Peer Training and Placement Program

The Peer Training and Placement Program supports peers and family members that are seeking to become state certified as peer support specialists and looking to serve in a peer or related role. After joining the program, individuals complete a peer training and receive placement support in line with their career goals. The training portion, Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Training, fulfills the state’s training requirement for the initial certification process.

More information about the certification process can be found through the CalMHSA (California Mental Health Services Authority) certification website:

Roadmap to Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification

About the Training

Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification (PSSC) Training is an online, 80 hour state training offered through NAMI San Diego and Imperial Counties in partnership with NAMI California and approved by CalMHSA, meeting the training requirements for peer certification in California.

This training is devoted to providing individuals peer to peer education and support to those who self-identify as having experience with the process of recovery from a mental illness or substance use disorder, either as a consumer of these services or as the parent, caregiver, or family member of a consumer with a mental health condition. This serves as a pathway to employment/volunteer positions within the public mental health system, after subsequently taking and passing
the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification exam.

Those who complete the 80 hour training will receive a certificate of completion to submit in their certification application which will then enable individuals to sit for the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Exam.



What are the Training Details?

Who is eligible for the training?

If all of the following are true, you are eligible to apply for this training:

  • 13 sessions – live attendance required.
  • Cost: FREE
  • Location: Online (through Zoom)
  • Days: 2.5 weeks, Mondays-Fridays*
  • Time: 12:30-4:30 pm (including breaks)* – participants are required to factor in an additional 28 hours outside of sessions for homework and training support.
  • Virtual Office Hours: Offered weekly, 10-11 am (participants are required to attend 1 out of the 3 virtual office hours)
  • Follow-up support, career counseling, and career placement assistance.

*Days/times subject to change

  • Intend to become state certified as a Peer Support Specialist (PSS), including sitting for the state certification exam.
  • Interested in seeking/maintaining placement (either paid employment or volunteer) as a PSS or related role.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Reside in San Diego or Imperial County.
  • Possess a high school diploma/equivalent (or higher) degree.
  • Live with a mental health and/or substance use condition; or as the parent, caregiver, or family member – support a loved one living with either of these conditions.
  • Be willing to share your experience.
  • Have a strong dedication to recovery.
  • Agree to adhere to the Code of Ethics. A copy of the ethics can be located HERE.
  • Successfully complete the training requirements for a peer support specialist.
  • Have access and ability to utilize computer, laptop, and internet connection with which you can see, hear, and speak.
  • Ability to commit and actively participate in the entire 80 hour live online training.
  • Willingness to commit to staying in communication with trainers for 6 months of follow-up support.
  • No certification scholarship. If you do have a scholarship, you may be eligible to take the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification (PSSC) Training through NAMI California and are encouraged to reach out to Rebecca Kim, Click for more information: NAMI CA Medi-Cal PSSC Training. Alternatively, you can view other CalMHSA approved training options HERE.

When is the training offered?

Cohort 1: February 6 – February 23, 2023 (no class February 20th, President’s Day)

Cohort 2: March 13 – March 29, 2023**

Cohort 3: April 24 – May 10, 2023**

Cohort 4: June 5-22 (No session, Monday, June 19)

Cohort 5: August 16-September 1

Cohort 6: September 18-October 4

Cohort 7 [Rescheduled]: November 29-December 15

Cohort 8: *Early 2024 (more information coming soon!)

Space in each cohort is limited!
**Dates subject to change.

What topics are covered in the training?

Participants learn behavioral health skills covering the 17 Peer Specialist core competencies as
identified by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

Topics covered include:

  • Recovery Model
  • Communication Skills
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Cultural Competency
  • Medi-Cal Code of Ethics and more!

Click HERE to view the full list of 17 core competencies

Where can I learn more about state certification?

The CalMHSA Certification website ( is the best place to find more information about the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification process, requirements, qualifications, and application info. That website is also where you will start your certification application if you have not started already.

Application Instructions for the Initial Certification Process can be found HERE.

Certification Requirements can be found HERE.

What is the process to join the training?

Step 1: Review training eligibility to determine if you qualify for this training

Step 2: Complete the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Training Interest Form

Step 3: Staff will review your form to determine eligibility

Step 4: Staff will notify you if you are eligible to proceed with training registration or direct you to alternate training options

Step 5: Complete your training registration and Individualized Career Plan (ICP) form

Step 6: Complete mini career counseling session with staff/volunteers to review completed ICP

Step 7: Receive notification from staff to confirm your spot in the training

What happens after I complete the training?

After the 2.5 weeks of training are complete, participants receive the following support for 6

  • Career Counseling
  • Notification of job leads
  • Office Hours to augment training
  • Job placement assistance


Please click the following “Interest Form” button to complete and submit your form.
Completing the Interest Form for the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Training is NOT equal to registration.
After your form is received and reviewed, you will receive further information.

For further questions, please contact: :