Chemical Dependency Counselor Requirements in Ohio

Ohio substance abuse counselors are licensed by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board. Counseling licenses are issued at three levels: Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II (LCDC II), Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III (LCDC III), and Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC). All require education, supervised practice, and examination. The distinguishing factor is degree level; higher licenses also have more stringent curriculum requirements.

The Board also issues Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant licenses. For these, no college degree is required.

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Educational Requirements: Chemical Dependency Counselor II and III

The foundation for a Licensed Dependency Counselor II license is an associate’s degree in a behavioral science field or in nursing; a candidate can also qualify with a baccalaureate degree in any field. The foundation for a Licensed Dependency Counselor III credential is a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or nursing.

The candidate will need to complete 180 hours of chemical dependency education. There must be 24 hours in each of the following areas:

  • Addiction theories
  • Diagnosis and assessment of addiction
  • Relationship counseling with the addicted

There must be 18 hours in each of the following:

  • Pharmacology
  • Treatment planning
  • Group processes and techniques

The following content areas require 12 hours:

  • Prevention
  • Legal/ ethical issues

The remaining 30 hours are to be in addiction counseling strategies and procedures.

An academic semester hour may be credited as 15 hours, an academic quarter hour as ten. At least half of the required hours must be earned in the five years preceding application.

Educational Requirements: Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor

An LICDC must have a behavioral science degree at at least the master’s level. The candidate will need to document education in ten Board-mandated areas. Requirements are as follows. There must be 80 clock hours each in counseling and psychotherapy theories and assessment and diagnosis; assessment and diagnosis coursework must cover measurement and appraisal. There must be 40 hours each in human development, psychopathology, counseling procedures, relationship therapy, group process and techniques, research methods and statistics, and cultural competency. There must be 30 clock hours in professional ethics.

Semester hours can be converted to clock hours at a 1:15 ratio. The application form includes a description of coursework that would be qualifying under each content area. The Board will allow candidates to split courses which cover more than one content area and apply some hours to each.

400 hours of practicum, internship, or other supervised experience will be required. The Board also requires master’s level candidates to have 180 hours of education that is specific to chemical dependency counseling; the 180 hours are to be distributed in the same manner as they are for LCDC I or LCDC II licensing.

Experience and Practical Training Requirements

Whatever the educational level, a candidate will need at least 2,000 hours of work experience or supervised internship before a counseling license can be issued.

The candidate must have 220 hours of practical experience in core functions. Hours are to be distributed as follows: 30 hours each in individual counseling and group counseling, 25 in treatment planning, and 20 each in family counseling and ‘reports and record keeping’. The trainee will also need 15 hours of case management and 10 hours in each of the following: screening, intake, assessment, orientation, client education, referral, consultation and crisis intervention. The 220 hours may be included as part of the 2,000 experience hours.

The Board requires that 20% of the required experience hours be spent in the ‘counseling’ core area.

Examination Requirement

The chemical dependency counselor candidate must take the ADC examination . Board approval is required. Examinations are computer-delivered. The Board notes that there are testing sites not only in Ohio but in bordering states as well.

The examination is waived for professionals who already hold a license in a field that includes AOD (alcohol and drug service provision) in its scope of practice. In this instance, candidates will submit a waiver form.

The Application Process

Candidates may download applications (https://ocdp.ohio.gov/) or call the Board office to request them. The form requires notarization. Several supplemental materials will be required. The supervisor will need to fill out the reference form and also sign the job description. Practical experience will also require supervisor verification. Degrees must be verified through official transcripts. Education may be documented through transcripts or through certificates or letters of completion,

Application carries a $50 fee. The examination is an additional $150. The Board notes it can take 30 days to review an application and approve the candidate to sit for the examination.

Licensed chemical dependency counselors who subsequently meet requirements for higher level licensing will fill out conversion applications. They will provide official transcripts to document the new degree; those seeking the independent license will also fill out a coursework grid. The conversion application carries a $35 fee.

Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant Requirements

Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistants are licensed through a two-stage process. Although no degree is required, candidates must have chemical dependency education that covers the following content areas: addiction knowledge, individual counseling, group counseling, treatment knowledge, service delivery, documentation, evaluation, and professionalism. Candidates must have 40 hours of education before they are eligible for Phase I licensure; the areas must be distributed among content areas in the manner mandated by the Board.

Counselor assistants must have another 30 hours before they can progress to Phase II. Education completed before attaining Phase I status will not be credited. The counselor assistant must also hold Phase I status for at least ten months before progressing to Phase II.

The application includes a description of required content. The Board has provided a list of vendors that offer complete education packages for Phase I or Phase II (https://ocdp.ohio.gov/CounselorAssistant).

Earning Reciprocal Level Credentialing

Ohio is a jurisdiction of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC). Holding a reciprocal level credential can make it easier to achieve certification or licensure in many other jurisdictions. The basic state-level credential is not sufficient, however. Trainees have the option of going beyond what is required for basic Ohio licensure and earning a reciprocal credential. Chemical dependency counselors who go this route will need 90 hours of education beyond the 180 that Ohio requires; they will need 80 hours of practical training beyond the 220 that Ohio requires. The additional education and training hours may be in any of the content or core areas required for the basic credential.

A candidate who does not have a degree in a behavioral science field will need 4,000 experience hours beyond those required for licensure. A candidate with a qualifying associate’s degree will need 3,000 additional hours while a candidate with a bachelor’s degree will need 2,000. Professionals with qualifying master’s degrees will not need additional hours, as a master’s degree in a behavioral science field is allowed to substitute for 4,000 experience hors at the reciprocity level.

The application for reciprocal certificate can be downloaded from the applications section of the Board website. Candidates who meet all requirements at the time of licensure may simultaneously apply for a reciprocal certificate.

Additional Information

The Ohio State Chemical Dependency Board (https://ocdp.ohio.gov/) can be reached by phone at 614-387-1110.

The Ohio Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors is an additional resource for the state’s substance abuse professionals (http://www.naadac.org/ohio).