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Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor Requirements in Illinois

Illinois substance abuse counselors can seek certification through the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association. The Illinois Certification Board is a state member of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

The certification board offers the following standard addiction credentials: Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC), Certified Reciprocal Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CRADC), Certified Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CAADC), and Certified Supervisor Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CSADC).

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Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) Requirements

The CADC is a nonrecripocal credential for substance abuse professionals who are at the early stages of their careers. Candidates must have education at the high school (or GED) level. They must pursue 225 hours of relevant education, at least 100 of them ‘AODA-specific’ – concerned with alcohol and other drugs. The certification board requires 15 hours each in addiction services for women and families and addiction services for adolescents and families. Also required is six hours of coursework in professional responsibilities and ethics.

A prospective CADC must have 150 hours of supervised practical training. A nondegreed candidate will need two years (4,000 hours) of paid work experience. 1,000 hours of experience can be waived on the basis of a qualifying associate's degree. 2,000 hours can be waived on the basis of a degree at the bachelor's level of higher. (The certification board notes that a person can only credit one degree.) To be credited, the degree must be in the behavioral sciences and must include a clinical focus. Examples include community counseling, criminal justice, rehabilitation counseling, psychology, social work, and sociology.

A CADC candidate takes the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Examination, a state-specific test. Candidates may order study guides for $65. An order form is available in the forms section.

Requirements for the CADC and other counseling certifications are described in the "AODA Counseling Model" document, which can be downloaded from the credentialing section of the board website; a candidate should select "credentialing forms" and then "counselor".

Certified Reciprocal Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CRADC) Requirements

The CRADC credential is reciprocal with participating IC&RC boards. It does not require a college degree. It is dependent on completing 300 hours (or 20 semester hours) of relevant education, at least 160 of them AODA-specific. There must be 30 hours of education addressing treatment of women and their families and another 30 addressing treatment of adolescents and their families. The professional responsibility and ethics requirement is the same as it is at the CADC level: six hours.

The work experience requirement is increased: three years (6,000 hours). However, candidates with degrees can waive a portion of the experience requirement; degree equivalencies are the same as they are at the CADC level. The candidate will need 300 hours of supervised practical training.

To be certified at this level in Illinois, one needs to pass both the state-specific examination and the IC&RC ADC Examination.

Certified Supervisor Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CSADC) Requirements

An addiction counselor can be certified as a supervisor without a college degree, but must first hold the CRADC credential. The counselor will need 350 hours of qualifying education. The certification board requires five years of recent experience, at least two spent performing supervisory duties. A candidate will need to pass three examinations before earning this credential: the state-specific examination, the IC&RC ADC Examination, and the IC&RC Supervisor (CS) Examination.

Certified Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CAADC) Requirements

To qualify for the CAADC certification, one must have a graduate degree in human behavioral sciences; the program must include a clinical component. The candidate must demonstrate 180 hours of AODA-specific education, including 45 hours each in services for women and families and services for adolescents and families.

One year (2,000 hours) of experience is required. The candidate must pass the IC&RC Advanced AADC Examination.

The Application Process

Candidates apply when they have met all requirements with the exception of examination. Application materials are found in the certification section of the board website ( Candidates must sign a code of ethics and authorize release of information from third parties. The application includes a statement that requires notarization. Degrees must be documented through official transcripts. Training may be documented through certificates or letters of attendance. The certification board will require a current job description.

Candidates for CADC, CRADC, and CAADC pay a $75 application fee. A certified candidate wishing to upgrade to a higher level pays $30. The CADC examination is currently $125. Higher level examinations are $155.

Certified Associate Addiction Counselor Requirements

An entry-level professional can apply for the Certified Associate Addictions Professional (CAAP); the individual must pass an examination. There is no experience requirement, but ongoing supervision is required. At this level, a candidate can take the examination without first submitting an application.

Adolescent Treatment Endorsement (ATE) Requirements

Illinois offers an endorsement for treating adolescents. To qualify, one must be certified as an alcohol and drug counselor or hold a license in the healing arts. The certification board requires evidence of 45 hours of education in adolescent-specific domains. The counselor will need 2,000 hours of qualifying work experience with 25 hours of supervision provided by a knowledgeable professional.

Other Related Certifications

The Illinois Certification Board also offers a number of specialty credentials, including Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) and Mental Illness/Substance Abuse I or II (MISA I or II).

Out-of-State Addiction Counselors

The Illinois Certification Board will issue equivalent credentials to addiction professionals who are certified by other IC&RC member boards ( Certificate holders will need to request reciprocity applications from their current board. There is a $100 fee for transferring a credential. The new credential will have the same expiration date as the old one. The substance abuse professional will follow Illinois renewal procedures.

Credentials go by different names in different jurisdictions. The Illinois Certified Reciprocal Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor is equivalent to the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC). The Certified Supervisor Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor is equivalent to the IC&RC Clinical Supervisor (ICCS).

A nonresident is allowed to seek reciprocal-level certification in Illinois if 51% or more of recent work experience has been in an Illinois facility.

Additional Information

The Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association can be reached by telephone at 217-698-8110. Additional contact information is available on the website (