Peer Support Specialist Training

What is a Peer Support Specialist (PSS)?

This course prepares students to be certified as a Peer Support Specialist (PSS) through the Oregon Health Authority. A Peer Support Specialist is an individual with shared, lived experience with substance use and/or mental health who provides supportive services to a current or former consumer of mental health or addiction treatment. A PSS is also a consumer advocate who facilitates connections between individuals and needed services and activities.

Health Careers Center

What you will learn:

  • The recovery model process and stages of change
  • Strategies for supporting peers with wellness, self-efficacy, resilience, self- mastery, empowerment, and recovery
  • Peer support roles and how to work in a team setting with healthcare providers
  • Culturally responsive care
  • Peer advocacy strategies
  • Motivational interviewing, coaching, group facilitation, conflict resolution, and effective communication strategies
  • Facilitating linkages to community resources
  • Professional and ethical responsibilities
  • Crisis intervention and trauma-informed care

If you have any questions regarding the class, please contact Sarah Baron at

Training Details:

    • In-person classes will be held on the Bend Campus on the following days: Fridays, 2/3 & 2/24 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays  9 am. to 4 p.m. 2/4 & 2/25.
    • Zoom will be held on Wednesday 2/8 & 2/15 1-3 p.m. 
  • For steps on how to enroll as a non-degree please click here. Note: Placement testing is not required.
  • Please email instructor for instructor approval into the class.

If we determine you are eligible for this course, we will follow up with your next steps to complete registration.

  • Length: 4 weeks (4 credits)
  • Hybrid Format:

Course Requirements:

  • Attend all in-person classes 
  • No academic prerequisites
  • Does not require high school diploma or GED
  • Must have reliable access to internet and computer (computer labs are available on all COCC campuses; Barber Library also lends computers, wifi hotspots, and other technology free of charge)


If you have any questions regarding the Peer Support Specialist training course, please contact Sarah Baron at

Oregon Health Authority Peer Support Specialist Certification Requirements:

At the end of the COCC Peer Support Specialist (PSS) training course, you will be eligible to apply for certification as a Peer Support Specialist through the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Certification application instructions will be provided at the end of the course.

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) requirements for certification:

  • Completion of an OHA-approved COCC PSS course
  • Must be 18 years old
  • Criminal background check required
  • Government issued identification required (state IDs, driver license, or passport)
  • Certification valid for 3 years; 20 hours of continuing education is required to renew

Oregon Health Authority Peer Support Specialist Certification Website

Course Registration:

COCC’s Peer Support Specialist course runs twice a year, in Winter and Summer terms. It is offered as a 4-credit class, HHP 299, and as a noncredit. The credit and non-credit versions of this class run concurrently, the only differences being the price and whether or not you need to take it as a credit class for a degree. The credit cost qualifies for Federal Financial Aid and scholarship opportunities. The non-credit version does not qualify for Financial Aid or specific scholarships. Course information will be delivered using a combination of in-class and online instruction.