Chemical Dependency Professional Requirements in Rhode Island

Rhode Island substance abuse counselors are credentialed by two organizations. The Rhode Island Board of Licensing for Chemical Dependency Professionals, a governmental entity, issues licenses. Before professionals can attain licensure, however, they must hold third party certification at the advanced (or post-entry level) through the Board for the Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals (RIBCCDP). The RIBCCDP is a member board of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

The Board of Licensing accepts the Advanced Chemical Dependency Professional and Advanced Chemical Dependency Professional II certifications as license-qualifying. The ACDP II can only be achieved by professionals with graduate education. The ACDP does not require a degree. However, behavioral science degrees can shorten the timeframe.

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RIBCPP Certification

The Board for the Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals grants ‘chemical dependency professional’ certifications at multiple levels. CDP candidates must be currently employed in the field and must live and/ or work in Rhode Island.

The Provisional Chemical Dependency Professional (PCDP) certification is an entry-level credential. Individuals must have high school diplomas or GEDs. They must complete 140 hours of education that is relevant to alcohol and drug counseling. Workshops, seminars, and in-service are creditable. A student may credit a three-semester hour academic course as 45 hours. Education must include 12 hours of confidentiality and six hours each in communicable diseases, chemical dependency counselor ethics, and medication assisted treatment/ medication attitudes. Eight of the required confidentiality hours must address 42 CRF Part 2.

The PDCP is not granted until a professional has one year (2,000 hours) of experience; both paid and volunteer experience can be credited. The PCDP candidate must have 150 hours of supervision. The certification board describes the PCDP as a time limited credential; it can be held for only two years.

At the Advanced Chemical Dependency Professional I (ACDP) level, a chemical dependency professional must have 270 hours of education relevant to alcohol and drug counseling domains ( 120 must be specific to substance abuse.

A nondegreed candidate must have 6,000 hours (three years) of experience. An associate’s degree in a behavioral science field can substitute for 1,000 experience hours. A bachelor’s in a behavioral science field can substitute for 2,000, a master’s degree for 4,000. Practicum and internship experiences can be credited as employment. Volunteer work is acceptable if it meets standards. Clinical supervision must be provided by someone who has one of the following qualifications:

  • Is certified or licensed as a clinical supervisor
  • Holds an ACDP, ACDP II, or LCDP credential and has done 30 hours of supervisor training
  • Holds a master’s degree in a behavioral science field, has two years of experience, and has 30 hours of supervisor training plus at least 90 additional hours of substance abuse training
  • Is a licensed PhD level behavioral health professional or licensed MD with two years of experience in substance abuse

The candidate will need 300 hours of supervision with at least 20 in each domain: clinical evaluation, service coordination, treatment planning, counseling, referral, documentation, client/family/community education, and professional and ethical responsibility. At this stage, the professionals must pass the IC&RC Examination for Alcohol and Drug Counselors.

An Advanced Chemical Dependency Professional II (ACDP II) must hold a master’s degree from an accredited school ( Additionally, candidates must document 180 hours of education applicable to the chemical dependency counseling role. Substance abuse education must address confidentiality, ethics, communicable diseases and medication assisted treatment. The ACDP II candidate must have 2,000 hours of experience; again, qualifying practicum and internship hours may be credited. The candidate will need 300 supervision hours. At this level, there are two additional performance domains: research and supervision. ACDP II candidates take the IC & RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor Examination.

The certification board grants additional specialty credentials. Only one, Chemical Dependency Clinical Supervisor (CDCS) is recognized by the Rhode Island Board of Licensing for Chemical Dependency Professionals for licensing purposes. A nondegreed CDCS candidate must have the equivalent of five years of total drug and alcohol counseling experience. There is a separate requirement for two years of supervised experience as a supervisor; this may or may not be included within the five years of total alcohol and drug counseling experience.

Board of Certification Application Process

Application packages are available on the site of the certification board ( The candidate will sign a code of ethics and a release form; the latter must be notarized. Trainings may be verified with certificates of attendance. Official transcripts should come directly from the issuing university. The clinical supervisor will submit a confidential evaluation to the certification board.

An ACDP candidate will remit $350 for testing and certification; half the fee can be refunded if the candidate is not found eligible to test.

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Board of Licensing Application Process

A candidate must submit a notarized application with a two by two photograph attached. The candidate must also remit a $75 fee and provide proof of citizenship or lawful status. Verification of certification is to come directly from the certification board. Applications can be downloaded from the site of the Rhode Island Department of Health (

The application includes questions about legal history and professional background. The Board of Licensing prohibits licensure of individuals who have ethics sanctions by either the IC& RC or the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) but may waive this prohibition under certain circumstances; the burden of proof is on the applicant to demonstrate that public safety is not compromised.


The Rhode Island Board of Licensing will consider candidates for endorsement into Rhode Island on the basis of licensure or certification in another jurisdiction provided that the requirements were substantively similar (

Chemical dependency professionals certified by other IC&RC boards will be granted certificate reciprocity by RIBCCDP; the organization notes that additional requirements are not imposed ( Out-of-state addiction counselors initiate the process through their own member boards.

Additional Information

The Rhode Island Board for the Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals ( can be reached at 717-540-4456.

The Rhode Island Board of Licensing for Chemical Dependency Professionals can be reached at 401-222-3045. Regulations can be downloaded from the site of the Department of Health (

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