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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Requirements in Vermont

Vermont addiction counselors hold third party certification. They may be deemed "Approved Counselors" on the basis of certification from the Vermont Alcohol and Drug Certification Board or other International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) member boards (http://healthvermont.gov/adap/counselor/license_rules.aspx). Candidates with master's degree in health or human services may also apply for state licensure as Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors through the Vermont Department of Health. Approved counselors work under the supervision of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullchapter.cfm?Title=33&Chapter=008).

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Certification through the Vermont Alcohol and Drug Addiction Certification Board (VADACB)

The Vermont Alcohol and Drug Addiction Certification Board grants the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) certification. The foundation is a high school diploma or equivalent education.

ADC Educational Requirements: The prospective counselor must have at least 270 hours of education in the 12 core functions identified by the IC&RC (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/certifications/adc/). Education falls into two categories: counseling and substance abuse. At least 180 hours must pertain specifically to substance abuse; 90 must pertain to counseling. The student must have six hours of professional ethics, which must include coverage of both HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2. Education may be pursued through institutes and seminars as well as traditional college courses. Three hours of in-service may be credited as one hour of education; a maximum of 15 in-service hours are allowed. A three-semester hour undergraduate course is credited as 39 hours; a graduate course is credited as 45. The certification board does not place limits on online or distance learning. At least half the required hours, though, must have been earned in the prior ten years.

ADC Supervised Experience Requirement: A counselor who does not have a degree in an approved field will need 6,000 hours of work experience to achieve the ADC certification. With an associate's degree in behavioral sciences or human services, the requirement is reduced to 5,000 hours. With a bachelor's degree, the minimum is 4,000 hours; with a master's degree, it is just 2,000. At least half the required hours must be spent in direct counseling; family counseling is acceptable if the primary substance abuser is involved. Experience must be accrued within ten years of application. Practicum and internship are credited as work experience. The trainee will need at least 300 hours of supervision in core functions identified by the IC&RC. There must be no less than ten hours of face-to-face supervision in each function. Supervision may be provided by an ADC or by an LADC.

ADC Examination Requirement: A candidate must also take the IC&RC written examination. Vermont does not require addiction counselors to have an approved application on file prior to testing. Candidates may attempt the examination before completing requirements. However, all requirements must be met, and application made, within two years of the date the candidate receives notification of having passed the examination. Candidates can access study resources online (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/exam-information/). The certification board is in the process of transitioning to computer-based examination.

VADACB also offers a nonreciprocal entry-level credential, Apprentice Addiction Professional (AAP). Individuals must complete 40 hours of acceptable education/ training (with 34 in substance abuse and six in professional ethics). They must pass the TAP 21 exam (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/certifications/apprentice-addiction-professional-aap/). AAP candidates must be working in the field at least 16 hours a week. Volunteer work counts if the volunteer is performing at least some of the core counseling functions; work must be appropriately supervised. A candidate may attempt the examination before meeting all requirements for credentialing, but will need to retake it if application requirements are not met within two years. A list of examination dates is found on the VADACB site (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/exam-schedule/).

The VADACB Application Process

Candidates should submit applications after all requirements have been met for the desired certification. They will need official transcripts. The supervisor will verify that the applicant is physically and psychologically capable of performing the duties of an alcohol and drug counselor. Candidates can download ADC (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/certifications/adc) or AAP (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/certifications/apprentice-addiction-professional-aap/) applications from the VADACB site. Application fees may be paid through PayPal.

ADC application/ registration costs $125; the examination costs $150. AAP application/ registration costs $75; the examination costs $100.

If the certification board determines that the candidate has not met all requirements or has not put together a satisfactory application package, the candidate will receive advice about remedying the situation.

Licensure through the Department of Health

To be license eligible, an individual must complete a graduate degree in a human services field such as counseling, psychology, or social work. Professionals with master's degrees in health fields are also eligible provided they complete programs that include clinical practicum as well as coursework in human development, techniques of counseling and diagnosis, and professional ethics. Qualifying health fields are those regulated in Title 26 or Title 33 (http://healthvermont.gov/adap/counselor/license_rules.aspx).

Candidates must be certified at the reciprocal level by an IC&RC board. (Addiction counselors must seek certification in a jurisdiction where they either live or work at least 51% of the time.)

DOH Application Process

Candidates can download licensure applications online (http://healthvermont.gov/adap/counselor/license.aspx) or request them by calling (802) 651-1550. The application includes questions about child support and tax status as well as legal and professional history and general fitness.

The candidate should request that the degree-granting institution send transcripts directly to the licensing agency. The applicant will submit a list of courses that cover the Board-mandated areas. The licensing agency will also require documentation of IC&RC certification. The application carries a $75 fee.

Reciprocity

The Vermont Alcohol and Drug Certification Board will grant reciprocity to addiction counselors who hold equivalent, reciprocal-level credentials granted by other IC&RC boards (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/policies-and-procedures/reciprocity/). No additional requirements will be imposed. Candidates should request reciprocity applications from their own member board.

Additional Information

The Department of Health Division of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs (http://healthvermont.gov/adap/counselor/license.aspx) can be reached at (802) 651-1550.

The Vermont Alcohol and Drug Addiction Certification Board can be contacted via online form (http://vtcertificationboard.org/home/contact-us/).