Peer Specialists provide reassurance, hope, and inspiration to peers in treatment settings. Their lived experience allows them to connect with peers faster, and in a different way, than clinical staff.
This ability to connect around a common experience creates a trusting, non-judgmental relationship. Peers become willing to share aspects of their life that they would usually not share with clinicians. They may also be more receptive to information about recovery, coping skills, treatment, and community resources. Peer Specialists have a unique role in changing lives.
“Today I have turned my past into my passion by returning to others the same compassion and encouragement that I received. I lead by example and guide others to see that life without the drugs and alcohol is possible, and they never have to live like that again.”
– Patty Yager
Maintaining Your Recovery
You will be connected to a community of professionals who are also dedicated to maintaining their recovery. These connections, along with ongoing professional development, will give you many opportunities to reflect on and strengthen your recovery.
“Peer support showed me how big the world of recovery can be. I learned by observing other peers that there are many pathways to recovery and different things work for different people. This has helped me in my own recovery and helped me to be a more open-minded and understanding person to other people’s experiences.”
– Sean Willits
Strong Career Outlook
Research shows that the support of Peer Specialists improves recovery outcomes. Therefore, many organizations are seeking qualified individuals to fill these positions.
|Re-entry Programs||Youth Services|
|Outpatient Clinics||Police Departments|
Peer Specialists work and help others in a variety of settings.
“Seeing a peer working in a professional setting, like in a medical field or with law enforcement, inspired me to not limit myself to where I had worked in the past.”
– Josh Ramsey
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the employment of professionals in the fields of substance use, behavioral disorders, and mental health will grow 22 percent from 2021 to 2031.
This is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven in part by the increased recognition of the importance of peer support and recovery services in treating substance use and mental health issues.
The Peer Specialist role can be a stable job with a sense of purpose. Because there are multiple levels in the certification system, there is plenty of room for long-term professional growth.
“Organizations, providers, and communities are replacing stigma with open minds and hearts by allowing individuals in recovery to work for them. Being looked at as a solution instead of a problem because of my lived experience is huge.”
– Kathleen Stancliff