Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor Requirements in Oregon

Oregon sets minimum standards for individuals who work in publically funded treatment programs, for example, prohibiting employment of individuals who have been convicted of certain criminal offenses. Oregon Addictions and Mental Health Services refers addiction service providers to the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon (ACCBO) for professional certification.

The Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon is an affiliate of the Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). ACCBO offers three levels of alcohol and drug counseling certification. The lowest certification does not require a degree, but requires education, training, and experience comparable to an associate’s degree. The highest certification requires a graduate degree. All three require examination and supervised practice.

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Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor I (CADC I) Requirements

A CADC I candidate must have 150 hours of alcohol and drug related education (https://www.mhacbo.org/en/certifications/).

The following must be addressed:

  • Basic counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Alcohol and drug pharmacology
  • HIV risk assessment and reduction
  • Counseling-related ethics

Basic counseling and group counseling coursework is to include practice; it is not to be completed online. Other exclusions are described in the application packet.

The trainee will need 1,000 hours of supervised practice. Work must be carried out under the supervision of a professional who meets state standards and holds an advanced credential. The CADC II is accepted as are comparable credentials like the NCAC II; advanced licenses or certifications issued by other states are also accepted. The certification board has set minimum hours for time spent in tasks related to eight domains recognized in the CSAT Technical Assistance Publication and has further broken down some domains into tasks. A CADC I candidate, for example, must spend at least 50 hours each in case management, discharge planning, and relapse prevention (all covered under Domain 4). A full description of competencies is found in the application packet.

The candidate must pass the NCAC I National Certification Exam.

A NCAC I candidate who has had chemical dependency issues must verify two years of sobriety.

Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor II (CADC II) Requirements

CADC II candidates must earn bachelor’s degrees or pursue equivalent studies (https://www.mhacbo.org/en/certifications/). The certification board may accept an associate’s degree if the candidate has taken additional coursework beyond the associate’s and has comparable education hours.

The candidate must have a minimum of 300 hours of alcohol and drug education in board-mandated areas. Alcohol and drug education must include all concepts required at the CADC I level, plus cultural diversity, co-occurring disorders, and clinical evaluation; clinical evaluation coursework must incorporate American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) placement criteria. The certification board notes that courses in general psychology, mental health, or abnormal psychology may not be credited as alcohol and drug related education.

The counselor will need 4,000 hours of supervised practice, performing the required addiction counselor competencies under a qualified professional.

It will be necessary to pass both the NCAC II National Certification Examination and the NAADAC Case Presentation Examination. A candidate for oral examination will receive a copy of the NAADAC Applicant’s Guide. The candidate will submit a case history for review. Once it has been approved, the candidate will be scheduled for oral examination. (If the case history is not accepted, the candidate will receive directions for resubmission.)

The certification board requires that a recovering CADC II candidate be free of alcohol/ illicit drug use or prescription medication abuse for at least three years.

Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor III Requirements

CADC III candidates must hold graduate degrees in “human arts” fields. Additionally, they must demonstrate 300 hours of alcohol and drug education. Alcohol and drug education must include all concepts required at the CADC II level plus evidence-based addiction treatment practices.

6,000 hours of supervised practice will be required. Candidates must pass the Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) National Certification Exam and the NAADAC Case Presentation Examination.

Three years of sobriety is required in the case of recovering counselors.

ABCCO notes that professionals who are already licensed in mental health disciplines (for example, clinical social work, counseling, or marriage and family therapy) can apply for MAC certification directly through NAADAC or through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

The Application Process

Application forms and instructions can be downloaded from the ACCBO site; the packet includes an examination application (https://www.mhacbo.org/en/certifications/). Candidates will submit their applications before examination. Written exams are now offered on a monthly basis. However, candidates will need to have application materials in well in advance of the time they intend to test; upcoming deadlines are found in the application packet. The certification board advises anyone sending application materials by overnight mail to sign a waiver allowing it to be delivered without signature.

Education is to be documented through official transcripts and copies of certificates. Applicants must include copies of their state IDs. Supervisors will need to sign the experience verification forms, noting their credentials after their names and including phone numbers for verification. Recovering professionals will have a supervisor or colleague write a letter, verifying the length of time they have (to the best of the other professional’s knowledge) been alcohol/ drug free.

Fees are as follows: $50 for application, $225 for written examination, $125 for case presentation.

Certified Addictions Recovery Mentor Requirements

Individuals who are in recovery for chemical dependency issues and have been substance-free for two or more years may achieve certification as Addictions Recovery Mentors through ACCBO. No examination or experience is necessary, but the individual must complete a state approved recovery mentor training program (http://www.oregon.gov/OHA/amh/peer.shtml).

Other Certification offered by ACCBO

ACCBO also certifies prevention specialists; in this arena, it functions as a member board of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

Additional Information

The Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon can be reached between 9:00 and 5:00 Pacific Time (https://www.mhacbo.org/en/).