Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements in Hawaii

Hawaii substance abuse counselors are certified by the Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD). The agency is a member of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse. As such, it has reciprocity with boards in a majority of U.S. states as well as some foreign nations; other U.S. entities like the military also have IC & RC boards. In order to be certified by Hawaii ADAD, a professional must either live or work in Hawaii at least 51% of the time or be stationed in Hawaii/ the Pacific region.

Hawaii recognizes multiple categories of drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services. The basic credential does not require a college degree, but can be earned more quickly by an individual who does possess a degree in a recognized field. The ‘Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional-Diplomate’ designation requires a graduate degree.

The following is a look at Hawaii alcohol and drug certifications and what they entail.

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Certified Substance Abuse Counselor

The basic credential is Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, or CSAC (

The foundation for practice as a CSAC is a high school diploma or equivalency. The individual will also need 270 hours of education relevant to alcohol and drug counseling. This must include at least six hours each in confidentiality, professional ethics and issues, and sexually transmitted diseases; confidentiality coursework is to cover 42CFR, Part 2.

The applicant may credit no more than 45 hours in any one of the following: multicultural competency, counseling theories and techniques, group counseling, and family counseling. There is no limit on courses that have a specific focus on substance abuse. However, no more than half the required courses can be earned through distance education.

Fully 6,000 hours of experience is required of an individual who does not have a qualifying college degree or certificate. A drug/alcohol certificate program may be credited as 2,000 hours, a bachelor’s degree in human services as 2,00 hours, and a graduate degree in human services as 2,000 hours — except that a minimum of 2,000 hours (one year) will be required no matter how many degrees the counselor has earned.

The trainee must have practical training that includes at least 400 total hours of supervision and at least 20 hours in each core competency:

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

The candidate must also take the IC&RC/AODA Certification Examination for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors.

Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional-Diplomate (CCDP-D)

The CCPD-D credential requires a master’s degree. The degree may be earned in co-occurring disorders or in another behavioral health discipline that includes a clinical focus. The candidate must have140 hours of education that focuses specifically on the relationship between mental disorders and drug/ alcohol usage; six hours must be in ethics for counselors.

The counselor will need 2,000 hours of work experience in co-occurring disorders. This must be earned in the ten years prior to application.

The counselor will also need 100 face-to-face supervision hours; there must be ten hours in each of ten identified domains.

Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)

Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional training must address the following competences:

  • Criminal behavior/ addiction dynamics
  • Criminal justice system
  • Screening, evaluation, and assessment
  • Counseling
  • Documentation
  • Treatment planning
  • Case management, participant supervision and monitoring
  • Legal, professional, and ethical responsibility

An individual with a high school education will need 270 hours of education addressing the required competencies. An individual with a qualifying associate’s degree will need 200. An individual with a CSAS or qualifying bachelor’s degree will need 150. With a CCS or qualifying master’s, the requirement is reduced to 100 hours.

The experience requirement is 6,000 hours unless reduced by behavioral science education or prior certification. An associate’s degree can substitute for 1,000. 2,000 can be credited for either a CSAC credential or a bachelor’s degree; 4,000 can be credited for a CSS or master’s degree.

The 200 hours of supervision may also be reduced by education or certification.

All candidates, regardless of prior education or certification, are required to take the IC&RC Criminal Justice Addictions Professional Examination.

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Certified Prevention Specialist

A prevention specialist must have 120 hours of prevention education. At least 60 must be specific to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

2,000 hours of preceptor-supervised training are required. The training must include 120 hours of supervision in the prevention domains identified by IC&RC.

The candidate will take the IC & RC Prevention Specialist Examination.

Certified Clinical Supervisor

To be certified as a clinical supervisor, a candidate must hold a qualifying certification (CSAC, CCDP-D, or CCJP) or a graduate degree in another professional human services discipline. The professional will need 30 hours of education that addresses the first six clinical supervision domains identified by IC&RC.

The counseling experience requirement is 6, 000 hours, but may be reduced by qualifying certifications or education. A qualifying certification is worth 6,000 hours. A degree is worth 1,000 to 4,000 hours, depending on level.

The counselor will still need 4,000 hours of supervision experience; this must include 200 hours of clinical supervision.

The professional will take the Clinical Supervisor Examination.

The Application Process

Application materials are available on the Department of Health website ( The Board notes that a candidate can submit the general application before all requirements have been met; a file will be opened at this time. A candidate must sign a code of ethics. Education is to be documented with official transcripts and/ or certificates of completion. The supervisor will document experience and send the required paperwork directly to the certification office.

The examination represents the last stage of the process. An applicant who has met all requirements will be sent examination materials. At this time, he or she will submit an exam application.

The fee for the general application is $25. In most instances, the examination fee is $100.

The Board stresses that applicants should call the Certification Office at 808-692-7518 if they are in doubt about the application process.

Adjunctive Certification for Licensed Health Professionals

The Department of Health also has a certification process for professionals who hold primary licensing in other health disciplines. Certification is granted to those who have completed six months of relevant supervised experience, met a clock hour requirement, and passed the examination. Psychologists and doctors need 50 clock hours of education while marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, and advanced practice nurses need 180.

Additional Information

The Hawaii Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division is the source for current information ( The Drug Abuse Division can be contacted at 808-692-7506.

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