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. There is no waiting list that carries over from one class to the next. Applicants not accepted into a prior course can re-apply for any scheduled upcoming course.
  2. The course is 80 hours, and includes between computer based and between class assignments.
  3. The course is typically two times per week, and 6 hours each day. Lunch is not included; however, time is made available for periodic breaks and an extended lunch time.
  4. The enrollment period will begin prior to the start date of each course, with a specified closing deadline.
  5. Applications can be emailed, faxed, in person, and through postal mail.
  6. Applications must be fully complete, with all eligibility criteria and required documentation submitted on time.
  7. 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;

Curriculum Outline

  • Module 1: Foundations for RSS
    • Part A: State of Affairs
    • Part B: Recovery Movement History
  • Module 2: The RSS Role
    • Part A: Honoring RSS Core Values
    • Part B: Sharing Your Recovery History
  • Module 3: Effective & Empathic Communication
    • Part A: Empathy and Hope
    • Part B: Active Listening
  • Module 4: Partnering and Mutuality
    • Part A: Personal Agency, Mutuality & Working with Others
    • Part B: Partnering, Boundaries, & Ethical Considerations
  • Module 5: Day to Day
    • Part A: Intentional Peer Support
    • Part B: Wellness Recovery Action Planning
  • Module 6: Advocacy
    • Part A: Advocacy
    • Part B: Working with Families & Groups
  • Module 7: Community & Natural Resources
    • Part A: Community Resources Day
    • Part B: Legislation & Legal Issues
  • Module 8: Comprehension
    • Part A: Peer Modalities, Group Facilitation Practice
    • Part B: Taking care of yourself, Group Facilitation Practice
  • Module 8: Final Review & Course Evaluation
    • Final Review
    • Training Evaluation
  • Examination
  • Graduation

Course Fees

All fees are non-refundable unless otherwise stated here.

Application Processing Fee (due upon acceptance):$25.00
RSS Training Course Fee (due by the first day):$100.00
Certification Exam Fee (due 30 days before the Exam):$75.00
Total:$200.00

Checks or Money Orders can be made out to Advocacy Unlimited. Please call for information to process credit card payment

Application Checklist & Instructions

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.
  • Legibility: AU will only accept applications that are typed, with an original signature in blue or black ink.

Download Application

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.

Download Continuing Education Form