Peer Support Specialist (Adult Mental Health) Training

What is a Peer Support Specialist (Adult Mental Health) (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.


PSS Student Interest Form

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

Training Details:

    • In-person classes will be held on the Bend Campus on the following days:
      • Monday 6/24 (8:30 am-5:00 pm)
      • Tuesday 6/25 (8:30 am-5:00 pm)
      • Monday 7/15 (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
      • Tuesday 7/16 (8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
    • Remote via Zoom will be held on Tuesday 7/9 & Thursday 7/11  (1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)
    • Please complete the survey for instructor approval to add. This course has closed for this term. Registration is full. 

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
  • Scholarships for the course are available for those who are enrolled in the class and have fully participated in the training. 

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 hot spots, and other technology free of charge)

Oregon Health Authority Peer Support Specialist (Adult Mental Health) Certification Requirements:

At the end of the COCC Peer Support Specialist--Adult Mental Health (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 (Adult Mental Health) course runs twice a year, in Winter and Summer terms. It is offered as a 4-credit class, HHP 183.  Course information will be delivered using a combination of in-class and online instruction.

We offer a few different ways to register for this course to meet the academic and professional needs of our students.

  • Two options for registration:
    • If you are interested in only taking this class only and not earning a degree, please click here for Non-Degree Enrollment Steps. 
    • If you are already a COCC student, please enroll for class using CRN#
  • Scholarships for the course are available for those who are enrolled in the class and have fully participated in the training.

For any questions about the class and more information, please contact Jill Ridling, Health Careers Outreach Coordinator at