Peer Support Specialist Certificate

Undergraduate Certificate for Peer Support Specialist in Behavioral Health – 12 Credits

The Peer Support Specialist (PSS) Certificate is specifically designed for those with “lived experience” who consider themselves in recovery from a substance use or mental health disorder. Peer support includes relationship building in order to provide support, advocacy, wellness, and community engagement services to individuals. Program participants complete four university courses and spend 120 hours in the field where knowledge is put into practice within a behavioral health agency. This certificate provides students an opportunity to experience the professional side of the field and may be utilized as a stepping-stone for further career advancement.

The Undergraduate Certificate for Peer Support Specialist in Behavioral Health meets the Nevada Certification Board (NCB) educational requirements and may lead to certification. For more information on NCB Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist requirements please review the “PRSS Certification” flowchart and visit the NCB’s Website. Please note, students change their program, change your state of residence, and/or change where you intend to practice during your enrollment at UNR, the program requirements can be very different based upon the state involved. For a breakdown of Peer Support Certification educational requirements by state please click Peer Support Certification Requirements by State.

Applicants must be enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno. See University of Nevada, Reno Admissions for more information.

With a focus on behavioral health, the PSS Certificate explores the wellness model, multiple definitions of recovery, mentoring and coaching skills, and professional ethics.

Required courses for completing the certificate include:

CAS 154: Problems of Substance Abuse and Addiction (3 credits)

Overview of how involvement with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs can affect health, personal and social development. Relates social, philosophical, cultural, prevention and treatment issues.

CAS 257: Fundamentals of Behavioral Health (3 credits)

An overview of wellness dimensions, peer support specialists’ ethics, patient advocacy, and systems of care navigation for the mental health and substance abuse services provider.

CAS 354: Screening and Client Engagement (3 credits)

Overview of philosophical and procedural components for providing addictions services, professional characteristics, ethical/legal issues, helping process and initial assessment.

CAS 457: Peer Support Specialist Practicum* (3 credits)

Field placement in a community-based organization where students practice applying knowledge and skills attained in peer support specialist certificate classes.

*Students must be pre-approved to enroll in CAS 457!

  • Interview required for approval consideration and practicum placement. Email by October 1 or March 1 for the following semester enrollment.
  • A GPA of 2.0 in the first three classes is expected for admittance into CAS 457.

Nevadaworks Tuition Assistance Grant

Funded by Nevadaworks, Northern Nevada’s Local Workforce Investment Board, this grant will build and strengthen Nevada’s behavioral health workforce by expanding career entry tracks, offering recruitment and screening activities, developing a career roadmap, providing stackable credits, and offering academic courses. The CASAT Nevadaworks grant provides tuition, training, and practicum assistance to qualified students, thereby reducing educational barriers and helping individuals move efficiently through the education, certification, licensing, and training/practicum processes to begin or continue their careers in behavioral health. Completion of a certificate funded by the CASAT Nevadaworks grant funding will increase students’ marketability to employers and infuse the behavioral health workforce with new talent.

In order to qualify, participants must meet eligibility requirements. To learn more and apply for the grant, click here.

For more information, please contact Jordan Baez at

Behavioral Health Workforce Education & Training (BHWET) Tuition Assistance Grant

CASAT received a grant to assist eligible PSS students with tuition and fees for the PSS-required courses. Click here to apply.

Please note – this application is separate from the required PSS Certificate Application.

For questions or further information about the PSS Certificate Program, please contact Terra Hamblin or the CASAT office at (775) 784-6265.