Addiction Counseling Professional Organizations

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You don’t have to be a professional — yet — to join a professional organization. You can become a member of an addiction counselor’s association as early as college. In addition to establishing your professional identity, you’ll be increasing your access to resources. Making that initial investment can mean professional publications delivered to your inbox. It can mean saving money on conferences, policy events, and (eventually) on continuing education. It can provide you with opportunities to get out there and network. If you are pursuing coursework online, conferences and other events are an opportunity to interact with your peers in the real world before you begin your practicum experience.

Just what does one do at a conference besides earn a few CEUs? Sometimes quite a lot! You may hear the perspectives of people who have waged personal battles with addiction as well as those who are fighting national battles. Among the keynote speakers booked for the 2014 Texas Addiction Professionals Association: an official from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and a former teen actress who made a few trip to rehab. The bonus attraction at this particular event was a health fair where addiction professionals got to learn about making referrals to ancillary services like yoga and alternative medicine– and also got to enjoy some food and music.

There are many addiction-related organizations; a more limited number would qualify as professional organizations. Some organizations, like the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, will provide you with a wealth of educational resources, but not a membership. The National Association of Addiction Treatment Professionals is a membership organization but is geared more toward meeting the needs of facilities than those of individual counselors. So what can you join?

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NAADAC Membership

The largest professional organization for addiction counselors is the Association for Addiction Professionals, or NAADAC. Students who are taking addiction coursework or completing internships are also welcome. As a student member, you pay less.

When you become a member, you also become a member of a state society. This means plenty of connections. You may attend state as well as national events. Your state affiliate may also send out a newsletter.

One very tangible thing you can get from membership: discounted rates on insurance.

NAADAC also offers nationally recognized certifications. Membership is not a prerequisite to certification, but if you are going that route, you’ll save money by being a member. NAADAC certifications have more value in some states than others.

If NAADAC sounds like an odd acronym for ‘Association for Addiction Professionals’, you’re right. You will sometimes still hear NAADAC referred to as the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors.

Membership Opportunities for Master’s or Doctoral Level Practitioners

The International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors is one of the 20 divisions of the American Counseling Association. It is designed for master’s level practitioners – and also for graduate students. As a member of the division, you will also be a member of the American Counseling Association, a very established organization that offers access to numerous professional resources and discounts on insurance and other services.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) is primarily for physicians, but allows associate members in other addiction-related fields provided that they are sponsored. Generally, qualifying professions are those at the master’s level.

The American Society of Addiction Psychology, Division 50 of the American Psychological Association, provides resources for psychologists and psychology students.

The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry is yet another organization designed for practitioners at the doctoral level.

Addiction-Related Organizations

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