Certified Peer Support Specialist

County of Orange
Full Time $51,500 - $68,785 Per year CA 405 W 5th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States



(Mental Health Worker III)

In addition to performance-based merit increases, this position is scheduled to receive salary range increases on the following dates: 

Effective June 28, 2024 – 4.25% increase

Effective June 27, 2025 – 4.00% increase


Salary may be negotiable within the range listed above, based on position requirements and successful candidate's qualifications, subject to appropriate authorization.

This recruitment is open to the public for a minimum of five (5) business days and will remain open on a continuous basis until 11:59 p.m. (PST) on the day the needs of the County are met. Applicants are encouraged to apply immediately. The first round of consideration is Wednesday, June 5, 2024
The openeligible list established by this recruitment will be used to fill current and future Certified Peer Support Specialist (Mental Health Worker III) positions. This recruitment may also be used to fill positions in similar and/or lower classifications throughout the County. 

The, is a dynamic organization dedicated to creating and supporting an environment that promotes the achievement of optimal individual, family and community health. Under the direction of the Agency Director, a new and dynamic executive team with an organizational structure comprised of five (5) service areas - Administrative Services, Behavioral Health Services, Correctional Health Services, Specialized Medical Services and Public Health Services - is committed to meeting the health needs of the diverse Orange County community.
The Division consists of the following service areas Adult and Older Adult Behavioral Health, Children and Youth Services, Quality Management Services, Mental Health Services Act Office, Data Analytics and Evaluation, Crisis and Acute Care Services, Substance Use Services, and Forensics and Justice Involved. These Service areas provide a culturally competent and client-centered system of behavioral health services for all eligible county residents in need of treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse and mental health care. 

provides responsive services to adults and youth in a behavioral health crisis. Services include mobile mental health-Crisis Assessment Team (CAT), Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), OC Links (24/7 Resources line), Crisis Stabilization Units (CSU), Crisis Residential Programs and In-home Crisis Stabilization services, as well as inpatient psychiatric hospital services and the coordination of 9-8-8.


The immediate vacancies are within the Crisis Assessment Team (CAT) program.

The Certified Peer Support Specialist (Mental Health Worker III) assigned to CAT will serve as a Client or Family Peer Support Specialist and will be responsible for providing peer support, crisis intervention and assistance to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

The Certified Peer Support Specialist will respond to all populations to include Children & Youth, and Adults & Older Adults. When responding to Children and Youth crisis calls the Certified Peer Support Specialist will serve as a Parent or Youth Partner. As a Parent Partner, they will work with youth and their families providing peer support services which may include helping the parent or guardian understand and navigate the crisis such as accessing mental health services and community resources. Referrals and linkages to resources, transportation support, and other related duties will also be provided during the crisis.

The Certified Peer Support Specialist collaborates with other providers of the mobile crisis response teams, including mental health specialists and behavioral health clinicians. They will play a critical role in supporting individuals experiencing behavioral health crisis by offering peer support, sharing lived experience and assisting in de-escalating crisis situations.

DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS & CORE COMPETENCIESThe ideal candidate must be a Certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist by California Mental Health Services Authority. Additionally, the ideal candidate must have lived experience with a mental health condition by at least one of the following options below and be willing to self-identify and share their experiences to assist clients and their family members with their recovery journey.
  • A past or current client of mental health services
  • As a parent/caregiver advocating on behalf of child/youth who is receiving or has received mental health services
  • Providing support to an adult family member in mental health recovery

