting recovery processes, peer support services extend recovery support services outside of therapeutic settings and into commonplace situations, such as social media. As a peer specialist, you have the opportunity to help those going through similar challenges by imparting the knowledge, skills, and resources you have learned on your recovery journey. By doing so, you can improve your recovery and well-being while also making a difference in the lives of many other people.


The job options in this field are growing as more people become aware of the impact peer support specialists have on society. Peer support has the potential to fundamentally transform the way that people provide and receive behavioral health support. You have a platform to connect with people who share your experiences as a peer support specialist. Since you show a desire to be open, this is a great way to build connections with those seeking assistance. Since therapists and other professionals are not permitted to interact personally with their patients, this gives you an advantage over them.

Peer support is an essential component of any rehabilitation process because it allows individuals who need support and advice to freely share their experiences. Patients can freely share information and learn while getting a personal insight into what recovery looks like from their peer support specialist. You must be compassionate and have great interpersonal communication skills to be a peer support specialist.

A good peer support specialist would be able to quickly spot warning signs in their clients and offer supportive solutions. Teams for mental health and counseling are composed of peer support specialists as well as psychologists and social workers. They might offer guidance or assistance to people struggling with addictions or mental health issues. They commonly serve as peer role models for their clients because they are intimately aware of the conditions. Clients and peer support specialists often have private meetings in each other’s homes or offices. Additionally, they might offer assistance in health providers’ offices, ERs, inpatient clinics, and recovery facilities. Many conduct phone conversations with customers or offer online virtual assistance.


Peer Support Specialist Job Description

Below are the peer support specialist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. The employer can use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The duties and responsibilities of a peer support specialist include the following:

  • Respond to calls for assistance and client emergencies as needed.
  • Meet with clients regularly to provide them with counseling and assistance.
  • Develop rehabilitative programs, coping mechanisms, and rehabilitation tactics together with the client.
  • Inform the appropriate specialists of any odd behavior, conflict, or deviations from the healing process.
  • Communicate regularly with family members and medical specialists.
  • Organize the client’s schedule of activities, including appointments for treatment and medical care.
  • Develop connections based on common experience, respect, empathy, and freedom of choice.
  • Assist by validating, motivating, empowering, and emphasizing strengths.
  • Share personal experience stories to generate hope in clients when needed.
  • Recognize a person’s specific needs, past experiences, cultural values, and personal views.
  • Encourage and assist your peers as they navigate challenging situations.
  • Inform the client’s case manager of any changes to either their mental or physical health.
  • Keep in touch with clients by phone or in-person to maintain personal contact.
  • Providing clients with support and encouragement can help them develop and accomplish their goals.
  • Assist with program obligations, such as attending group meetings or one-on-one therapy sessions, and explain how the treatment program works.
  • Track clients’ progress to make sure that they are moving in the right direction toward rehabilitation.
  • Educate clients on some issues including stress management, conflict resolution, parenting techniques, and drug usage prevention.
  • Provide information about local resources to clients to assist them in obtaining the services they need.
  • Impart knowledge on self-advocacy, how to go through treatment, and how to use the healthcare system
  • Educate the populace or the government.
  • Plan the client’s appointments for therapy, counseling, support groups, and other services.
  • Supervise the client’s schedule.
  • Monitor client’s activities, and conducts.
  • Conduct evaluations and give the patient, medical staff, and family feedback.
  • Discuss warning indicators, good coping techniques, and resources that can help during times of need.
  • Conduct evaluations and give the patient, medical staff, and family feedback.
  • Create recovery reviews and performance records to keep tabs on the healing process.



  • A high school diploma or GED is required.
  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related discipline.
  • A minimum of one year’s experience as a peer support specialist or a similar role.
  • Possession of a valid driver’s license.
  • Certifications like the CIPSS or NCPS are required.
  • Lived experience with substance abuse, trauma, or any mental health condition.
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills.
  • Must be compassionate and empathetic.
  • Attention to detail skills.
  • Thorough knowledge of recovery resources.
  • Must be able to be on call for emergency purposes.
  • Must be able to work on weekends and public holidays.


