RSS Institute


Certification for a Recovery Support Specialist



Over the course, you will gain knowledge that will support you in turning personal experiential knowledge from your own recovery journeys into skills, or experiential wisdom, to provide assistance to others in achieving their recovery goals.

~Covers the foundations of recovery as written by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Arizona Department of Health Services/Department of Behavioral Health Services (ADHS/DBHS).

~Covers multiple topics: peer support; role modeling; building relationships; communication skills; empathy and skills training; ethics and boundaries; SMART training; documentation; appeals and grievances; mandated reporting; advanced directives; cultural competency; co-occurring disorders (mental illness and substance use disorders); medication and side effects; motivational interviewing; spirituality; crisis/suicide/trauma; tools for entering the workforce; group facilitation; supervision; HIPAA and disclosure.

~(IHI) Students will gain understanding of: how a person’s mental health and physical health contribute to make up a person’s whole health; SAMHSA’s Whole Health Action Management (WHAM); Morbidity and Mortality in People with serious mental illness, October 2006 report; Self Screening Tool (assessment); Skills Training Laboratory (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.); human body systems; virtual clinic tour; concepts of Functional Medicine; different common disease processes; universal precautions; how to find additional information needed to help a person navigate the healthcare system.

Certification will be awarded upon completion of the Institute and passage of a final exam.

Admission Criteria:

Individuals must be receiving services from an Arizona State health home or agency, and be enrolled in AHCCCS. Current Accepted Provider is Banner. If you are enrolled with United Healthcare, you may be eligible to attend through the Arizona Job Connection. Are you a member of Arizona Complete Health? Please call 520-621-7473 to discuss!

Application Process:
  • Pass the mandatory AHCCCS Pre-Screening
  • Complete our application
  • Write a brief essay of "Why I want to become an RSS"
  • Obtain two letters of recommendation
  • Complete the required referral documents found on the second page of the application with your recovery coach (unless you are enrolling through Pima County One Stop or self-pay)
  • Submit all paperwork before the deadline

If you have already completed Peer Support Specialist training with another provider and received certification through them, you are not eligible to duplicate the certification through the RSS Institute.

Submit to:
Workforce Development Program
Phone: (520) 621-1642

Fax: 520-626-7833