Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements in Connecticut

Connecticut’s alcohol and drug counselors (A&DCs) are credentialed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. They may be licensed or certified, depending on level of education; licensure is reserved for professionals who hold graduate degrees.

Regardless of educational level, the candidate will need to complete a specified number of education and training hours, fulfill an experience requirement, and pass an examination.

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Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Educational Requirements

An alcohol & drug counselor will need at least 360 hours of relevant education. 240 must be specifically related to drug and alcohol abuse. The remaining 120 may pertain to other areas of human behavior.

Drug and alcohol coursework must include the following:

  • Assessment and treatment planning: 30 hours
  • Special populations and ethnically diverse groups: 12 hours
  • Pharmacology: 18 hours
  • Ethics: 12 hours
  • HIV/ AIDS: 6 hours

The counselor must have at least 90 hours of counseling theory and techniques. The A&DC is expected to learn the core counseling functions.

No more than 40 hours of in-service may be credited toward meeting educational requirements.

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Educational Requirements

A Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor will need a degree at the master’s level or higher. The degree may be in counseling, psychology, marriage and family therapy, psychology or another related field. At least 18 semester hours must be in counseling and related subjects (–Investigations/Alcohol-Drug-Counselor/Alcohol-and-Drug-Counselor-Licensure-Requirements).

The candidate will also need to document 240 hours of education specifically related to drug and alcohol abuse. He or she will document a total of 360 hours of relevant education. (Some candidates will have fulfilled this requirement at the certification level).

Supervised Experience and Practical Training Requirements for Licensure or Certification

An alcohol and drug counselor must have three years (6,000 hours) of supervised work experience and/ or internship (–Investigations/Alcohol-Drug-Counselor/Alcohol-and-Drug-Counselor-Certification-Requirements). It must involve direct work with individuals with alcohol or drug dependency issues. At least 2,000 hours must be spent in core counseling functions. A master’s degree may substitute for one year of experience.

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A Connecticut alcohol and drug counselor may be licensed or certified as a supervisor by the Connecticut Certification Board. A substance abuse counselor outside Connecticut should have similar credentials. A professional in a related field (medicine, psychology, professional counseling, clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, registered nursing, advanced practice nursing) may be qualified to supervise. However, a supervisor who is not an alcohol and drug counselor must have completed specialized training in alcohol and drug counseling and have experience at the level specified in state regulations (–Investigations/Alcohol-Drug-Counselor/Alcohol-and-Drug-Counselor-Certification-Requirements).

300 hours of supervised practical training is required. This may be completed as part of the work experience or internship. On the supervised practical training form, the supervisor will verify ten hours in each of the following:

  • Screening
  • Intake
  • Orientation
  • Referral
  • Assessment
  • Treatment planning
  • Counseling
  • Report and record keeping
  • Case management
  • Client education
  • Crisis intervention
  • Consultation

Examination Requirement for Licensing or Certification

A candidate for credentialing at either level will need to take the International Certification Examination for Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Counselors (IC & RC exam). This is administered by the Connecticut Certification Board. The Department of Health will notify the Connecticut Certification Board that the candidate has been found eligible. The Department notes that the examination is administered four times annually.

Third Party Credentialing

Passing the examination for licensing or state certification purposes does not mean that the candidate qualifies as CCB-certified. Although many requirements are the same, CCB certification does entail additional steps. Counselors may opt to go through the process for various reasons; CCB has reciprocity with International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (IC & RC/AODA) member boards both in the United States and abroad. Certification information is available on the CCB website (

A candidate who is certified by a member board of the IC & RB/ AODA is considered to have met experience and education requirements in Connecticut.


A counselor who is credentialed by an agency that has similar or higher requirements may be credentialed without examination in Connecticut (–Investigations/PLIS/Applicants-Licensed-in-Another-US-State-for-at-Least-4-years).

The Application Process

Applications and supplemental forms may be downloaded from the ‘requirements’ pages for either licensing or certification (–Investigations/Alcohol-Drug-Counselor/Alcohol-and-Drug-Counselor-Licensure-and-Certification).

There is a $190 fee for certification or licensure. The application must be notarized. A recent photographed must be attached.

Supervisor verification forms are to be sent directly to the licensing agency by the person who completes them. (The candidate will fill out the top portion of the form before giving it to the person whose verification is needed.)

Application materials should be sent to the Department of Public Health in Hartford.

The licensing agency notes that it is not policy to send notification about incomplete applications unless a candidate queries. Candidates may inquire by email.

Exceptions to Licensure/ Certification Requirements

Whether a person needs to hold state licensing or certification depends on employment and supervision status and, in some cases, on the employing department.

Additional Information

The Department of Public Health is the source of information about current requirements (–Investigations/Alcohol-Drug-Counselor/Alcohol-and-Drug-Counselor-Licensure-and-Certification). Alcohol and Drug Counselor Licensure can be reached at (860) 509-7603 or [email protected].

The Connecticut Certification Board is the source for examination information (

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