Mental health recovery refers to recovery from conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, Serious Emotional Disturbance (for youth) and other such conditions. It does not include developmental disorders such as cognitive disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. For some Parent/Youth Partner positions, lived experience with the Juvenile Justice or Child Welfare System, either directly or as a parent/caregiver is highly desirable.
 Experience working with the target population (children/youth and their parents/caregivers, adults or older adults) is highly desirable. 
Bilingual skills in the following languages are also highly desirable: Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, and Farsi. The candidates selected for these positions must also possess a valid California driver’s license as they will need to drive to various sites in the community to provide services and attend appointments with clients.
In addition, the ideal candidate will possess extensive knowledge and/or experience in the following competencies:
 Professional and Technical Expertise 
  • Understanding of recovery and resilience and peer support practices within the behavioral health context
  • Providing client services in the field/community
  • Providing consistent and reinforcing support, guidance and concrete assistance to clients
  • Understanding and utilizing crisis protocols to help client manage acute episodes of behavioral, emotional, and psychological distress
  • Managing crises by de-escalating the crisis, conducting non-clinical assessment services and interventions, and providing advocacy and support
  • Assisting clients in developing and activating self-management plans, psychiatric advance directives, relapse prevention strategies, and crisis prevention strategies
  • Promoting knowledge of personal recovery and resilience when appropriate, to help educate clients, family members, parents/caregivers (Children & Youth) and team members in recovery principles, modeling and providing consultations
  • Meeting with clients, family members and parents/caregivers (Children & Youth) to assess needs and assist in the development and implementation of crisis safety plans.
  • Using a computer to complete program forms, prepare reports, log data, and track referrals and linkages
Building and Maintaining Relationships 
  • Establishing meaningful relationships with clients, family members and parents/caregivers, creating a safe and welcoming space
  • Maintaining frequent contact with clients to develop trust with the target population
  • Acting as a role model for clients, family members and parents/caregivers, and recognize the value of every individual's recovery experience
  • Providing assistance and guidance to clients, family members and parents/caregivers and help
Oral Communication | Listening
  • Communicating issues effectively while building relationships with participants, referral sources, and treatment team members
  • Using respectful, person-centered, recovery-oriented language in written and verbal interactions with clients, their family members, community members, and others
  • Presenting information clearly and concisely in person and/or in writing
  • Delivering the right amount of information in the time given and varying style and tone to fit the purpose and audience
  • Picking up on nuances in tone and meaning and attentive to non-verbal cues and body language
  • Maintaining confidentiality of clients, records, and information
Customer Focus | Teamwork
  • Providing personalized peer support
  • Attending collaborative meetings with other service providers, team members, and other peer support specialists to share information, discuss best practices, and case conference
  • Collaborating and coordinating with other providers, community organizations, family members and other natural supports to achieve shared goals
  • Developing and assessing recovery goals; help remove barriers to access
  • Providing reassurance to clients in distress or crises
Clickto learn more about minimum qualifications for Mental Health Worker III. NOTE: Foreign degrees require an evaluation of U.S. equivalency by an agency that is a member of the  

Physical Characteristics
Possess vision sufficient to read standard text and a computer monitor; speak and hear well enough to communicate clearly and understandably in person to individuals and groups and over the telephone; possess body mobility to stand, sit, walk, stoop and bend routinely to perform daily tasks and to access a standard office environment; possess manual dexterity sufficient to use hands, arms and shoulders repetitively to operate a keyboard, utilize office equipment and to write. Ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Mental Requirements
Possess the ability to independently reason logically to analyze data, reach conclusions and make recommendations; possess the ability to remain calm and appropriately focused in rapidly changing and difficult situations involving conflict, complex issues, controversy and diverse stakeholder groups and interests; possess the ability to deal calmly and effectively with emotional interactions.
Environmental Conditions
Will be required to interact with clients and their family members in the field experiencing elevated emotional states and experiencing behavioral health crisis. The position is primarily field based, responding to behavioral health crisis in various settings such as home, schools and the community. The position involves shift work, which could include weekends and evenings to ensure round the clock support for individuals in crisis.  RECRUITMENT PROCESS
Human Resource Services (HRS) will screen all application materials to identify qualified applicants. After screening, qualified applicants will be referred to the next step in the recruitment process. All applicants will be notified via e-mail of their status in the process.

Application Screening

Applications and supplemental responses will be screened for qualifications that are highly desirable and most needed to successfully perform the duties of this job. Only those applicants that meet the qualifications as listed in the job bulletin will be referred to the next step.

Structured Oral Interview | SOI (Weighted 100%)
Applicants will be interviewed and rated by a panel of job knowledge experts. Each applicant's rating will be based on responses to a series of structured questions designed to elicit the applicant's qualifications for the job.  The competencies being assessed are as follows:
  • Professional & Technical Expertise (17.71%)
  • Building & Maintaining Relationships (17.71%)
  • Oral Communication (17.71%)
  • Listening (17.25%)
  • Customer Focus (15.20%)
  • Teamwork (14.43%)
Based on the County's needs, the selection procedures above may be modified. Candidates will be notified of any changes in the selection procedures.

Eligible List

Once the assessment has been completed, HRS will establish an eligible list of candidates. Candidates placed on the eligible list may be referred to a selection interview to be considered for present and future vacancies.

Veterans Employment Preference Policy (VEPP)
The County is committed to providing a mechanism to give preferential consideration in the employment process to veterans and their eligible spouses and will provide eligible participants the opportunity to receive interviews in the selection process for employment and paid internship openings. Please click  to review the policy.