Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements in Minnesota

Minnesota addiction counselors are licensed by the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (BBHT). Credentialing as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) is based on education, practicum, and examination. Licensees must hold degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher. They may utilize any of several pathways to demonstrate that post-degree requirements have been met.

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Education and Training Requirements

An LADC must hold a bachelor’s degree ( The student must have 270 hours of education that is specific to the role of the alcohol and drug counselor; coursework may be taken outside of the qualifying degree. It must address the core competencies: screening, intake, orientation, case management, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, client education, consultation with professionals, crisis intervention, record keeping and reports, and referral.

Additionally, Minnesota requires coursework in the transdisciplinary foundations of the profession, the pharmacology and dynamics of addiction, co-occurring disorders, multicultural aspects, and professional and ethical responsibility.

Coursework must be taken through an accredited institution. Online coursework is acceptable; however online coursework taken as continuing education does not meet the requirements.

The candidate will need 880 hours of practicum. Practicum is also to be completed through an accredited educational institution.

Method I: Written Examination and Post-Degree Practice

Candidates have the option of completing a written examination and post-degree supervised practice ( or going through a comprehensive examination process.

Candidates completing post-degree supervised practice in Minnesota must meet standards set forth in state statute ( The 2,000 hours of supervised practice must be completed in a period of 12 to 36 months. The trainee will need a total of at least 50 hours of supervision (one hour for 40 hours of practice). Up to half the required supervision hours may take place in a group; up to one-fourth may be carried out by telephone or electronic device. The supervisor must be an LADC or other qualified professional and must have three years of experience; training in supervision is also required.

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Method D: Comprehensive Examination

Examinations are administered by approved third parties. In the case of candidates who have passed a comprehensive examination, or written and oral examinations, the Board will not require direct evidence of supervised practice. However, candidates will need to meet standards set by the credentialing/ examination agency in order to gain admission to the comprehensive examination.

LADC candidates have multiple examination options ( One option is the IC & RC written comprehensive exam. Typically, Minnesota candidates will go through the Minnesota Certification Board. There are separate applications for candidates who are seeking to take the written examination only and those who also seek state or reciprocal certification. There are no prerequisites for the written examination, but MCB recommends that one wait until after completing pertinent coursework.

The Minnesota Certification Board is a source of information about both the examination and licensing process in Minnesota. The MCB notes that credit will be given for an IC & RC exam taken in another jurisdiction, provided that it was the new comprehensive exam ( The former written examination did not include an oral component and is not equivalent. Further testing may be required.

Certification through the Minnesota Certification Board can make it easier to transfer credentials and earn licensing in some other jurisdictions. However, certification must be at the Alcohol & Drug Counselor Reciprocal – Minnesota (ADCR-MN) level. This credential will require 2,000 to 6,000 hours of experience, depending on degree level.

Some candidates may have the option of taking their examination through the Upper Midwest Indian Council On Addictive Disorders, or UMICAD ( UMICAD Level 2 RC & IC examinations are offered only to individuals working at Native American treatment centers (

Another option is the NCC Level 2 written comprehensive. The Minnesota Board has provided the following link: The NCC is offered at PSI testing centers (

While the Minnesota Board no longer administers oral examinations, candidates can be licensed on the basis of having passed both.

The Application Process

Applications are available on the site of the BBHT (

The Board will require official transcripts documenting degree, substance abuse coursework, and practicum. Applicants are encouraged to include syllabi to demonstrate that coursework met state mandates. A copy of examination results is to be included.

A fee of $324.50 is to be included as well.

Method F: Reciprocity

Out-of-state substance abuse counselors may apply for reciprocity if their credentials were granted on the basis of substantively similar requirements ( The Board has clarified that national certifications as well as state-issued credentials may be considered. The candidate will need to furnish a copy of the credentialing standards. License/ certification verification must also be provided; the credential must be current and in good standing.

The Board notes that an out of-state license is not a guarantee of licensure in Minnesota. If the licensing standards were not substantively similar, the counselor will need to demonstrate that Minnesota’s standards have been met (utilizing Method ‘I’ or ‘D’).

Additional Information

The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy ( can be reached at (651) 548-2177.

The Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery in Chemical Health, a state professional association, is an additional resource (>).

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