Peer Support

Washington State's Peer Support Program has trained and qualified mental health consumers as Certified Peer Counselors since 2005.  A "consumer" is someone who has applied for, is eligible for, or who has received mental health services.  This also includes parents and legal guardians when they have a child under the age of 13, or a child 13 or older and they are involved in their treatment plan (WAC 388-865-0150).

Certified Peer Counselors work with their peers (adults and youth) and the parents of children receiving mental health services. They draw upon their experiences to help peers find hope and make progress toward recovery.  Because of their own life experience, they are uniquely equipped to provide support, encouragement and resources to those with mental health challenges.

The peer support program is managed by the Office of Consumer Partnerships - OCP.  The OCP is guided by adult, youth and family representatives with behavioral health concerns.  Read about the goals and priorities of the Certified Peer Counselor program.

For more information contact: Jennifer McDonald, Peer Support Program Assistant, (360) 725-1718.

Join the Peer Support and Office of Consumer Partnership's Listserv.

Peer Support

  • Beginning July 1, 2016, you must complete the new online course before being accepted into training.  Please note that:
    • You will need to send the online completion certificate along with your training application
    • You will need to complete the online course before you will be considered for training.
    • If you have an invitation to a training, you must complete the online training two weeks before any training class. 
    • The online course is required for both the Standard and Youth and Family trainings.
    • The online course is full of information you will need as a working CPC.
    • Anyone can take the course, which is posted on the Washington State University webpage. See the tab with instructions for help with completing the online course.
  • In 2017, there will be two statewide trainings. Participants from rural areas or who travel long distances will be provided lodging and meals during the week.
  • There will be a new standard CPC curriculum test beginning July 2016.  The trainings beginning in July (including the Youth/Family trainings) will include an online course. You will send in your training certificates with your application for approval. We are working hard to make the transition as easy as possible, but please be patient as we bring these pieces together.
  • The CPC course was revised in 2016 with the assistance of Boston University, and the help of many peers and providers. It is more activity and skill-based, as much of the informational part of the training will be online.  Another part of the new training is the inclusion of skills checks, designed to make sure you have the skills you need to prepare you to become a CPC.
Standard Certified Peer Counselor Trainings

Standard trainings are offered by DBHR or by BHOs to prepare consumers to become certified peer counselors.  Adults, youth and parents are eligible for these trainings.  Parents and youth on WISe teams must take a Youth/Family training.


2017 Trainings

  • Jan. 16-20: Spokane BHO
  • Feb. 6-10: Tacoma
  • Feb. 27 - March 3:  Burien, King County BHO - (for King County residents only) CANCELLED
  • March 6-10: Yakima (Statewide - East)
  • April 10 - 14: Great Rivers BHO - (Grays Harbor, Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum and Cowlitz Counties only)
  • May 8-12th: N. Seattle
  • May 22-26: Spokane BHO 
  • June 5-9: Vancouver
  • June 26-30:  Burien, King County BHO - (for King County residents only)
  • July 17-21:  Optum Pierce BHO - (for Pierce County residents only)
  • Aug. 14-18: Tumwater (Statewide - West)
  • Sept. 11-15: North Sound
  • Sept. 25-29:  Burien, King County BHO - (for King County residents only)
  • Dec. 11-15:  Optum Pierce BHO - (for Pierce County residents only)

Application Process

  • Please read all the information on this web page to understand the application and certification process. 
  • To be accepted, applications must be sent with the online course completion certificate.
  • Submit applications to:
    • Jennifer McDonald
    • PO 45330, Olympia, WA 98504-5330; or
    • Fax:  360-725-2280; or
    • Email 
  • If you need other information, please call Jennifer McDonald at (360) 725-1718.
  • Applications must be revised and resubmitted one year after the original submission date.
  • We cannot predict when you will be invited to a training.  We fill trainings as possible during the year (no calls, please).
Youth and Family Certified Peer Counselor Trainings

These trainings are focused on preparing youth and parents to be certified as peer counselors.  The trainings cover the same material as the standard training, and the state test is required for both.  

Beginning in July, an online course will be required as a pre-requisite for training and there will be a new test.

Washington State University provides youth and family training.  If you are a parent or youth working on a WISe team, you may only apply for a youth/family training.  Other adults, parents and youth may apply on a space-available basis.  

2017 Trainings

  • Jan. 9-13:  Vancouver (Cancelled)
  • Feb. 6-10:  North Sound
  • March 13-17:  Kennewick

Where to send applications:

  • Jennifer McDonald
  • POB 45330, Olympia, WA 98504-5330
  • email: 
  • Fax:  360-725-2280

Local applicants will be prioritized for regional trainings, but all completed applications will be reviewed for consideration.

For questions about the Youth/Family trainings, please call Jennifer McDonald at 360-725-1718 or WSU at 360-350-0893.

Online Certified Peer Counseling Course

How to Complete the Online Certified Peer Counseling Course

We hope you will find the online pre-requisite training course to be a positive and helpful experience. Completing the course will be important in gaining the knowledge and skills you will need as a Certified Peer Counselor - CPC.  There is much information in the online course, including material that is not covered in the 40-hour training. The CPC test will cover information from both the in-person and the online course.  Please complete the online course thoroughly, take notes, and review the information as you are able.

When you have completed the online course, please email a copy of your certificate to  We must have a record of completing the course before confirming registration to any class beginning July 1. This applies to the youth and family training and the standard training.


The link to the course is:

  1. Create your account and log in to Blackboard
  2. Click “Go to Course”
  3. Use the Access code G@rt10$Hd

Scroll down to see each of the course modules.  Each module has audio, and there is a written script to read in Resources.  You may also print the script for further reference.  When you have finished the course, you may send a screenshot of the certificate, pasting it into a word document and sending it to Jennifer McDonald at DBHR by:

  • Mailing it to DBHR, PO Box 45330, Olympia WA 98504;
  • Faxing a copy to 360-725-2280; OR
  • Emailing it to

We appreciate your questions and comments about your experience with the course. If you have questions about course content please contact Jennifer McDonald at 360-725-1718.   

Peer Counselor Training Application

After completing this application, send it to the address, email or fax listed on the form.  If you are emailing the form, you may "sign" by typing your name on the signature line. 


Certified Peer Counselor Training Application


Peer Counselor Tests


  • Space is limited for each exam. Priority is given to participants in that weeks traning. 
  • Registration is accepted on a first-come basis.  
  • For information and to register for all tests, please contact Amelia Chirhart at or (360) 350-0893. 
  • Let Amelia know if you need a reasonable accommodation to take the exam. You may be asked to provide written support for your request.

2017 Test Dates


10 Tacoma CVAB
10 Mt. Vernon Youth and Family


10 Yakima CVAB
17 Richland Youth & Family


14   Great Rivers BHO


12 North Seattle CVAB


9 Vancouver CVAB
30 Burien King County BHO


26 Optum Pierce County BHO


18 Tumwater CVAB


20 Optum Pierce County BHO
Continuing Education for Peer Counselors

WRAP Training

Two-day Introduction to Wellness Recovery Action Plan - WRAP classes are offered in various areas of the state, sponsored by Behavioral Health Organizations.  Please check with your BHO about training opportunities.

2017 Schedule:  The remaining classes will be announced soon.

Five-day Level 2 Wellness Recovery Action Plan - WRAP Facilitator training - Participants must have completed a Level 1 Introduction to WRAP and be using their own personal WRAP.

Other Trainings



Frequently Asked Questions About Certification