Click here for next course dates and application deadline

Advocacy Unlimited’s Recovery Support Specialist Training & Certification is an 80-hour advanced training and certification course for persons who experience mental health challenges. It is the only state authorized program to certify individuals as meeting the requirements for Certification as a Recovery Support Specialist. Upon successful completion of the course and the certification exam, graduates are state certified to offer Peer Delivered Services.

Many behavioral healthcare organizations and mental health agencies, including the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, offer positions for Recovery Support Specialists. The RSS certification is required for many of these positions, and preferred for all.

For Continuing Education see RSS CEU.
For the current Recovery Support Specialist job openings, see Job Opportunities.

Important Information about the RSS Training and Certification Program…

  1. Each RSS class has a specific application period during which you must submit your application. Applications do not carry over from one class to another.
  2. If you were accepted to a class but would like to defer your acceptance, you must re-submit an application during the next application period.
  3. If you are placed on a waitlist for an RSS class, that waitlist will only be for the specific class you applied to.
  4. If you are not granted admission, you may re-apply during the next application period.
  5. You can submit your applications in person, online, by emailing them to rssct@advocacyunlimited.org, by fax, or through the post. To be considered, you must meet all eligibility criteria, submit your applications on time, and complete them according to the checklist on the cover page.
  6. The course is 80 hours and includes computer-based and between-class assignments.
  7. The course generally runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on class days.  You can expect the class to meet approximately three times per week, with allowance for holidays.  The class schedule provides time for breaks and a one-hour lunch period.
  8. Continuing Education Credits must be completed and submitted for re-certification every 3 years. 60 Continuing Education Credits are required.

Application Process

The process for applying for each course will be as follows:

  • The application period will be announced prior to the start of each course;
  • Application forms can be downloaded here, or can be picked up at the AU Office;
  • For information on cost and payment methods, see Course Fees below.
  • We do not accept late applications.
  • Applications do not roll over between application periods.

Upcoming Classes:

Our JUNE 2024 CLASS will be for emerging adults 18-29 in ROCKY HILL, CT – the application deadline for this class Has Passed.

Course Dates: June 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 18, 20, 24, 26, 27

The exam will be held July 1 and graduation will be held July 8.

 

Our September 2024 CLASS will be in Willimantic, CT – the application deadline for this class is June 30, 2024. Only applications submitted by June 30, 2024 will be considered.

Course Dates: September 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 30

The exam will be held October 7 and graduation will be held October 11.

 

Our November 2024 CLASS will be in Rocky Hill, CT – the application period for this class opens July 1, 2024 and the deadline for applications is August 31, 2024. Only applications submitted between July 1, 2024 and August 31, 2024 will be considered.

Course Dates: November 4, 6, 7, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27

The exam will be held December 2 and graduation will be held December 6.

 

Application forms can be downloaded here and should be submitted to rssct@advocacyunlimited.org. For alternate ways of submitting an application, please view the “Checklist & Instructions” section below.

The total fee for RSS core training is $200.  The first payment of $125 is due by the second day of class and the second payment of $75 is due at the end of the third week of class.  Please contact us for information about available scholarships or to have an employer or third party pay on your behalf.  Lack of funds will not bar eligible students from applying or being accepted for the training.

All fees are non-refundable unless otherwise stated.

NOTE: Please only make a payment once you have submitted an application and have been accepted. 

Checks or Money Orders can be made out to Advocacy Unlimited.

To pay by credit card, click here.

If you pay by credit card, a receipt will be emailed to you. If you do not receive an emailed receipt, please check your junk/spam folder. 

Curriculum Outline

Day 1: Overview & Key Concepts

Day 2: Wellness, Trauma & Holistic Stress Management

Day 3: Cultural Humility

Day 4: History of Mental Health Treatment

Day 5: Peer Support Part I

Day 6: Alternatives

Day 7: Peer Support Part II

Day 8: Patient Rights & Grievances

Day 9: Job Readiness

Day 10: Community Integration & Resources

Day 11: Exam

Day 12: Graduation

Checklist & Instructions

Carefully read the instructions and checklist on the application. Please check off that you understand each item in the checklist. Only complete applications will be considered.

  • Application Form: Please complete the entire application prior to submitting it to Advocacy Unlimited.
  • Fees: AU is not accepting payment prior to acceptance in the class, please see payment schedule below.
  • Legal Requirements: AU will only accept applications that are (i) complete; (ii) use full names and not nicknames or initials; and (iii) are signed as required.
  • Letter of Recommendation: Please note that a letter of recommendation is required to be submitted with your application. It is your responsibility to make sure that we receive the letter of recommendation on time. If no letter is provided, then the application will be considered incomplete and will not be considered.
  • Submitting your application: you may download a paper copy of the application, complete it, and submit it by any of the following methods:
    • Mailing it through regular U.S. mail
    • Dropping off your application at our Rocky Hill office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays
    • Scanning and saving the application as a PDF file and emailing it to rssct@advocacyunlimited.org
    • Faxing it to us at 860-259-5731.
  • Other submission options: Alternatively, if you prefer, you may use our online application form below and submit via our website. Finally, we are happy to mail you a paper copy of our application on request if you are not able to access or print it.

When submitting your application please be mindful of the deadlines set forth under “Application Process” above.  We cannot consider applications received after the deadline date.

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION

Or use our new option:

ONLINE APPLICATION FORM

Continuing Education Credits

As with many professional certifications, the Recovery Support Specialist certification requires 60 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain certification.  Each hour equals one credit.  You should submit credit hours, along with any supporting documentation to the RSS Training Administrator.  Advocacy Unlimited offers quarterly Peer Forums and Advocacy Education; along with a variety of both in person and web-based trainings throughout the calendar to enhance the peer workforce.  There are no fees required to keep the certification active. In the event that documentation requirements are not met the certification will expire.  To regain certification the course and exam will need to be passed. To learn more about continuing education click here.

DOWNLOAD CONTINUING EDUCATION FORM

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where will the next course be held?

Please see the above schedule for the upcoming list of classes.  You may apply for RSS training regardless of where you reside; however, if you do not reside in or intend to use your RSS certification in the State of Connecticut, please check your state’s laws and regulations to determine whether your Connecticut certification will enable you to work as an RSS.  Not all state certifications are transferrable between states.

2. How do I keep updated on course open enrollment and locations?

The following ways to stay informed are the best:

  • Advocacy Unlimited’s facebook page: @AdvocacyUnlimitedCT
  • Open/Read our newsletter sent out monthly with updates on RSS-CT.
  • Sign up for our newsletter! Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this screen, and enter your email in the field next to our logo.