Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Training

The comprehensive 80-hour Peer Support Specialist Training offered by LMU Extension combines the University’s strong academic reputation and its extensive experience providing professional instruction in the areas of mental and behavioral health to those with lived experience. The Peer Support course is designed to provide applied knowledge.

This course covers a variety of relevant topics utilizing various teaching and instructional modalities presented in lecture form accompanied by various handouts, recommended books/readings for review, problem-solving activities, skill exercises, small group exercises, and open-guided discussion. 

The training course meets the educational requirements necessary for applicants seeking to take the state certification exam to become a California Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist.

  • Training Schedule:  


    Online using Zoom web conferencing

    Saturdays from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

    February 4 - June 3, 2023




  • The 80-hour Peer support Specialist training covers the following:

    • Introduction to Peer Support Specialist Training
    • Cultural Competence in Peer Recovery
    • Professional Boundaries and Ethics
    • Wellness Planning
    • Recovery
    • Motivational Interviewing and Stages of Change
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Crisis Intervention and Suicidality
    • Trauma Informed Care and Triage
    • Administrative Duties, Case Management and Record Keeping
    • Career Development

    By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

    1. Understand the Role of a Peer Support Specialist.
    2. Apply counseling requirements in the area of confidentiality and informed consent.
    3. Demonstrate the awareness of legal and ethical principles in the field of Peer support.
    4. Apply the Trauma-Informed Care perspective.
    5. Summarize how to identify factors/measures of the lethality of suicide assessment.
    6. Explain awareness of client grief/loss and relapse prevention.
    7. Familiarity with the transition between Civilian life and Military.
    8. Awareness of Wellness and Recovery Models
    9. Readiness to support the recovery of others through lived perspective and successful transition to the community.
    10. Ability to use Motivational Interviewing to communicate effectively with clients and understand their needs and concerns.
    11. Familiarity with resources for effective case management.
  • Kevin Benitez, MSW, CPSS

    Kevin has over 18 years of experience working with Veterans in a variety of capacities. After graduating with his Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Specialization in Military Veterans and Families, Kevin began his career as the Program Manager for the Battle Buddy Bridge Program at Volunteers of America Los Angeles, which was a veteran peer to peer program in Orange County. Kevin provided oversight for the daily operation of the program as well as clinical supervision for all of the Peer Support Specialists and MSW interns. Kevin always had an affinity for student veterans and decided to move on to a position as a Care Coordinator at the University of Southern California where he provided case management for veterans and their families. After his time at USC Kevin decided to pursue a career in education where he became Adjunct Faculty at Long Beach City College where he worked as a Veterans Counselor for the Veterans Resource Center. During his time at Long Beach City College, Kevin taught classes in Career Exploration, and Orientation to College Success as well as providing academic counseling for student veterans and their families. Kevin also provided resource navigation where he guided student veterans and their families through the resource “maze” in Los Angeles and Orange County. Currently, Kevin is Full Time Tenure Track Faculty at Santa Monica College where he is the Program Leader for the Veterans Resource Center. Kevin provides oversight to the program as well as managing grants, coordinating services, providing military culture training for faculty and staff, managing daily operations, providing clinical supervision to Social Work interns, and provides Counseling for student veterans and their families. His skills include strategic planning, navigating the resource “maze”, training, and providing peer support to his sisters and brothers in arms. Kevin is a Combat Veteran who served in the United States Army from 2000 – 2005. He was deployed to the Pentagon, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kuwait, and Iraq and truly understands the difficulties faced by veterans first hand. Kevin is passionate about helping veterans and is excited at the opportunity to continue serving Veterans at Loyola Marymount University. Kevin spends his free time playing Soccer, Fantasy Football, and hanging out with his wife Elizabeth and his Service Dog Smoky.

    Alex Ortega

    Alex Ortega, is a Bilingual (English/Spanish) Veteran and Peer Support Specialist Supervisor currently pursing Masters of Social Work degree. He has 7 years of Veteran Services experience as a Director of Community Outreach, USC MSW Peer Support Specialist, VA Community Outreach partner, CSUF School of Human Services Intern, VA Work Study, Mission Continues Fellow, and B3 Battle Buddy serving hundreds of veterans in Orange County and Los Angeles.  He holds a Bachelor Degree in Human Services.

  • Tuition

    The cost for the 80-hour training program is $1,600. California Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Scholarship vouchers are also accepted.

    If interested in joining the program, please register here.


    For more information contact:

    Elizabeth Tobias, Administrative Coordinator, LMU Extension 

    (310) 338-5813