Peer Support 101

Montana’s Peer Network has developed a comprehensive 40 hour training program to provide you with basic education and instruction around the most important elements of peer support work. We were the first provider approved by the Board of Behavioral Health to meet the training requirements for obtaining certification as a Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist. This empowering and highly interactive training includes topics such as: whole health recovery, one-on-one work, support group facilitation, ethics and standards, confidentiality, change model, recovery concepts and much, much more. This unique training experience provides hands on learning, role play examples, and group discussion that isn’t available in online or computer based trainings and a personal connection to other peer supporters around the state.

What people say about PS101

“…very happy with the training…”

“…thought it was wonderful.”

“Jim was very inactive with the group. It was fun and interesting. Wouldn’t change a thing.”

“Everything was well thought out and presented well.”

“Interactive learning.”

“Excellent course.”

“All great, Jim rocks, it was all great!”

“Jim is an excellent trainer.”

“…great training all around!”

“thank you so much!”

“…you kept us engaged and interested”

“I really learned some more tools for my job and do appreciate you introducing us all, was a pleasure and an honor to be in that training.”

This training is designed to allow the participant to develop core competencies of peer support, gain better understanding of their own recovery story, build upon strengths, network with other peer supporters and understand the important role peer support can play in the recovery process. Upon successful completion of this training participants will receive a certificate of completion from Montana’s Peer Network. This course meets the National Practice Standards for Peer Supporters and the guideline set up by the Montana Peer Support Task Force and the guidelines for Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist Certification.

PS 101 will return to in person training in August 2021. We still plan to conduct two virtual courses each year. Virtual courses require travel to a testing site the Monday following the training. The application link is available under the Application Process heading below. Also review the policies regarding COVID-19. Please see our Upcoming Events page for the most up-to-date list of trainings.

PS101 Followup Webinars

We are now offering follow-up webinars to those who have completed PS 101. This is to help support peer supporters in pursuing certification and careers in Montana.  We will hold periodic webinars to focus on challenges or barriers with that pursuit and to assist CBHPSS candidates in completing applications and the certification process.  We often get agencies reaching out to us for job offers and want to be able to help get these very important jobs filled with people who have a passion to support others. Webinars are scheduled 2-3 weeks following each PS 101 course. Contact Amanda for more information.

Find out more about state certification for peer supporters.

Upcoming Training

Topics Covered

Introduction, Orientation and Expectations
Foundation, History and Types of Peer Support
Peer Supporter Toolbox
Recovery Concepts, Dimensions and Guiding Principles

Montana Peer Support Task Force
Role and Scope
Boundaries and Ethics
Recovery Team
Recovery Talks
Clinical Supervision
Benefits Planning, FMLA and Accommodations
Continuing Education

Communication Skills
Emotional Intelligence
Trauma Informed Care
Cultural Understanding and CLAS Standards
Personal Bias
Providing Support
Goal Setting
Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies
Stages of Change
Situational Awareness
Suicide Intervention
Recovery and Crisis Planning
Advance Psychiatric Directive
Recovery Stories
Confidentiality, Reporting, HIPAA and Documentation

Montana State System
Resources state and national
10 Homework assignments
Training Evaluation

Course Information

Our virtual PS 101 course is not self paced. You must commit to the full week with 40 hours of in class/homework time as well as an orientation session the week before your training starts. There will be several Zoom sessions each day along with assignments to be completed between sessions or as a group. We will be using Zoom for our live sessions and Google Classroom for homework. Staff will be available for tech troubleshooting for those who are not familiar with Zoom and/or Google classroom.

Applications should be completed as soon as possible and will close 7 days prior to the first class day.

Training materials will be sent to each participant via US mail.

Participants requirements:

  • Reliable high speed internet access.
  • Private and uninterrupted space in which to participate.
  • A desktop, laptop, or tablet with a webcam for each participant. You cannot use a phone to take this course.
  • Be visible to the trainer and other participants at all times unless the class activity requires you to turn your camera off.
  • Attend the orientation session 2 weeks before the course. If you do not attend the orientation session, you will not be able to take the course.
  • We recommend using a headset or earphones during the training.
  • Final exams will be administered in person. You must be able to travel to the testing location the week following your course. Testing locations vary depending on class participants.

Applications typically open 6-8 weeks prior to training date.

Priority will be given to those who are currently working as peer supporters or have a specific, secured job offer that is dependent upon certification. You may be asked to provide documentation of your employment status. Space is extremely limited.

Before starting the application review the scheduled training dates. You will be asked to indicate those dates on the application.

A letter of recommendation is required to complete your application. The letter should be from your current or potential employer, clinical supervisor, peer support specialist or other behavioral health professional. Letters must be emailed to Amanda before your application will be considered.

If you are interested in applying for this training please complete the online application

You will receive notification of acceptance along with instructions regarding the training. Please allow a minimum of one week for us to process your application.

Homework will be distributed two weeks prior to the training.

To attend this course you must:

  • Be in stable recovery for at least two years
  • Apply 2 weeks before scheduled training
  • Attend all 5 days of training
  • Participate fully in class exercises
  • Complete all homework assignments
  • Take the written exam

Peer Supporters currently working in the field will have priority but you must sign up early to ensure your spot. Seats are extremely limited.

You must have an overall score of 80% to pass the course. This includes homework, class participation, and the final exam.

You will receive a certificate of course completion to submit with your Certified Behavioral Health Peer Support Specialist application


Peer Support 101 training fees $950.

There is currently no fee for Montana Residents to attend Peer Support 101 training thanks the state of Montana Addictive and Mental Disorder Division funding.

Any travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the individual.

We have no in person courses scheduled at this time.

Participants will be required to sign a waiver and indicate their agreement to follow all health and safety guidelines. These include but are not limited to:

  • Not attending the training if you have been within 6 feet of a person with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days or have experienced a fever of 100.5 F or above, cough, trouble breathing, chills, muscle aches, sore throat, diarrhea, persistent headache, and/or loss of smell or taste within 48 hours of the training date.
  • Maintaining 6 feet of distance from staff and participants during the training
  • Sanitizing hands when entering the training room and throughout the training as needed
  • Having a temperature check each day of the training
  • Following all health and safety guidelines posted in the training room or the training facility
  • Cloth face masks will be provided but are not required by MPN. The training facility may or may not require them.

Failure to follow the guidelines implemented by MPN and the training facility will result in dismissal from the training. Participants are attending the training at their own risk and understand that all public activities carry an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. Participants hold MPN free from any and all liability in connection with this situation.

CDC handouts

Stop the Spread of Germs

What to do if you are sick

How to use a cloth face covering

Protecting yourself and others

Additional information can be found at the CDC website and Montana Department of Health and Human Services.

If you don’t pass the Peer Support 101 training you cannot just retake the exam, you must retake the entire course.

We offer a limited number of trainings each year and we cannot guarantee that you will be able to retake the class on the next training date.

If you need a copy of your certificate, please email your name, address, and the date you took the training to Amanda. there is a $10 fee for certificate reprints which can be paid in our online store. Please be advised that it may take up to two weeks for you to receive your replacement certificate.