An alcohol and drug abuse counselor’s (ADC) career path is enhanced by certification. The International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) established standards for certification, which are primarily based on competency in counseling skills. Certification has levels: CADC, CADC I and CADC II. Certifications also have education components.
For a CADC, the required 315 hours of education and supervised practicum must include eight performance domains Clinical Evaluation, Performance, Treatment Planning, Referral, Service Coordination, Counseling, Client, Family and Community Education, Documentation, and Professional and Ethical Responsibilities. A 255-hour internship, under a qualified supervising-counselor must include the twelve core functions, specified by the IC&RC, which are (1) Screening, (2) Intake, (3) Orientation, (4) Assessment, (5) Treatment Planning, (6) Counseling (individual, group, and significant others), (7) Case Management, (8) Crisis Intervention, (9) Client Education, (10) Referral, (11) Reports and Recordkeeping, (12) Consultation (with other professionals in regard to client treatment and services).
Attaining the CADC-I level requires 4,000 hours, or the equivalent of two years full-time work, supervised by at least a CADC-II counselor. The CADC-II level requires 6,000 hours, three years, supervised counseling. An associate, baccalaureate or master’s degree may be substituted for 1,000, 2,000 and 4,000 hours, respectively, of supervised counseling experience.
Some of the courses students can expect to take as part of a certification program are:
Foundations of Chemical Dependency Treatment I and II
Ethical Issues in Dealing with Drugs and Alcohol
Psychology of Addictions
Biological System of Substance Abuse
Recovery and Relapse
Multicultural and Diversity Issues in Counseling
Students who are interested in completing a certification program now have colleges and universities offer a CADC certification program not only on-campus, but also offer it fully online. Students can complete their entire chemical dependency certification program online if a virtual format is most convenient for their schedule.
A required written international certification exam includes a case study.
Certification by reciprocity requires that the ADC must live or work in the new jurisdiction at least 51 percent of the time.
Once certified, an ADC must meet continuing education conditions for certification renewals. Renewals are every two years and must include sixty hours of continuing education, of which thirty hours of formal coursework in counseling skills and three hours of ethics must be supplied by approved providers.
Additional, specific, and more detailed information can be found by visiting the IC&RC or the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) website.