Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements in Oklahoma

Oklahoma substance abuse counselors are credentialed by the Oklahoma Board of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors. Credentialing is based on education, supervised practice, and written and oral examination.

There are multiple levels of credentialing. A Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) has education at the bachelor’s level; a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor has education at the master’s level. Licensees can pursue additional training in co-occurring disorders and receive a Bachelor of Co-occurring Disorders Certification (BCDC) or a Licensed Addiction Counselor/ Mental Health ( LADC/MH;) credential; the LADC/MH has a greater scope of practice.

An individual must be at least 21 to hold licensing or certification.

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Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) Requirements

A CADC must hold a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate behavioral science or counseling field (

The degree must come from an institution that holds accreditation through some entity recognized by the Council on Higher Education or the U.S. Department of Education.

Before making application to the Board, the candidate will need to complete 45 clock hours of education that addresses co-occurring disorders and the referral process. Before full licensure, the candidate will need 270 hours of education related to drug and alcohol counseling.

The CADC will complete 300 hours of supervised alcohol and drug counseling practicum. The candidate must have at least two years of supervised work experience; the Board defines this as 4,000 hours. At least half the required work experience hours must be spent in direct client contact. The supervisee will receive an hour a week of supervision.

Licensure is dependent on passing an examination. Examination takes place after other requirements have been met. A candidate who fails an examination attempt may retest.

Bachelor of Co-Occurring Disorders Certification (BCDC)

A professional who seeks adjunct Bachelor of Co-Occurring Disorders Certification must have 200 contact hours of related training with 30 hours specific to addiction, 30 specific to mental illness, and 140 covering co-occurring disorders ( The Board notes that many of these hours may have been included in the qualifying degree program.

The candidate will need to complete a 200 hour practicum with at least 20 hours in each of eight identified domains.

The BOCD must have a total of at least 6,000 experience hours, including 4,000 specifically in co-occurring disorders (COD) and 2,000 in counseling. The 4,000 hours of COD experience are to be completed under a professional approved as a co-occurring disorders supervisor.

Certification is dependent on passing a written examination in co-occurring disorders.

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Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) Requirements

A Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor must have a master’s degree in substance abuse counseling or a degree deemed equivalent. A counseling or behavioral science master’s may be considered content-equivalent if it includes three courses in the treatment and assessment of drug and alcohol problems and one course in each of the following:

  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Drug and alcohol counseling theory
  • Pharmacology (as it relates to drug abuse)
  • Human development
  • Psychopathology
  • Family systems theory
  • Theory of addiction in the family
  • Counseling of families with addiction
  • Cultural competence issues
  • Research method
  • Ethics
  • Practicum (300 hours)

Classes may be three semester hours or four quarter hours. Requirements for coursework became more stringent in 2012. Professionals licensed before this time were held to different standards.

2,000 hours of supervised experience are completed after application to the Board. Half the experience hours must consist of direct client contact.

The candidate must also pass an examination. (A candidate who has already passed an IC&RC examination will indicate this on the application.)

180 hours of continuing education must be documented before full licensure; at least 90 are to be specific to drugs and alcohol.

LADH-MH Requirements

An LADH or LADH candidate can also pursue licensure as a LADH-MH. The professional may have a degree in co-occurring disorders or another behavioral science field; it must include clinical work ( The individual will need 140 hours of training in co-occurring disorders. 100 hours of practicum will be required. The practicum must include at least ten hours in each of the following:

  • Psychopathology and etiology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Counseling and intervention
  • Treatment and recovery planning
  • Screening and assessment
  • Crisis management and prevention
  • Recovery support and care coordination
  • Ethics

The LADH-MH license also depends on completing 2,000 hours (one full-time year) of supervised practice in co-occurring disorders and achieving a passing score on a written examination.

The Application Process

A trainee will come under Board jurisdiction while completing supervised practice. Before beginning supervision, the candidate will submit a transcript, job description, and supervisor-supervisee contract. The application will also be submitted at this time.

Application materials can be downloaded from the ‘Board website ( The applicant will need to secure three references, sign a code of ethics, and compose a personal philosophy. Official transcripts are to be included in the application package in sealed envelopes. The application must be notarized; a recent photo is to be attached. The application carries a $140 fee.

The practicum supervisor will fill out a training form. The professional who provides general supervision for work experience will eventually evaluate the candidate for licensing or certification purposes. A supervision log must also be submitted.

The Board notes that examinations are now offered in a computer delivered format. Candidates may call 405-793-1545 for examination information.


An alcohol and drug counselor licensed or certified in another state on the basis of similar or higher requirements is a candidate for reciprocity (

Additional Information

Proposed rule changes are posted on the site of the Oklahoma Board of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors. The Board can be reached by telephone at (405) 521-0779. Additional contact information can be found on the Board site (

The Oklahoma Association for Addiction Professionals is an additional professional resource (

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