The Canadian Peer Support Association has released its latest peer support rankings, and it says the profession is growing.
The new survey, conducted by the Association’s International Network of Peer Support Specialist (INPS) was conducted by BMO Harris Interactive between July 23 and 28.
In this year’s ranking, the number of peer support specialists dropped by more than 10 per cent from 2014.
The number of specialists dropped from a peak of 12,000 in 2009 to 5,000 today.
In a news release, the association said this could be attributed to a growing number of professionals retiring.
“We expect that our number of specialist peer support professionals will grow from about 3,000 to about 5,500 in the coming years,” said CEO and CEO of the INPS, Bruce Walford.
“Our growth in our profession and our ability to meet the increasing needs of our community and individuals, will allow us to continue to serve our communities with a greater level of service.”
According to the survey, the median age of a peer support specialist is 36, and the median income is $60,000.
The median household income in 2017 was $71,600.
According to BMO, the peer support community is a relatively small one with more than 13,000 individuals and more than 3,500 professionals in their network.
“Peer support is an important aspect of our professional practice and is critical to many of our members’ jobs, as well as our families, friends, and co-workers,” said Walfson.
“With this growth in the industry, our goal is to remain focused on making sure that our members and their families can continue to be supported in their professional endeavours.”
In addition to the increase in the number and diversity of peer help, the Association said it expects to see a greater number of professional growth in other areas as well.
For example, the study found that peer support in nursing has risen dramatically in the last decade.
According a survey conducted by Health Canada, nursing is a top priority of peer care.
In the past 10 years, nursing has seen a 40 per cent increase in peer support positions, while nursing students have grown from 12,500 to 20,000 since 2009.
Walf, said peer support is becoming a more important part of professional development.
“The peer support profession is being recognized as a valuable profession and we want to continue that with our continuing efforts to develop a network of peers and connect with the professional development professionals who are already serving our communities,” said John Walfords, CEO and president of the Canadian Peer Care Association.