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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. The admissions process generally entails a class wait list and we often offer placement to students who were not offered a seat initially.  Accepted students may postpone class attendance for one cycle and after that time must submit a new application.  Any student who was not accepted into the class, or placed on the waitlist, must submit a new application each time he or she applies for RSS training.
  2. The course is 80 hours, and includes computer-based and between-class assignments.
  3. The RSS training class generally runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on class days, whether virtual or in-person.  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.
  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;
  • For information on cost and payment methods, see Course Fees below.

Our November-December class registration is now closed.

Upcoming classes will be held as follows:

Our FEBRUARY 2023 CLASS will be virtual (online).  Relevant dates are:
  • Applications due 12/23
  • Class days: 2/6, 2/8, 2/9, 2/13, 2/15, 2/16, 2/22, 2/23, 2/27, 3/1
  • Final exam: 3/6
  • Graduation: 3/10

Our APRIL 2023 CLASS will be held in New Haven (location TBD).  Relevant dates are:

  • Applications due 3/3
  • Class days: 4/3, 4/5, 4/6, 4/10, 4/12, 4/13, 4/17, 4/24, 4/26, 4/27
  • Final exam: 5/1
  • Graduation: 5/5

Our JUNE 2023 CLASS will be held in Torrington (location TBD).  Relevant dates are:

  • Applications due 4/28
  • Class days: 6/5, 6/7, 6/8, 6/12, 6/14, 6/15, 6/21, 6/22, 6/26, 6/28
  • Final exam: 7/3
  • Graduation: 7/7

All classes, whether in-person or online, will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a one-hour break for lunch.

Curriculum Outline

  • Module 1: Introduction of Key Concepts
  • Module 2: Wellness, Trauma, a Holistic Approach
  • Module 3: History
  • Module 4: Alternative Approaches to Clinical Orientation
  • Module 5: Cultural Humility
  • Module 6: Peer Support Part I
  • Module 7: Peer Support Part II
  • Module 8: Entitlements and Benefits, Patient Bill of Rights, Disability and Housing Laws, Criminal Justice
  • Module 9: Job Readiness, Community Integration and Resources
  • Module 10: Review and Final Exam

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): $175.00
Total: $200.00

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. 

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.


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.


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.