Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements in Maine

Maine alcohol and drug counselors are credentialed by the Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors. The Board offers a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credential and a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) credential. Credentialing at the lower level requires college education or supervised practice while credentialing at the higher level requires both. Examination is required at each level.

The Maine Board also offers an Alcohol & Drug Counseling Aide credential and a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) credential.

State credentialing is required unless a drug and counselor falls under one of the exemption categories described in state statute (http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/32/title32sec6206.html).

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Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements

An applicant may apply for the CADC on the basis of 1) post-secondary education or 2) high school diploma or GED plus 4,000 hours of work experience (http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/32/title32sec6214-C.html).

Generally speaking, an alcohol and drug counselor applying on the basis of post-secondary education is expected to have a degree at at least the associate’s level (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/02/chaps02.htm#384). The degree may be in any of the following fields: counseling, childhood development, educational psychology, social and behavioral sciences, social work, education and human development, mental health and human services, nursing, rehabilitation services, or psychology.

The Board will accept, in lieu of a degree, 30 semester hours of coursework in approved areas. Approved education may include coursework focused on chemical dependency and addiction as well as coursework in the following:

  • Case management
  • Community mental health
  • Crisis intervention
  • Cultural competency
  • Dual diagnosis (with substance abuse)
  • Group processes
  • Mental health and aging
  • Psychology
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation
  • Recovery from sexual abuse and trauma
  • Social service systems
  • Vocational aspects of disability

The Board notes that the following certificate programs have also been deemed certification qualifying:

  • Rehabilitation Technician Certificate from University of Maine-Augusta
  • Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician Certificate from University of Southern Maine or University of Maine-Augusta

An individual applying on the basis of supervised experience will need one hour of supervision for every 20 client contact hours. While working under supervision, a trainee will hold state credentialing. Although regulations state that an individual will work under an Alcohol and Drug Counseling Aide, other professional licenses may be accepted (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/alcohol/faq_board.html).

A CAC will take the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC) ADC examination.

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements

The LAC credential depends on education and experience. A professional who holds certification as a CADC will need 2,000 hours of additional experience to be licensed at the LADC level. With no qualifying degree and no certification, the Board will require 6,000 hours of experience (http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/32/title32sec6214-D.html). With a qualifying degree at the associate or baccalaureate level, the candidate will need 4,000 hours of supervised experience. With a qualifying degree at the master’s level, just 2,000 hours of experience are required. The qualifying degree may be in addiction counseling or behavioral science or in any of the following fields: childhood development, education and human development, educational psychology, mental health and human services, nursing, psychology, rehabilitation services, social sciences, or social work.

Addiction counselors must take two examinations prior to being licensed at the LADC level (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/alcohol/faq_board.html). They may opt to take the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC) ADC and Advanced ADC examinations. It is also an option to take the CPM (Case Oral) examination along with the ADC examination.

The Examination Process

Examinations are now computer-delivered. Candidates may refer to the IC & RC candidate bulletin for a list of dates. The Maine Board advises candidates to download study guides at www.readytotest.com.

Alcohol & Drug Counseling Aide Requirements

Alcohol and drug counseling aides must be at least 18 years of age and hold diplomas or GEDs (http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/32/title32sec6213-B.html). They must be employed at agencies. The Board will require the name of the person who will serve as clinical supervisor.

Certified Clinical Supervisor Requirements

In order to be certified as a clinical supervisor, a person must hold a license in a mental health discipline and have 1,000 hours of licensed drug and alcohol counseling experience (http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/02/chaps02.htm#384). The professional must also have 30 hours of training; training must include at least six hours in each of the following: counselor development, evaluation and skills assessment, management/ administration, and professional responsibility.

LADCs may achieve certification as clinical supervisors by passing the clinical supervisor examination and demonstrating that other requirements have been met.

The Application Process

Once education and practice requirements have been met, the prospective alcohol and drug counselor will submit an application to be qualified to take the examination. The applicant will need a supervisor verification form; this is to be included in the same package as the application. It will also be necessary to verify age with a birth certificate or other legal document. Education is to be documented with transcripts. The application fee at this stage is $25.

The successful candidate will then submit an application package that includes examination results; a $40 license fee and $21 background check fee will be due. At this stage, the applicant will also need to submit a ten-year driving record. This can be obtained by calling 624-9000 or visiting the Bureau of Motor Vehicles website (http://www.informe.org/bmv/drc/index.html).

Any candidate who has ever been convicted of a crime must submit official court documents. A candidate who holds, or has held, professional licensing must submit license verification. The Board prefers that candidates have verification forms sent to their own address so that they can be included in the same envelope as the other application materials. If a licensing agency is unwilling to do this, the candidate will submit an application with a note that verification will arrive separately (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/alcohol/faq_board.html).

Application forms are available on the Board site (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/alcohol/forms.html). All pages of the application include a space for signature or initials.

Applications are to be delivered to the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation in Augusta It is permissible for candidates to hand deliver application materials. However, candidates are advised that there will still be processing time; licenses cannot be issued the same day.

Out-of-State Addiction Counselors

Out-of-state addiction counselors who have not already passed the appropriate IC & RC examination may be required to do so (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/alcohol/pdf/endorsement.pdf). A candidate who has already taken the required examination may submit documentation.

Additional Information

The Maine Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors (http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/alcohol) can be reached by telephone at 207-624-8689 or by email at alcoholdrug.lic at maine.gov.

The Maine Association of Substance Abuse Programs is an additional professional resource (http://www.masap.org/site/default.asp).