Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements in Delaware

Delaware substance abuse counselors may be eligible for one or more credentials based on their educational level. They can be voluntarily certified by the Delaware Certification Board (DCB) with or without college degrees. However, the process is shorter for those who do hold degrees.

Substance abuse counselors with master’s degrees can be licensed as Chemical Dependency Professionals through the Division of Professional Regulation/ Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals; unlike DCB, this is a governmental agency. In order to be licensed, professionals must first hold third party credentials through DCB or other accepted agencies.

The license-qualifying DBC credential is Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC).

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Certification by the Delaware Certification Board

The Delaware Certification Board states that in order to be certified as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, an individual will need a bachelor’s degree (https://www.decertboard.org/certifications). Application instructions state that an associate’s degree in a pertinent field may be accepted if the individual has had a practicum and 18 credits of coursework that are specifically focused on substance abuse counseling.

The individual must have 300 hours of education.

Substance abuse education must be formal but can include in-service and workshops as well as traditional college credit. Three relevant college credits can be credited as 45 hours.

The CADC is dependent on 4,000 hours of supervised experience. Employment can be credited if it took place within the prior seven years.

The candidate must take the IC&RC Examination for Alcohol and Drug Counselors.

Delaware Certification Board Application Process

Application and instruction packets are available on the DCB site (https://www.decertboard.org/certifications). The Delaware Certification Board has an online license application system. Instructions and forms are available for download. The application package includes a verification form to be completed by the supervisor. The candidate should provide a current job description, co-signed by a supervisor. There is a $350 fee for certification. Prospective certificate holders can choose to have their education reviewed before application submission.

The candidate will submit the application before examination. An approved candidate will receive registration instructions by email. A candidate who fails an examination attempt will need to pay an additional $150 for re-examination.

Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals Licensing

There are two methods to demonstrate qualifications for licensure: certification and reciprocity (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/).

Candidates applying by certification must provide evidence of master’s degrees and 30 semester hours of study in counseling or closely related subjects. A candidate will need 3,200 hours of experience as a substance abuse counselor with at least 1,600 of the hours supervised by an approved clinical supervisor (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/chem_newlicense/). The supervisor may be licensed as a chemical dependency professional, psychologist, clinical social worker, or professional mental health counselor. Supervision by a physician who specializes in chemical dependency is also acceptable. The supervisee will need at least 100 hours of face-to-face meetings; up to 40 of the required supervision hours may take place in a small group setting.

The counselor will present certification by the Delaware Certification Board or another comparable agency. Delaware will accept certification as a National Certified Addictions Counselor (NCAC) or Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) granted by the Association for Addition Professionals (NAADAC). A substance abuse counselor who is certified by another agency may furnish documents that will allow the Board to determine equivalence/ suitability.

A substance abuse counselor who holds a current license in a U.S. jurisdiction and has held the license in good standing for at least five years is deemed to have adequate training and education. It is not necessary to provide evidence of having met training requirements at the level Delaware normally requires. The applicant will have a background check and submit general application materials listed as required of all applicants.

A substance abuse counselor who is currently licensed but has not held a license for five years in any current jurisdiction will need to provide copies of the statutes, rules, and regulations under which he or she was licensed. If Delaware determines licensing standards were not comparable, the candidate will have the option of furnishing additional documentation and applying by certification.

Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals Application Process

The Delaware Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals has an online license application process. Supplemental forms are available on the Board website (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/forms/). Included are both an experience verification form and a supervisor reference form. One will also find verification forms that can be sent to the Delaware Certification Board and NAADAC; there is a separate form for each. A substance abuse counselor who holds both DCB and NAADAC certification will need verification of both. The licensing agency will require official verification of other licenses.

The Board requires fingerprint-based criminal background checks. An applicant who is residing in Delaware should have the background check made at one of the three locations listed in the application materials. The Kent County location accepts walk-ins; appointments are required at Sussex County or New Castle County. Both the authorization form and the fee are to be brought to the fingerprinting location. The fee is currently listed as $65.

The application fee is $252; it is to be remitted online. Official graduate transcripts should be sent straight to the Board from the issuing institution (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/fees/).

Out-of-state candidates may have the fingerprints made at a local police agency. The agency may provide a fingerprint card. Otherwise, the applicant may print one from the FBI website (https://www.fbi.gov/).The out-of-state applicant will mail the completed fingerprint card, authorization, and fee to the Delaware State Police.

Additional Information

Certification and testing information is found on the Delaware Certification Board site (www.decertboard.org/). DCB can be reached by telephone at (717) 540‐4456.

Licensure information is available on the site of the Board of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals (https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/profcounselors/).