Addiction Counselor Requirements in Louisiana

Louisiana addiction counselors are credentialed by the Addiction Disorder Regulatory Authority. There are three levels of credentialing: Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC), and Registered Addiction Counselor (RAC). Each of these credentials requires an examination and a period of supervised work experience; the work experience period is shorter for individuals who hold degrees. The credential granted is also based on academic level.

A trainee can begin providing counseling services with a Counselor in Training (CIT) credential. Substance abuse coursework will be required.

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Counselor in Training Requirements

CITs must be at least 18 years old and hold high school diplomas or GEDs. They must complete 180 hours of training that is specific to the treatment of substance abuse. They may not have had substance abuse or gambling problems during the prior two years.

A CIT works under a clinical supervisor. CIT status is renewed each year. A trainee can hold CIT status for a total of six years (

Registered Addiction Counselor: Pre-Examination Requirements

A Registered Addiction Counselor must be at least 21 years old and in possession of a high school diploma or GED ( The individual may not have had problems with substance abuse or compulsive gambling in the prior two years. In order to earn the credential, the individual must have 270 hours of ADRA-approved coursework. At least 180 hours must relate specifically to treatment of substance abuse issues. Six hours must be in ethics. The remaining hours may consist of other supportive coursework. One university credit hour is considered the equivalent of 15 clock hours. One continuing education unit may be counted as ten clock hours.

The trainee will need 6,000 hours of supervised experience (the equivalent of three full-time years). Included in the experience requirement is a 300 hour practicum. The practicum experience must address the 12 core addiction counseling functions; there must be at least 20 hours of practicum in each function. Functions include the following: screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, client education, case management, crisis intervention, referral, record keeping, and consultation with other credentialed professionals.

The supervisor may be a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) or other professional who has been granted a waiver.


Certified Addiction Counselor and Licensed Addiction Counselor: Pre-Examination Requirements

To be eligible for the CAC or LAC credential, an individual must have a degree in an approved human services or behavioral science field. The CAC requires a bachelor’s while the LAC requires a graduate degree. The following fields are recognized: addiction studies, behavioral science, counseling, criminal justice, educational psychology, health administration, psychology, public heath, public policy or administration, rehabilitation counseling, social work, and sociology ( Other comparable degrees will be considered. The licensing agency may sometimes grant a waiver to an individual who has a degree outside the human services arena; this is done only upon consultation with the IC & RC.

The minimum age is the same as it is for the RAC credential: 21 years. The graduate must meet most requirements for credentialing at the RAC level, including having completed 270 hours of qualifying coursework and 300 hours of practicum/ supervision. However, at the CAC level, only 4,000 hours of supervised practice are required. At the LAC level, only 2,000 hours are required; this obligation may be met through one year of full-time service. Direct supervision may include observations, treatment team meetings, private conversations and chart or medical record review.


The Examination Process

Candidates for credentialing at all levels will take an International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC) examination. They must submit an application to the regulatory authority to be granted authorization to test. A candidate handbook is available on the ADRA site. Additional information is available on the IC & RC site (

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The Application Process

Application forms are available on the ADRA website (

A candidate will typically apply first at the CIT level. CIT candidates will provide information about their clinical supervisors. They will note which credential they are working toward and will submit one-year supervision plans. Substance abuse-specific coursework must be listed on the worksheet found in the application packet; it can be verified through transcripts or certificates. References are required. A fee of $111 is due at this stage.

The candidate will also sign a release for a background investigation ( This is comprehensive and may include not only criminal history but other background information such as employment record, credit history, and driving record.

The application packet includes an affidavit that must be notarized. A photograph is to be attached.

A candidate at the RAC level or higher must submit three professional references along with a supervisor evaluation. These documents are to be included in the application packet in signed, sealed envelopes.

The candidate must also write a case summary of actual client treatment. An outline can be found in the application packet.

Copies of transcripts or qualifying certificates are to be attached to the educational history form. The ADRA will require official transcripts sent straight from issuing universities, but may begin the evaluation process before they arrive.

The cover letter includes a checklist of required materials; it, too, is to accompany the application. The application fee for RAC, CAC, or LAC is $186; included is a $36 background check fee. The fee for a credential upgrade is $136; there is a separate application for this purpose.

Application packages are to be mailed to ADRA – Certification in Baton Rouge.

Reciprocity Candidates

Addiction counselors who have passed qualifying examinations may submit requests for exemption from examination as part of the reciprocity application process (



Prevention Professional Requirements

A candidate for prevention professional at any level must demonstrate 100 clock hours of approved education ( Six must pertain to ethics. At least 50 must specifically address substance abuse. The ADRA requires 30 hours of National Prevention Training. The candidate must have a 120 hour practicum, with at least 20 hours each in five required domains.

In order to qualify for the Certified Prevention Professional credential, an individual must hold a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree is required for the Licensed Prevention Professional credential.

A Registered Prevention Professional will need 6,000 hours of experience. A Certified Prevention Professional will need 4,000 and a Licensed Prevention Professional, 2,000.

Candidates at any level will take the IC&RC Prevention Specialist Examination once other requirements have been met and approval has been granted.

Individuals may begin training as PSITs on the strength of a high school diploma or GED; they must have attained the age of 18.

Additional Information

The Addiction Disorder Regulatory Authority ( can be reached by telephone at (225) 361-0698.

The Louisiana Association for Addiction Professionals is an additional resource (

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