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Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements in New York

New York alcohol and drug counselors are credentialed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Credentialing Unit. OASAS is a member board of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

Eligible professionals are awarded the Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) credential on the basis of addiction-specific education, work experience, and examination. A CASAC must have at least a high school diploma or equivalency. College degrees are not required but can substitute for a portion of the experience requirement.

An individual can be credentialed as a CASAC Trainee when some of the requirements have been met. The Credentialing Unit notes that in certain OASAS-certified facilities, Trainees may be counted as Qualified Health Professionals (QHPs) for the purpose of meeting staffing requirements; this is not the case in most settings.

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Select a New York Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) topic below...

Educational Requirements

A candidate will need 350 clock hours of education and training that develop addiction counseling competencies (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/CASACreq.cfm#education).

A minimum of 85 hours will develop substance abuse and alcohol knowledge. Of these, at least four must address tobacco usage and nicotine dependence.

At least 150 will address alcohol and substance abuse counseling. Of these, at least 15 must be in cultural competence.

At least 70 must be in the combined areas of assessment, evaluation, case management, treatment planning, and patient/ family/ community education.

No fewer than 45 may address professional and ethical responsibilities. At least 15 of these must cover ethics as it relates to addictions professionals. At least two must cove mandatory reporting of child abuse and maltreatment.

Education can be obtained through colleges or universities, government agencies, or other approved organizations. Distance learning is accepted if it is offered by an accredited college or through an approved provider. A CEU is awarded for ten clock hours of education; a semester hour is credited as 15 clock hours.

NYS OASAS Certified Education and Training Providers for the CASAC 350 hours certificate program can be found here: https://www.oasas.ny.gov/training/providers.cfm?providerType=CASAC-350

New York has recently moved to a standardized curriculum (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/workforce/training/CASAC350.cfm). Candidates may opt for an educational package that offers academic credit or one that does not. All certified providers cover the same material. It is still permissible to credit college coursework provided it meets requirements. The agency notes that some coursework taken as part of the qualifying degree program may be applied to education and training requirements. Candidates will use the credentialing application to request that their transcripts be evaluated. Those with questions can call 1-800-482-9564.

Examination Requirements

CASAC candidates must take a written examination (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/exam.cfm). The exam was developed by the IC&RC. The Credentialing Unit has provided the following resources (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/resources/CASACExamResources.cfm).

Candidates will call the Credentialing Unit at 1-800-482-9564 to request a registration form. A candidate can be approved any time after educational requirements have been met; it will be necessary to submit an application (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/FAQs/index.cfm?org_code=4#anchor33). The exam will cost $245.

The exam is offered via computer at ISO Quality Testing centers. There are six New York locations: New York City, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany, Flushing, and Binghamton.

A candidate who fails an examination attempt must wait 60 days before retesting. An unsuccessful candidate may continue to retest as long as the credentialing application remains active. However, each attempt entails a $245 fee.

Experience Requirements

An individual who has not earned a college degree in a field related to the human services will need to accrue 6,000 work experience hours before credentialing. A qualifying associate's degree may substitute for 1,000 experience hours. A qualifying bachelor's degree can substitute for 4,000, a master's for 6,000.

The credentialing agency has provided a list of approved human service fields (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/resources/HumServDeg.cfm) Among the options are anthropology, audiology, community mental health, criminal justice, dance therapy, divinity, education, gerontology, music therapy, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, psychology, and rehabilitation counseling.

Work must take place in an approved setting. There must be at least 300 hours of supervised practical training. The trainee must have a minimum of ten hours of practical training in each of the core addiction counseling functions; this will necessitate direct supervision by a Qualified Health Professional (QHP).

Volunteer work is creditable without limit if it is completed under a formal agreement and otherwise meets Credentialing Unit standards (including supervision requirements). A candidate may choose to credit a formal internship experience as education/ training or supervised experience, but cannot count it as both.

Additional Requirements

The prospective CASAC will need to have three professionals provide evaluations of competency and ethical conduct. One must come from the current or most recent clinical supervisor. One must come from a CASAC or an addiction counselor who holds reciprocal-level credentialing through some IC&RC board. One must come from a professional who is designated as a Qualified Health Professional. The professional must have substance abuse training and experience. He or she may hold credentialing as any of the following: counselor, family therapist, master or clinical social worker, registered nurse, occupational therapist, physician, physician’s assistant, psychologist, rehabilitation counselor, or therapeutic recreational therapist; a CASAC would also qualify. The Credentialing Unit has provided detailed information about evaluator requirements (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/CASACreq.cfm#evaluations).

The Credentialing Unit requires fingerprint-based criminal background checks. Candidates must use the approved vendor, MorphoTrust. The candidate may visit the ‘New York’ page of the Identogo site to view fingerprinting locations and initiate the registration process (http://www.identogo.com/FP/NewYork.aspx). It will be necessary to provide the correct ORI and provider ID.

The Application Process

A candidate may apply before all requirements have been met. Trainee status can be awarded when the substance abuse worker has either completed the 350 hour education requirement or accrued 4,000 work experience hours and completed 85 hours of applicable education; the 85 hours must be in the alcoholism and substance abuse knowledge arena. There is not a separate application for Trainee. The candidate will file a CASAC application.

The CASAC application will stay open for five years (based on application postmark date). During this time, the Trainee is expected to complete all requirements for CASAC. There is an application fee of $100 (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/fee.cfm). The Credentialing Unit notes that it is not necessary to pay additional fees to add materials to the file. Trainee status may be extended one time for three years. The Trainee will need to provide ethical conduct evaluations.

IC&RC Certificate

Although New York is a member board of the IC&RC, state credentialing alone does not place a candidate in the IC&RC database. An addiction counselor who wants the international certificate will pay the IC&RC $25 (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/FAQs/index.cfm?org_code=4#anchor59).

Additional Information

The Credentialing Unit (https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/index.cfm) can be contacted by email at Credentialing at oasas.ny.gov.

The New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers is an additional resource (http://www.asapnys.org).

NYS OASAS Certified Education and Training Providers for the CASAC 350 hours certificate program can be found here: https://www.oasas.ny.gov/training/providers.cfm?providerType=CASAC-350