Substance Use Disorder Counselor Requirements in Utah
Utah substance abuse counselors are licensed by the Substance Use Disorder Counselor Licensing Board, under the banner of the Utah Division of Professional and Occupational Licensing (DOPL). There are multiple levels of licensure. To qualify as an Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor (ASUDC), one must have a college degree at the baccalaureate level or higher. The Substance Use Disorder Counselor (SUDC) license requires an associate’s degree or equivalent education.
The designation ‘Certified’ (as in Certified Substance Use Disorder Counselor or Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor) indicates that a counselor has completed education and examination requirements but has not yet met the experience requirement for full licensure.
An individual may be authorized to work as a Certified Substance Use Disorder Counselor Intern (CSUDCI) or Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor Intern (CASUDCI) while waiting to take the qualifying examination.
Select a Utah Substance Abuse Counselor topic below…
- Substance Use Disorder Counselor Education and Training Requirements
- Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor Education and Training Requirements
- Examination Requirements
- Intern Licenses
- Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselors
- Application Process: Forms and Necessary Materials
- Contacts and Additional Information Sources
Substance Use Disorder Counselor Education and Training Requirements
Substance use disorder counselors are required to pursue education at the associate’s level. 60 semester hours of coursework can be accepted as the equivalent of an associate’s degree (https://adminrules.utah.gov/public/rule/R156-60d/Current%20Rules?). The 60 semester hours must be awarded by institutions that hold accreditations that are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Candidates must complete prerequisite coursework in psychology and human development across the lifespan. They must have 200 hours of education related to substance use disorders. Additionally they must have 200 hours of practicum.
The certified counselor will accrue 2,000 hours of work experience. In most cases, an individual is expected to complete the experience requirement within two years of completing the substance use disorder education. The timeframe may be extended in extenuating circumstances.
For every 40 hours of services that a trainee provides an hour of direct supervision must be provided. Supervision must be face-to-face unless the Board has approved an exception. The supervisor will be expected to report to the licensing agency that the candidate is qualified and competent.
Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor Education and Training Requirements
The advanced license is dependent on earning a degree at the baccalaureate or graduate level (https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title58/Chapter60/58-60.html?v=C58-60_1800010118000101). The student must have at least 300 hours of education related to substance use disorders; credit may be awarded for up to 200 hours that were obtained in pursuit of the Substance Use Disorder Counselor license. Psychology and human development must also appear on the candidate’s transcripts.
The candidate will also need 350 hours of practicum prior to initial credentialing as a CASUDC. 200 hours may be credited for practicum completed in fulfillment of requirements for the lower license.
Full licensure as an ASUDC is dependent on accruing 4,000 hours of supervised practice. A candidate who completed 2,000 hours while qualifying for the SUDC credential may credit these hours. Supervision requirements are the same for the second 2,000 hours: one hour of supervision for every 40 hours of service. In most cases, the 4,000 hours must be completed within four years of completing the educational program.
Utah utilizes the Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) examinations. Candidates should register with the Association of Utah Substance Abuse Professionals (AUSAP). A person can be licensed at the SUDC level on the basis of passing the examination at Level I; scores from higher level examinations will also be accepted. A CASUDC is dependent on passing the examination at Level II or passing the Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) examination.
A professional who has taken the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) examination at an appropriate level may be excused from taking the NAADAC. A candidate applying for the ASUDC license will need to verify having passed the ICRC Advanced Alcohol and Drug (AADC) examination. The Alcohol and Drug (ADC) examination will be adequate for the SUDC license.
A person who has completed all requirements for the CSUDC or CASUDC license with the exception of the examination may be granted an intern license; this will allow the candidate to begin accruing experience while waiting to take the exam. The intern license is valid for a maximum of six months.
The Application Process
Application packets can be downloaded from the DOPL website (https://dopl.utah.gov/substance-use-disorder-counseling/additional-forms/). Candidates should make sure they have the current version as licensing requirements have gone up.
Candidates must submit official copies of their transcripts. These may come straight from the issuing institution or may be included in the application packet in original envelopes with the official seal or stamp across the flap. The supervisor will verify experience. Candidates with criminal records will attach a narrative and additional supporting documentation.
Applicants for full licensure pay a nonrefundable $85 processing fee; applicants at the certification level pay $70. Additional fees are due to the testing agency. Applicants may mail application materials or hand deliver them to the DOPL office in Salt Lake City.
Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselors
Out-of-state substance abuse counselors can be licensed by endorsement provided their licenses are in good standing and provided they have the required professional experience (https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title58/Chapter60/58-60.html?v=C58-60_1800010118000101). Endorsement candidates may have their professional experience verified by a colleague or employer representative (as opposed to a supervisor). However, the endorsement candidate will need to verify 4,000 hours of practice, even at the SUDC level. Out-of-state candidates will also need to verify that they have passed an examination acceptable to the licensing agency.
Substance abuse counselors who are currently licensed in other jurisdictions will submit the request for license verification (found in the application packet) to their own licensing agency. They will submit the standard application to the Utah Board at the licensing level they seek; the SUDC and ASUDC applications include directions for both standard and endorsement applications.
The Division of Professional and Occupational Licensing may be reached by email at doplbureau3 at utah.gov or by telephone at (801) 530-6628. Applicants located within Utah may call (866) 275-3675.
The Association of Utah Substance Abuse Professionals (https://www.naadac.org/utah) can be reached at (801)335-0537.