Addiction Counselor Requirements in Georgia

Georgia does not license addiction counselors. However, it addresses qualifications in state code. Counselors demonstrate qualifications through third party certification.

There are two Georgia certifying agencies. The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Certification Board is affiliated with the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia is a member of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC).

Both organizations have provisions for reviewing and certifying addiction counselors who have been granted certification by other agencies.

Under state code, addiction counselors can be certified with education as low as high school diploma/GED but must have a minimum of 180 hours of training, 4,000 hours of experience, and 220 hours of supervision. They can work as trainees for up to three years.

Certifications are issued at multiple levels. Both Georgia certifying agencies now have an advanced credential for professionals with master’s degrees.

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Requirements: Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Certification

The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association offers three addiction counselor certifications: Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (CACI), Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (CACII), and Certified Master Addiction Counselor (CMAC).

CAC I: A high school diploma or GED is the foundation for a CAC I credential. The candidate must also have 180 hours of education in drug abuse, alcoholism, and counseling-related topics. Included in the requirement are 18 hours of cultural diversity, six hours of ethics, six hours of telecounseling, and three hours of HIV/ AIDS. At least 100 hours of education/ training must have been accrued in the prior five years. GACA will credit no more than 90 hours from a college transcript.

The credential requires 4,000 hours of supervised experience. Volunteer work may be credited toward the requirement if supervised by a GACA Certified Clinical Supervisor. A CAC I candidate will need a total of 96 hours of supervision. Work experience accrued more than five years in the past will not be credited. The CACI candidate will take the NCC AP examination.

CAC II: The CAC II must have a degree at the bachelor’s level (https://gaca.org/certification/certified-addiction-counselor-level-ii-cacii/). Additionally, the CAC II must have 270 hours of education relevant to the addiction counseling role; 27 must be in cultural diversity.

The credential can be achieved after 6,000 hours of practice. The candidate will need 144 hours of supervision. A CAC II candidate will take the national written certification exam at Level II.

CMAC: The CMAC is for professionals with graduate degrees.

A grandfathering period is in effect through July of 2022. During this time, master’s level counselors can be licensed without examination. The licensing agency will require 6,000 hours of experience as well as 500 hours of education in substance abuse/ addictions. The foundation is preparation in a counseling-related field (e.g. social work, marriage and family therapy).

Training Credential: GACA also offers a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) credential (http://gaca.org/certification/). A CIT receives supervision from a GACA Certified Clinical Supervisor.

Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Application Process

A candidate will apply for credentialing before examination. Applications may be downloaded from the site (https://gaca.org/); the candidate will click on the ‘download’ button of the ‘requirements’ page for the credential sought.

GACA will require CAC candidates to professional references and verifications of experience and readiness. Required education is to be documented through transcripts and certificates of completion.

Candidates should submit application materials by the posted deadline dates in order to be considered for the next monthly examination date (https://gaca.org/certification/2014-cac-certification-application-testing-deadlines/).

The certification application fee ranges from $150 to $300.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board Requirements

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia offers the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor I (CADC I), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADC II), and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credentials.

The CADC II is bachelor’s level. The CAADC requires a qualifying master’s.

CADC and CAADC candidates must have 300 hours of education specific to the addiction counselor’s role with no fewer than six each in professional ethics, e-counseling, HIV/AIDS, and trauma-informed care.

CADC candidates must have 300 hours of supervision; CADC II and CAADC candidates need 200.

There must be at least ten hours of practical training in each of 12 identified core functions. During the time that practical training is being completed, the trainee must have face-to-face supervision. The supervisor must have appropriate credentialing.

The CADC I requires 6,000 hours of supervised experience. The CADC II and CAADC credentials each require 4,000.

The certification board also offers a transitional credential for individuals in training to become alcohol and drug counselors. The credential is CADC Trainee.

Prevention professionals and individuals with specialized roles (for example, criminal justice professionals) may also pursue certification through the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board Application Process

A candidate will apply for CADC or CAADC after all requirements have been met but examination. The certification board has an online application process, Certemy. Individuals who plan to apply may email ‘info at adacbga.org’.

Certification Options for Experienced Addiction Counselors

The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association will consider reciprocity for addiction counselors who do not hold NAADAC-affiliated certification if standards were at the level required (https://gaca.org/certification/counselor-reciprocity). A candidate who did not pass an appropriate examination because he or she was grandfathered may be given the opportunity to test.

Additional Information

The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association may be contacted at (770) 434-1000 or via email contact form (https://gaca.org/contact-gaca/).

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board may be contacted at (770) 825-0481 or via email contact form (https://adacbga.org/contact-us/).