Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements in New Jersey

New Jersey alcohol and drug counselors are credentialed by the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee. In order to be credentialed, one must meet education, training, and supervised experience requirements. Once these requirements have been met, the candidate will take written and oral examinations. Master’s level counselors are issued the Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) credential. Bachelor’s level candidates are issued the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) credential.

An in-state trainee will come under state jurisdiction while working to meet experience requirements.

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Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements

A CADC must have a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, the counselor must have 270 hours of coursework in mandated areas. The requirement is 54 hours in each of five identified domains. The student may take classes approved by the Association for Addiction Professionals, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), or International Certification Reciprocity Consortium of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (IC&RC) member boards. Coursework from a regionally accredited university may also be applied. If the university coursework was not pre-approved as meeting requirements, the candidate will need to have transcripts evaluated by the Addiction Professionals Certification Board (APCBNJ), an IC & RC member board. A list of approved providers is available on the APCBNJ site (http://certbd.org/approved-providers/).

Coursework distribution must meet the following standards:

  • Assessment topics: at least six hours each in initial interviewing, differential diagnosis, biopsychosocial assessment, substance abuse physiology/ pharmacology, diagnostic summaries, compulsive gambling.
  • Counseling topics: six hours each in introduction to counseling, approaches and techniques, individual counseling, family counseling, group counseling, and crisis intervention.
  • Case management topics: six hours each in consultation, community resources, HIV resources, documentation.
  • Client education topics: six hours each in addiction recovery, psychological client education, sociocultural client education, medical/ biomedical client education, sociocultural and biomedical family education, addiction recovery/ psychological family education, community/ professional education.
  • Legal aspects: six hours each in legal standards, ethical standards, personal growth, professional growth, recovery dimensions, cultural competency, community involvement, supervision, and consultation.

A summary of required courses can be found on the APCBNJ website (http://certbd.org/courses-that-need-to-be-completed-for-non-degree-training-programs).

The prospective CADC must attend 30 self-help group meetings, in attendance at at least five meetings hosted by each of the following organizations: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Alanon.

The prospective CADC must work under supervision for at least two years and until such time as 3,000 experience hours have been earned. It is permissible to work part-time and take longer than two years. However, the experience requirement must be met within a period of five consecutive years.

The clinical supervisor may be an LCADC, an APA-qualified psychiatrist, an ASAM-certified physician, or an mental health professional who has been certified as a clinical supervisor by the Addiction Counselors Certification Board.

The intern must have at least 50 hours of supervision a year, and at least two evaluations.

The candidate must have 300 hours of practical training in 12 competency areas. The application packet includes a breakdown of training hours by competency area.

A CADC candidate will take IC & RC written and oral examinations. The oral examination is based on a case. Information and preparatory materials can be found on the site of the Addiction Professionals Certification Board of New Jersey (http://certbd.org/testing/oral-test-questions/).

Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements

An LCADC candidate will need a master’s degree in a counseling field or in a field related to addictions or counseling.

The candidate must have 18 counseling-related credit hours; it is acceptable to take courses post-master to make up for educational deficiencies. The following content must be covered:

  • The helping relationship
  • Counseling practice and theory
  • Counseling profession
  • Growth and development/ maladaptive behavior
  • Social and cultural foundations
  • Group dynamics, counseling, processing, consulting
  • Lifestyle/ career development
  • Individual assessment
  • Pharmacology and physiology
  • Research and evaluation

The candidate will need 270 hours of drug and alcohol education, 300 hours of supervised practical training, and at least two years of supervised experience. (The minimum number of experience hours is 3,000; an individual who works more than 1,500 hours in a year can only credit 1,500 of them.)

In most cases, interns will need at least 50 hours of supervision a year and will receive at least two evaluations each year. Credentialed interns (those who hold healthcare licensing) will need at least 50 hours of supervision. They will have at least one annual evaluation.

The candidate will also need to attend at least 30 alcohol and drug abuse-related self-help group meetings.

The candidate must take IC & RC written and oral examinations. Professionals already licensed in other health care disciplines (for example, advanced practice nursing, psychology, or clinical social work) are exempted from examination requirements.

Background Checks

A candidate will need to have a criminal background check. If the candidate was fingerprinted by a New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Board or Committee after November of 2003, it will not be necessary to have prints made again; however, the candidate will still need to remit $22.55 to have a background check run.

The Application Process

An individual who is interning to meet experience requirements will fill out a proposed plan of supervision. This and other pertinent forms and instructions can be downloaded from the New Jersey Consumer Affairs website (https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/adc/Pages/applications.aspx). The intern must read applicable statutes and regulations before submitting the form.

An in-state candidate will apply to the Committee for licensure or certification before taking the examination. An alcohol and drug counselor who has held certification through an IC&RC Board will submit verification. Candidates who have not held certification will provide forms to their supervisor(s) to have practical training verified. The clinical supervisor will provide an evaluation. The application includes an affidavit that must be notarized. There is a $75 application fee.

If all requirements have been met except examination, the candidate will be authorized to test. This will entail payment of additional fees. The Committee will allow up to three examination attempts before imposing additional requirements. Candidates can find links to study resources in the FAQ manual provided by the Division of Addiction Services (https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/adc/Pages/FAQ.aspx).

Reciprocity

Addiction counselors may be granted reciprocal credentials if the licensing agency determines that the standards were substantively similar. Addiction counselors who hold certification through an IC & RC Board will have reciprocity processed by the Addiction Professionals Certification Board. The APCBNJ will provide a transcript to the New Jersey licensing agency verifying coursework in applicable domains.

Additional Information

The New Jersey Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee is found on the web at http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/alcohol. Applicants and other interested individuals may use the email contact form to address their questions or comments (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/alcohol/adc_contact.htm).

The New Jersey Association for Addiction Professionals, the state NAADAC affiliate, is an additional professional resource (https://naadacnj.org/about/).