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. 



The Hinda Institute Reentry Peer Support Program is a year-long series of training courses, reflection sessions, and peer support practicum designed to support individuals with lived experience to provide peer support to support individuals in reentry after incarceration.

Courses paid particular attention to trauma-informed care, reentry issues, wellness, secondary trauma, mental health, and substance use disorders. Each course reinforced the ethical principles of peer support, the core competencies and guiding values of the peer support model, and the distinct differences between peer support and clinical care.

Individuals developed skills in individual peer counseling, support group facilitation, wellness and recovery planning, SMART goals, crisis intervention, resolution of ethical dilemmas, advocacy, and trauma-informed peer support. Individuals completed a peer support practicum that began in the first course and were supervised by facilitators for weekly sessions during Peer Counseling Fundamentals.

Courses were facilitated by professionals in the peer support and clinical field and supported by individuals with lived experience.


Total Training Hours: 60 Hours

Syllabi and attendance verification available upon request.
Total Practicum Hours: Varied.
Verification of hours available upon request.


Training Hours by IC & RC Peer Recovery Domain:

  • Domain 1: Advocacy - 8 hours
  • Domain 2: Ethical Responsibility - 12 hours
  • Domain 3: Mentoring and Education - 18 hours
  • Domain 4: Recovery and Wellness Support - 22 hours


Courses and Requirements 

Please find a list of courses and requirements for completion below.
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 Prerequisite Courses

  • External courses 
  • Can be done online 
  • No cost
Suicide Prevention  1 Hour Mandatory, online 
(Options: Suicide Awareness, AFSP, or equivalent)
IC & RC Peer Recovery Domains and Tasks:
II1, II2, II3, II6, II9, II13, II14, III14, IV8
Child Protection & Mandated Reporting
1 Hour Mandatory, online 
(Options: IL Child Protection or equivalent)
IC & RC Peer Recovery Domains and Tasks:
II1, II2, II4, II6, II9, II13, II14

2. Prerequisite Peer Support Courses:

  • 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
Peer Counseling Fundamentals 28 Hours   via Zoom Tuesdays

(16 hours of classroom instruction and 12 hours of peer counseling supervised practicum)
IC & RC Peer Recovery Domains and Tasks:
I1, I2, I3, I4, I5, I6, I7, I9, I10, I11, II1, II2, II3, II5, II6, II7, II9, II10, II11, II12, II13, II14, II15, III1, III2, III3, III4, III5, III7, III8, III9, III10, III12, III13, III14, IV1, IV2, IV3, IV4, IV5, IV6, IV7, IV8, IV9, IV10, IV11, IV12
What Happened to Me? PICS and PTSD 7 Hours via Zoom
IC & RC Peer Recovery Domains and Tasks:
I6, I7, I9, I11, II1, II2, II8, II9, II10, II11, II12, II13, II15, III1, III2, III3, III4, III8, III9, III10, III12, III13, III14, IV1, IV2, IV4, IV5, IV7, IV8, IV9, IV10, IV11, IV14
Conflict Mediation in Family - Post Incarceration  5 Hours  via Zoom
IC & RC Peer Recovery Domains and Tasks:
I2, I5, I6, I7, I9, I11, II1, II2, II8, II10, II11, II12, II15, III1, III4, III5, III6, III7, III8, III10, III11, III12, III13, IV1, IV4, IV5, IV8, IV9, IV10, IV14
Mental Health First Aid  5-8 Hours Optional 
From Victim to Survivor to Offender  6 Hours Optional
via Zoom Wednesdays
Peer Support Reflection & Skill-Building Sessions 6 Hours via Zoom Thursdays
IC & RC Peer Recovery Domains and Tasks:
I1, I2, I3, I4, I5, I6, I7, I9, I10, I11, II1, II2, II3, II6, II7, II8, II10, II11, II12, II15, III1, III2, III3, III4, III6, III8, III10, III11, III12, III13, III14, IV1, IV2, IV4, IV5, IV9, IV11, IV14

3. Final Program Course for Reentry Peer Support Specialists: 

Cost - $400

  • Open to those in the "Reentry 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
  • Course registration will open approximately one month prior to start date
Advanced Peer Support 12 Hours via Zoom Thursdays
IC & RC Peer Recovery Domains and Tasks:
I1, I2, I3, I4, I5, I6, I7, I8, I9, I10, I11, II1, II2, II5, II6, II7, II8, II9, II10, II11, II12, II13, II15, III1, III2, III3, III4, III5, III6, III7, III8, III9, III10, III11, III12, III13, III14, IV1, IV2, IV3, IV4, IV5, IV9, IV10, IV11, IV12, IV13, IV14
4. 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 
  • 10 hours in Spring 
  • 35 hours in Summer  
*Additional hours are required for national certification. 
*Maintain a log of all completed hours. 
For more information:
Abigail - [email protected] 

Lauren - [email protected] 

To learn more about state-by-state requirements for peer support certification, please visit your local certification board’s website or the Copeland Center’s resource page.


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, one-on-one mentoring, or practicum opportunities.

However, the final course for completion of the program, Advanced Peer Support, will have a fee of $400.


Click here for a detailed list of competencies