Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ about Peer Academy

Are Training Sessions Conducted online?

All Peer Academy training sessions are conducted online. You can access the training from anywhere, as long as you have a computer and a reliable internet connection.

To ensure effective interaction and learning, we recommend being in a private setting, using a computer or laptop with a webcam instead of a cell phone to join our training.

Are there any prerequisites to enrolling in Peer Academy training?

  • Have the PeerForce orientation completed and the attestation document.
  • Meet the age requirement of 18 years or older
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have personal experience with mental health challenges
  • Willing to share one’s recovery story in a suitable manner
  • Able to show ongoing self-directed recovery journey

How do I get Started to Enroll in the Certification?

  • Sign up for PeerForce and complete the Orientation and Attestation.
  • Complete the Core training and pass the assessment.
  • Enrolling in Speciality training for your chosen certification MHPS.

Where can I find the Training Schedules?

You can find the Training Schedules on our Training Calendar Page.

We also recommend following our Facebook and Instagram pages to stay up-to-date with the latest news and updates from Peer Academy, including new training schedules and upcoming events.

Is Training Available for students outside Texas?

Yes, training is available for students outside of Texas. However, please note that while you are welcome to sign up for our training sessions, some of the content covered may be specific to Texas.

Additionally, please be aware that completing a training session outside of Texas may not count towards certification in your state. We recommend checking with your state’s regulatory agency or professional organization to determine if our training sessions will fulfill any certification or continuing education requirements.

Are the Trainers Practicing and Certified Peer Specialists?

All of our trainers at Peer Academy are certified and practicing peer specialists with several years of experience. They have undergone rigorous training and have demonstrated the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience to be effective trainers.

Our trainers are passionate about their work and are dedicated to helping students develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their careers as peer specialists. You can be confident that you are learning from experienced professionals who are committed to your success.

FAQ about Financial Aid

Is there financial Aid available from Peer Academy?

Our Enhanced Mental Health Peer Specialist (MHPS) Training program includes both Core and Specialty Training for free, and students who successfully complete the program will receive a stipend of $3,500.

Eligibility for the program and enrollment instructions can be found here.

Please note that this program has specific eligibility criteria and is only available to a limited number of participants.

Is there any other Financial Aid Options Available?

  • PeerForce – PeerForce offers training vouchers that can be used for MHPS specialty training with Peer Academy. These vouchers are limited in availability and can be checked for more information on the PeerForce website. If you are interested in applying for financial aid, please visit the PeerForce website for more information and to see if you are eligible.


  • Texas Workforce Commission – The Texas Workforce Commission offers a variety of financial aid programs for core, MHPS, and RSPS specialty training. Visit the Texas Workforce Commission website for more information and to see if you qualify for financial aid.

How can I apply for Financial Aid?

To apply for financial aid, please visit our financial aid page and review the available options. Before submitting an application, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements.

Applicants must demonstrate a real need for financial assistance and do well in their training in order to be eligible.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need further guidance on the application process. We are here to help.

What is the eligibility to meet the stipends?

The most critical eligibility requirement for receiving stipends is to do well in your training. In order to be considered for a stipend, you must meet the minimum performance standards set by Peer Academy for the specific training program you are enrolled in. This is to ensure that the stipends are awarded to students who are making the most of their training and are likely to succeed in their future careers.

FAQ about a Career in Peer Support

What is the difference between Peer Support, Traditional Counseling Therapy, and Coaching?

Peer Support is a form of mutual aid where individuals with similar experiences provide emotional and practical support to each other, promoting self-help, healing, and empowerment. It is based on the idea that people who have experienced similar challenges can offer unique insight, understanding, and support to one another. Peer support is provided by people who have lived experience with mental health or substance use challenges, and the focus is on sharing personal experiences, offering emotional support, and helping the person build a sense of hope and empowerment. It provides a way for people to share their experiences and learn from each other in a safe and supportive environment.

Traditional Counseling Therapy typically involves a licensed mental health professional working with a client to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. The focus is on diagnosing and treating the individual’s symptoms through a combination of talk therapy, medication management, and other treatment modalities.

Coaching, on the other hand, is typically focused on goal-setting, skill-building, and helping clients achieve specific personal or professional objectives. The coach works collaboratively with the client to develop a plan of action, provide guidance and support, and hold the client accountable for taking steps to achieve their goals.

While there is some overlap between these models, the main difference lies in the approach and focus of each. Traditional counseling therapy is typically more clinically focused, coaching is typically more action-oriented, and peer support is typically more experiential and relational. Peer Support, in particular, requires previous lived experience.

What do I need to be a Certified Peer Specialist?

  • Meet the age requirement of 18 years or older
  • Have personal experience with mental health and/or substance use issues
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Willing to share one’s recovery story in a suitable manner
  • Able to show ongoing self-directed recovery journey
  • Pass any required criminal history and registry background checks.
  • Living in Texas

Is Being a Peer Specialist a Good Career Path?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certified Peer Support Specialists are part of the growing field of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, mental health counselors or health educators, and community health workers. The BLS predicts significant job growth of 22% and 11%, respectively, for these fields between 2018 and 2028. This indicates that certified Peer Support Specialists can expect a stable job market and a variety of career opportunities.

Which Certification is right for me?

Consider your lived experience when choosing a peer support certification. MHPS (Mental Health Peer Support) certification may be right for you if you have lived experience with mental health conditions. The RSPS (Recovery Support Peer Specialist) certification may be right for you if you have lived experience with substance abuse. 

You can become dual-certified if you have lived experiences in both fields, or choose the area that appeals to you the most.

Please note that Peer Academy provides only the following training:

  • Core Training (Core Training is required for MHPS and RSPS both)
  • Mental Health Peer Specialist (MHPS) Specialty Training. 

Peer Academy does not currently offer Recovery Support Peer Specialist (RSPS) training, but it may be available in the future.

Any more questions about Peer Academy?

Do you have any questions regarding our training and programs? We’d love to hear from you.

Any more questions about a career in peer support?

For more questions and answers about a career in peer support, visit the PeerForce wiki.
PeerForce is an independent non-profit organization funded by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Peer Academy is not directly affiliated with PeerForce.

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