Substance Abuse Professional Requirements in Michigan

Michigan licenses substance abuse programs and requires certification for staff members with certain job classifications (

In most cases, Michigan substance abuse professionals will be certified by the Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals (MCBAP). Addiction counselors who work with Indian populations may be certified by the Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorders (UMICAD). Medical doctors may be certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Psychologists may be certified by the American Psychological Association (APA). Prevention specialists have the option of certification through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).

An individual who does not yet qualify for certification may work as a Development Plan – Counselor (DP-C).

Select a Michigan Substance Abuse / Addiction Counselor topic below…

Development Plan while completing qualifications for MCBAP certification

In Michigan, under some limited public funding sources, an individual who does not yet hold an approved certification may work under a time-limited Development Plan, while they are completing their qualifications for MCBAP certification.  However, a Development Plan is not a credential; it is not correct for the person to list themselves or add after their name “DP-C”.

Someone working under a Development Plan is not a “Development Plan – Counselor”.

You might correctly say that  “Some payment contracts may allow an individual who has not yet gained addiction specialty certification to work under supervision, with a MCBAP-registered Development Plan.”

*Thank you Karen Y. Hartley, MPH and Executive Director Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals for clarifying what the Development Plan is and means for students pursuing certification in Michigan.

Substance Abuse Treatment Specialist Certification

The Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals offers the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credentials.

CADC Requirements: A trainee with no qualifying degree must accrue 6,000 hours of experience. An associate’s degree may be credited as 1,000, a bachelor’s as 2,000, and a master’s as 4,000. The Board will not award more than 4,000 total hours for degrees earned. Qualifying degrees must be in the behavioral sciences or related fields; they must include clinical application. The trainee will need 300 hours of practical training in the core functions.

A CADC candidate must also complete 270 hours of education related to drug and alcohol counseling. 180 must be specific to substance abuse counseling; six must be in ethics. MCBAP has put together a suggested course distribution ( The candidate must pass the IC&RC/ADC Written Exam before certification. A candidate who fails an attempt must wait 60 days 

CAADC Requirements: A candidate who has a master’s degree in counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychology, or social work may be eligible to train for the Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification (; to be qualifying, the degree must have a clinical focus.

The individual will need 180 hours of coursework that specifically addresses substance abuse. Also required are 2,000 hours of experience and 300 hours of practical training.

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MCBAP notes that some state agencies require professionals to pass the Michigan Addiction Fundamentals Exam (MAFE), and that the exam can be credited for a portion of the required education hours (

Other MCBAP Credentials: Michigan recognizes other MCBAP substance abuse treatment credentials, including the Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP) and Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomat (CCDP-D) ( The CCDP is dependent on a qualifying bachelor’s degree, the CCDP-D on a master’s. The required education hours include both substance abuse and mental health. Experience and practical training must address the CCDP performance domains. Candidates take the IC&RC Written Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Examination.

Also referenced is the Certified Criminal Justice Professional (CCJP) certification; this is designed for professionals applying substance abuse training in the criminal justice arena. Academic degrees and advanced professional credentials can shorten the timeframe; experience requirements may range from 1,000 to 6,000 hours (

Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorders Certifications: UMICAD is also a member of IC & RC. UMICAD offers the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential at three levels ( American Indian History & Issues is among the performance domains. The CADC I can be earned after just 150 hours of relevant education and 300 hours of supervised experience. The required examination is the UMICAD Level I. The CADC II requires 6,000 hours of experience and 270 hours of specialized training as well as a passing score on the IC & RC examination. The CADC requires additional experience.

Prevention Specialist Certification

Michigan prevention professionals have more than one certification option. Certifying agencies differ in the relative value placed on experience and formal academic education.

MCBAP Certification: The Certified Prevention Specialist credential is based on work experience, training and education hours, and an examination process. A total of 2,000 hours of experience is required; academic degrees do not shorten the pathway ( The candidate must pass the IC&RC-Prevention Specialist written examination. The higher credential, Certified Prevention Consultant – Reciprocal, makes some distinction based on degree level. 8,000 hours of experience are required of a non-degreed individual. An academic degree may reduce the requirement to 6,000 or 4,000 hours (depending on degree level).

NCHEC Certification: Also acceptable is health education certification earned through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC). The CHES certification is based on education and examination ( It can only be earned by an individual with a degree at at least the baccalaureate level. There are two pathways: 1) The individual may have a degree in some discipline of health education (for example, community health education or school health education). 2) The individual may demonstrate at least 25 semester hours of coursework that address the NCHEC’s seven areas of responsibility/ competency. The credentialing agency will accept 37 quarter hours of coursework as the equivalent of 25 semester hours.

The Application Process

Applications are submitted directly to the certification agency. An unexperienced counselor applying through the Michigan Board for Addiction Professionals will first submit an application to work.. The individual will make a plan for completing experience, education, and supervision hours. The clinical supervisor will need to sign the development plan. A $50 fee is due at this time.

Developmental plans include time frames for carrying out certification steps. The individual must make adequate progress toward completion of the plan in order to be considered to meet the state’s certification requirements (

A trainee will need to pay a $165 fee before scheduling an IC & RC exam. Registration information is available on the MBCAP site (

The certification fee is currently $150 (

In some cases, individuals who qualify for certification through other agencies may meet full requirements more quickly. A prevention specialist who is unsure of eligibility for the CHES may opt for pre-screening (


Substance abuse counselors who hold reciprocal certification through other IC & RC member boards may have their certification transferred. MCBAP advises them to first contact their own member board for a reciprocity application.

Additional Information

The Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals ( can be reached at 517-347-0891 or micbap at


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