Syllabus - Reentry Peer Support Specialist Counseling Course

Download - Peer Support Checklist


For further information please contact Abigail or Lauren via email: [email protected][email protected], or at 708-990-7849


Reentry Peer Support Specialist


What is a Peer Support Specialist?

A Reentry Peer Support Specialist is a person with personal experience in overcoming the challenges of reentry such as employment which is often coupled with addiction, family alienation or mental health challenges, such as trauma and PTSD. They therefore understand on a personal level what the client is experiencing.


Counselors and other care providers with experience in this area may need to maintain professional distance and not discuss their past, but this limitation is not in place for peer support specialists.

A peer specialist in this context may have the same mental health conditions but has learned how to manage and control it through therapy, medications, and other means.


  1.  A peer specialist offers supportive peer counseling though sharing lived experiences and expertise to client throughout the reentry process. They provide mentoring and act as a participant in the patient's therapy along with other trained care providers.
    Clients can get help with the recommended steps and activities, as well as having a friendly ear available when they are struggling. Peer specialists can also offer advice to people looking for stronger relationships, setting life goals and developing basic social skills.
  2.  A peer support specialist is an expert on finding resources and working to find solutions and refer clients as part of a multidisciplinary team. 
    Clients can meet with the peer support specialist to talk about options and learn more about the choices that may be available to them (online or in person if available).

Please find a more detailed list of competencies and objectives below.




Job Description
A  Peer Support Reentry Support Specialist assesses the client’s personal, medical, emotional, social and environmental situation to plan for treatment course through home, community, and meetings (either in person or online). 

They motivate and support clients to assist them in their diverse challenges during reentry and co-occurring health issues. 

The Peer Support is an advocate for clients and links them to community services as needed.  

They will be trained in client-centered, strength-based, and trauma-informed care services customized to client’s needs. 

They will complete case management tasks with clients within a shared caseload.  

The Peer Support will be trained in crisis/on-call coverage as directed.




Advantages of Certification

There are many benefits of this certification for you. 

  • Certificates can assist with parole and probation requirements.
  • A Reentry Specialist Certification will help with finding employment in an area where you already have expertise and experience. This a new field and people are looking for employees. 
  • You will have an opportunity to validate and use your experiences to help others. This will allow you to give back to the community, build confidence and simultaneously gain self-awareness.

Most importantly, you will get a high level of training at a very low cost.

The training includes: 

  • An opportunity to practice counseling others. 
  • Personal counseling mentorship and support. 
  • Training by experts in the field. 
  • Opportunities to dialogue and learn from your peers. 



Program Requirements

To receive the certification:

  1. You must successfully pass 3 prerequisite courses and mandatory training. This means you must pass three tests and any required role plays. 

  2. As part of the program, you will also need to meet with a professional to deal with any latent trauma, biases and transference. You will also need a self-care plan. 

  3. You will need to complete the practicum requirements. 

  4. The final courses will teach you how to offer psychosocial support as a peer counselor. There is a fee associated with the last two courses. 



Courses and Requirements 

Please find below a list of courses and requirements.

All courses are offered by online instruction.


Curriculum Hours Details
Selection Process  1 hour  Post application you will be interviewed, as we have limited space.

1. Mandatory courses

  • External Courses 
  • Can be done online 
  • No cost

Suicide Prevention

(Options: Suicide Awareness , AFSP , or equivalent)  

2 Mandatory, online 

Child Protection 

(Options: IL Child Protection or equivalent

2 Mandatory, online 

2. Prerequisite Courses: Winter 2023

Choose 3 from Courses Below

  • Alternate courses on re-entry in social work, psychology, or sociology will be accepted
  • No Cost 
  • Course registration will open approximately one month prior to start date
What Happened to Me?
7 hours of sessions 

via ZOOM 

Peer Counseling Fundamentals

8 hours of sessions 

via ZOOM

with 5 hours of practicum

Conflict Mediation in Family - Post Incarceration  8 hours of sessions 

via ZOOM

Wednesdays May 10 to June 7 from 7-8 PM CST

Mental Health First Aid 

1 Day

(5-8 hours)

ZOOM outside agency 
From Victim to Survivor to Offender  8 hours of sessions  via ZOOM Wednesdays from July 12 to August 23
Peer Support Reflection & Skill-Building Sessions 3 hours

Thursdays February 16, March 16, and April 20 from 7-9 PM CST

3. Personal Counseling 24 hours To look at transference, countertransference, and bias 

4. Certification Courses for Reentry Peer Support Specialist: Summer 2023 

Cost per course - $250 

  • Open to those in the "Re-entry Peer Support Specialist Program" only
  • You will receive a certification of completion from the HINDA Institute 
  • Prerequisite course must be completed first
  • Practicum can be completed after the course; however you will not receive the certificate until practicum is completed.
  • Must past assessment post course
  • 3 sessions plus practicum hours
  • Course registration will open approximately one month prior to start date
Facilitating a Support Group as a Peer Support Specialist  Dates TBD (June/July 2023)
Counseling as a Peer Support Specialist  Dates TBD (June/July 2023)
5. Practicum  50 Hours *

Practicum hours are designed to be aligned with specific courses. HINDA will assist in finding practicum opportunities but ultimate responsibility for securing practicum and completing hours is on the student. 

Recommended timeline: 

  • 5 hours in Winter 2023 
  • 10 hours in Spring 2023 
  • 35 hours in Summer 2023 

*Additional hours are required for national certification. 

*Maintain a log of all completed hours. 


You need to complete 50 hours of doing peer support or leading support groups to pass the certification. You will need to complete a list of objectives which will need to be signed by your supervisor. 

The courses within the reentry program are facilitated by professors or experts in social work, sociology or psychology. The courses are developed by experts in instructional design and include measurable objectives, evaluations and structured interactive learning. 


For more info on our lead facilitator, Prof. Dr. Stephanie Kutzen.

There is no fee associated with any of the prerequisite courses, personal counseling, or practicum opportunities.

However, the two final certification courses (Facilitating a Support Group as a Peer Support Specialist, and Counseling as a Peer Support Specialist ), each have a fee of $250 per course.


Click here for a detailed list of competencies