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Currently, a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) for peer support specialists does not exist. The lack of such a classification means that national information about peer support workers is not readily available.  

On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The following definition, which meets DOL criteria, has been drafted for your consideration.  The definition is primarily a title classification and is focused solely on unique work tasks performed in order to conform to the required format prescribed by DOL.  This definition is neither a job description nor does it reflect the full scope of a peer support specialist’s role or training experience.

The expected benefits of a DOL title classification for peer support workers include:

·      National data on the number of employed peer support workers and their compensation;

·      Increased professional identity and respect;

·      Differentiation of the scope of work performed by peer support workers from other human service roles such as community health worker, mental health counselor, etc.

We recognize that there are many job titles held by peer support workers. The proposed title, peer support specialist, does not prevent the use of other job titles such as Recovery Coach, Peer Navigator, Peer Bridger, etc.

Please review the proposed definition and then respond to the questions that follow.

Proposed Definition: Peer Support Specialist

1.     Provide non-clinical support services to individuals and/or groups that align with “SAMHSA’s 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery” and “SAMHSA's Core Competencies for Peer Workers.”

2.     Disclose personal experiences of overcoming challenges in ways that inspire hope, empowerment, and positive action.

3.     Engage individuals in personalized, peer-to-peer relationships that support development and use of skills to manage crises and achieve recovery, wellness, and life goals.

4.     Use personal knowledge to navigate systems and link individuals to resources and services including education, employment and social activities that can help them to achieve their goals.

5.     May educate individuals and/or groups, as well as their family members, about health, wellness, and recovery.

6.     May use lived experience to educate colleagues on using person-centered, recovery-oriented practices when interacting with individuals and/or groups to enhance the provision of services and supports.

7.     May engage in facilitating individual rights and systems advocacy.

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* 1. The above definition, proposed to the Department of Labor to develop a title classification for peer support, would benefit peer support workers.

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* 2. If you indicated that you disagree, please briefly state the specific reason(s) in the text box below:

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* 4. How do you best define your current role?

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* 5. My job title is

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