City College of SF is an approved vendor by CalMHSA to provide the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Training

About Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Training

Welcome! Do you want to use your personal lived experience in mental health to help transform people’s lives? Interested in learning how to engage and support peers on their recovery journeys?

Guided by Hope, Empowerment, and Resiliency peer support specialists utilize their lived experience to support others while preparing themselves for careers in behavioral health care.

Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist, a newly designated title for peer providers, is a professional, who utilizes their personal lived experience to provide support, advocacy, hope, motivation, and demonstrate that recovery is possible. A peer support specialist goes through this specialized training at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and certification process as outlined by CalMHSA.

At CCSF the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist training is completed in 14 weeks. The curriculum is designed for individuals who are 18 years of age or older, who self-identify as having lived experience with the process of recovery from mental illness, substance use disorder, or both, either as a consumer of these services or as the parent or family member of the consumer. Through engagement, creating supportive environments, and therapeutic activities peer support specialists promote skills building, self-advocacy, resource navigation, and much more. Peer support specialists learn behavioral health skills by utilizing the 17 core competencies established by Department of Health Care Services.

Program Information

When is it offered?

Every semester; Fall mid-August and Spring mid-January

Students register for:

  • HLTH 102 which is a 3-unit course and
  • HLTH 105 which is a 2-unit course;

for a total of 5 college credits.

Health 102 is an 8-week online course with mandatory zoom meetings one time per week. The zoom meetings are scheduled for Tuesdays from 5:30PM to 7:00PM.

Health 105 is a 6-week online course with mandatory zoom meetings one time per week. The zoom meetings for the class are held on Thursdays from 5:30PM to 7:00PM.

The zoom meetings are designed to develop applied skills, in other words the skills that the student will use to work in the field as a Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist. The zoom sessions are facilitated by the course instructor and involve skills building techniques through role-plays, simulations, scripts, step by step templates, and strength-based feedback.

Classes cover the 17-core competencies established by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and overseen by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) and prepares student for the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist State Examination.

Admission Requirements

  • There are no prerequisites to admission into the program.
  • For admission in the Fall or Spring semester enroll in Health 102 – Helping Relationships: Recovery and Wellness AND Health 105 – Professional Skills for CMHC (this course addresses the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Skills)


  • Free for SF residents
  • The California Promise Grant, formerly Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW), waives the enrollment fees and tuition for eligible California residents attending California Community College. The CCPG Fee Waiver will waive your per-unit enrollment fee for the entire academic year if you apply and qualify.
  • Applicants with CalMHSA vouchers will attend at no cost. Students will need to present a valid voucher code upon registration.

How to Register for CCSF and Courses

Requirements for State Examination

To seek Certification as Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist an individual must meet the following qualifications:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Possess a high school diploma or equivalent degree.
  3. Be self-identified as having experience with the process of recovery from a mental illness or substance use disorder, either as a consumer of these services or as the parent, caregiver or family member of a consumer.
  4. Be willing to share their experience.
  5. Have a strong dedication to recovery.
  6. Agree, in writing, to adhere to the Code of Ethics.
  7. Successfully complete the 80-hour training requirements for a peer support specialist through a CalMHSA-approved training entity.
  8. Pass the certification examination.

CalMHSA Peer Certification

To qualify for the State examination which leads to State certification, a candidate must have completed a vetted training program, apply to CalMHSA to take the examination, pay an examination fee, study for the examination, and take a 2.5-hour proctored examination consisting of 120 multiple choice questions covering 17 areas of competency.

We are currently in the process of developing a test preparation workshop for those interested in taking the State Examination. The workshop dates to be determined.

It will cover:

  • a review of core competencies
  • State Exam application process
  • practice taking multiple choice questions to simulate the State Exam
  • test taking strategies
  • managing test taking anxiety
  • what to expect when arriving at the test site

Where and in what capacity are Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists employed

Employment Opportunities
  • The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recognizes certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists as a new Medi-Cal provider type and Peer Support Services as a Medi-Cal benefit, effective July 1, 2022.
  • Peer Support Services will need to be Medi-Cal certified before being able to bill.
  • Peer Support Specialist,
  • Peer Navigator,
  • Peer Coordinator,
  • Peer Outreach Specialist