Applications to this program are currently closed. See the “How to Apply” section below for more information about the application process.

Are you passionate about mental health and want to give others hope? Turn your lived experience into a fulfilling career! Join our Peer Support Training Project and get certified as a peer support specialist.

What is a peer support specialist?

A peer support specialist is someone with lived experience in overcoming mental health or challenges, either as a recipient of services or as a family member or caregiver of someone who has received services. They receive specialized training to offer support and assistance to others facing similar struggles.

Why become a peer support specialist?

With a shortage of 8,000 workers in San Diego County’s behavioral healthcare field, certified peer support specialists are in incredibly high demand. This sought-after certification opens doors to work in hospitals, clinics, community organizations and government agencies. As a peer support specialist, you’ll offer personalized support, empowering individuals to find their unique path to recovery. Make a profound impact on lives while enjoying a fulfilling career in the healthcare and behavioral health sector.

What do I receive? 

  • 80-hour certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Training
  • Cover one exam fee for the California Peer Support Specialist Certification   
  • Opportunity to apply for a paid internship, offering hands-on experience
  • Job-readiness training

What does the Medi-Cal Peer Support Training entail?

We offer live virtual 80-hour Medi-Cal Peer Support Training provided by NAMI San Diego over the course of 13 days from 8 a.m.–12 p.m., Monday through Friday. Participants will learn behavioral health skills covering the 17 peer support core competencies as identified by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). The training will be led by Shannon Switzer, lead trainer and certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist. NAMI San Diego is a CalMHSA-approved training provider.

Topics covered include:

  • Recovery model
  • Communication skills
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Cultural competency
  • Medi-Cal Code of Ethics and more!

Who It's For

  • Ages 18+ 
  • Has a high school diploma or GED 
  • Live in San Diego County 
  • Legally authorized to work in the U.S. 
  • Identify as having lived experience with recovery from a mental health or substance use condition, either as a person who received services or as a parent, caregiver, or family member of a person who has received services 
  • Has a strong dedication to recovery

This program offers help:

  • With starting school or a certificate program
  • Finding a temporary job or internship
  • Finding a long-term job
  • Learning new job skills
  • Applying your lived experience to an in-demand career

How to Apply

Applications to this program are currently closed. The enrollment process includes an application form, which typically takes 10–15 minutes. After submission, you will receive an email containing supplemental questions. The supplemental questions will include, submission of a resume and a written response of 200–500 words to the following prompt: share your own story with behavioral health challenges, specifically with mental health or substance use. Tell us about how you’ve worked towards recovery and the techniques that helped you along the way. Don’t forget to mention the people and resources that made a difference in your journey. Lastly, let us know how you’ve been a support to others in their recovery process.

When applications are closed, we encourage you to work on your resume and your written response for submission when applications reopen. In the meantime, we invite you to review our programs list page to see which programs are actively enrolling participants, sign up for a workshop or stop by a career center. Questions or need more information? Contact or call (619) 319-WORK (9675).

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