Essential Skills

  • Communication and interpersonal skills: Effective communication with those who have mental disorders and their families is a requirement for peer support specialists. Additionally, they ought to be able to listen well and help others without passing judgment. Since peer support specialists often work one-on-one with clients, they need to have good interpersonal skills to make their clients feel at ease and confident in their advice. Interactions between peer support specialists and other professionals and family members caring for their clients are also possible. Peer specialists must therefore master effective communication skills and stay current with changes in the mental health profession.
  • Active listening skills: The capacity to hear and comprehend what another person is saying is known as active listening skills. It entails evaluating the speaker’s body language and asking for clarification. Because peer support specialists often work one-on-one with clients and must comprehend their wants and concerns, this is an essential skill.
  • Empathy: Understanding another person’s thoughts and feelings is known as empathy. One of your responsibilities as a peer support specialist is to assist those going through a mental health issue. Someone may be going through a highly stressful and emotional moment, therefore you must empathize with them and make them feel understood.
  • Non-judgmental attitude: One of the most essential skills for a peer support specialist is a nonjudgmental attitude. They must be able to listen to people without passing judgment because they work with persons who have a variety of mental health conditions. This enables them to offer their clients a welcoming environment where they feel free to discuss their challenges.
  • Confidentiality: The commitment to maintaining customer information’s privacy is known as confidentiality. As a peer support specialist, you might hear sensitive information concerning the private lives of your clients, and it is a crucial component of your job to keep that information confidential. Ensure not to disclose to someone else any information you acquire about your clients.
  • Critical thinking and decision-making skills: Peer specialists often operate on their own. They might not always have a director or someone to report to directly. This calls for peer specialists to be independent decision-makers who can act without always seeking approval from others. Peer specialists frequently deal with individuals who are dealing with mental illnesses, which can occasionally be unpredictable and call for quick decisions and actions.
  • Problem-solving skills: A peer support specialist can recognize problems and create solutions with the aid of problem-solving skills. As a peer support specialist, you might deal with people who are in distress emotionally. In this case, you can use your problem-solving skills to assist them in resolving their issues and overcoming challenges. You can assist your team members in resolving disputes and enhancing communication by using your problem-solving skills.


How to Become a Peer Support Specialist

Step 1. Obtain the relevant education

Peer support specialists are often required to obtain at least a high school diploma or GED to stand a chance for employment. To enroll in a peer support specialist program, you must have completed high school or something comparable. Consider enrolling in classes to get your diploma if you don’t already have one. Being well-educated can make you more qualified for the position because peer specialists frequently interact with people who have mental illnesses and their families.  A bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, nursing, or a related discipline is preferred by some employers. Students who complete these degrees will have the knowledge and abilities necessary to collaborate with others in a range of contexts.

Step 2. Enroll in a certified peer specialist (CPS) program

Most states have minimum certification requirements for peer specialists. Candidates must complete an online course and pass a test to earn the Certified Peer Specialist/Mental Health Worker certification from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). After three years, you must renew this certificate by completing 20 hours of mental health-related continuing education. Similar certificates for peer specialists are provided by other organizations. You can consult the National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter in your state for more details on these programs and other prerequisites for becoming a peer support specialist.

Step 3. Gain relevant work experience

Many people who wish to become peer specialists have some experience working with people who have mental conditions, though it’s not necessary. This can be achieved by working a paid job or volunteering at a hospital, clinic, or another healthcare facility. You will gain more knowledge of the worries and challenges faced by people with mental illness as a result of working in this type of environment. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with these people directly and observe how those around them help them. Most organizations will offer new support specialists on-the-job training. Learning the organization’s rules and regulations, the software they employ, and the best practices for dealing with clients are all generally included in this training.


Where to Work as a Peer Support Specialist

The environment for which a peer support specialist works can vary depending on the type of organization they work for. Peer support specialists typically work in outpatient mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers, recovery centers, healthcare facilities, government agencies, and residential treatment facilities. Some of them may also work for community-based organizations or private organizations. They can also decide to be self-employed and work as private therapists. Peer support specialists may also be required to work evenings and weekends to meet their clients’ schedules.


Peer Support Specialist Salary Scale

The salary scale of peer support specialists can vary widely depending on various important factors, such as level of education, certifications, additional skills, and years of experience. In the UK, the average salary for a peer support specialist is £30,001 per year. The salary scale typically ranges from £25,000 to £48,142 per year.

In the US, the average salary of a peer support specialist is $42,397 per year. The salary scale is usually between $31,672 and $57,629 per year. In Canada, the average salary for a peer support specialist is $44,000 per year. The salary scale is usually from  $37,050 to $51,493 per year. In Nigeria, the average salary of a peer support specialist is  3,788,000 NGN per year. The salary range is usually from 1,695,000 NGN to 6,691,000 NGN per year.


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