What Certifications Are Available for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling?

Proper certification as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor can help increase employment opportunities and may be required by some states for licensing. Keep reading to learn more about available certifications in this field. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Certifications for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselors

Also referred to as substance abuse counselors, drug and alcohol abuse counselors provide assessments and therapy to people who have addictions to alcohol and other types of drugs. Although certification requirements vary by state, some states require the national certification credentials granted by the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counseling's (NAADAC) Certification Commission. Several levels of certification are available, and each level includes a national exam covering topics that fall within the main areas of pharmacology and psychoactive substances, counseling practice, counseling theory and professional issues.

Important Facts About Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselors

Median Salary (2014) $39,270 (for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 22% growth
Required Education High school diploma, or equivalent
Key Skills Close listening, critical thinking, social awareness, decision making, clear judgment, reading comprehension, service minded
Similar Occupations Mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, school and career counselors, social workers, social and community service managers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I

This certification requires you to have a state license in substance abuse counseling and 270 contact hours of training in drug and alcohol abuse counseling. You must show proof that within the 270 hours of training, you have received six hours of training in HIV/AIDS and six hours of training in ethics. The HIV/AIDS and ethics training must have been within the five years prior to applying for the certification. This certification requires you to have three years, or 6,000 hours, of full-time experience working as a substance abuse counselor in a supervised setting.

National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II

As a candidate for Level II certification, you must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and 450 contact hours of education and training in substance abuse, including six hours of training in both HIV/AIDS and ethics. You are also required to have five years, or 10,000 hours, of full-time experience. In addition, you also must hold a current state certificate or license.

Master Addiction Counselor Certification

To become eligible for the Master Addiction Counselor credential, you must complete a master's-level degree in a human services field, such as counseling, psychology, family therapy or social work. Requirements include three years, or 6,000 hours, of drug and alcohol abuse counseling experience and 500 contact hours of training in areas relevant to substance abuse counseling. Two-thirds of your work experience needs to have been completed after graduating from an accredited master's degree program. The same HIV/AIDS and ethics training hours required for other levels of certification also pertain to this certification.

Additional Certification Options

The NAADAC Certification Commission also offers a certification for nicotine dependence specialists and several other professional credentials for substance abuse counselors, including the conflict resolution in recovery certificate and the spiritual care-giving to help addicted persons and families certificate. An adolescent specialist credential is also available.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Capella University

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  • Saint Leo University

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  • New England College

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