Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements in Wyoming
Wyoming addiction counselors receive their credentials from the Mental Health Professionals Licensing Board. Licensing or certification is mandatory. Credentials are issued at multiple levels. In order to achieve the Licensed Addictions Therapist (LAT) credential, a person must earn a master’s degree, pass an examination, and complete a supervised practice requirement. The PAT (Provisional Addictions Therapist) credential authorizes supervised practice.
The CAP (Certified Addictions Practitioner) can be achieved with a bachelor’s degree; the CAPA (Certified Addictions Practitioner Assistant) requires addiction-specific coursework. Both credentials are dependent on examination. Practitioners work under ongoing supervision
Select a Licensed Addictions Therapist or Certified Addictions Practitioner topic below…
- Licensed Addictions Therapist Requirements
- LAT Credentialing Requirements for Licensed Mental Health Professionals
- Certified Additions Practitioner Requirements
- Certified Addictions Practitioner Assistant Requirements
- Out-of-State Addiction Counselors
- Application Process: Forms and Necessary Materials
- Contacts and Additional Information Sources
Licensed Addictions Therapist Requirements
Education: The foundation for practice as an LAT is 1) a graduate degree in substance abuse, chemical dependency, or addictionology or 2) a graduate degree in a mental health field with coursework in board-mandated areas.
Qualifying coursework can be taken at the undergraduate or graduate level. The program must include three semester credits (or four quarter credits) in each of the following:
- Counseling theory
- Counseling skills
- Professional ethics
- Chemical dependency practicum
Additionally, there must be ten semester credits drawn from among the following:
- Drugs and behavior
- Addictions and special populations
- Addictive behaviors (which may include eating disorders, gambling, and cults)
- Addiction prevention and education
- Administration of addiction services
- Addiction/ chemical dependency assessment
Coursework in addiction assessment is mandatory.
The candidate will also need six contact hours of training in communicable diseases. This requirement may be met through workshop attendance.
Supervised Practice: The provisional therapist must accrue 3,000 hours of supervised experience. Unless the PAT license was issued by January 2011, the trainee must earn all 3,000 hours at the post-master level; at least 1,200 hours must consist of direct client contact.
The licensing agency will require 100 hours of individual or triadic post-master supervision. The supervisor will submit verification directly to the licensing agency; the verification form asks for evaluation and for a recommendation for or against licensure.
The Wyoming Board will accept the Association for Addictions Professionals (NAADAC) Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) exam or the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) exam. The Wyoming Board will allow up to three examination attempts. A fourth attempt may be authorized if the candidate has a remediation plan.
LAT Credentialing Requirements for Licensed Mental Health Professionals
Professionals already licensed in Wyoming as professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, or clinical social workers have special provisions. They must complete 150 hours of addiction-related education, which is to include content in four of six areas recognized by the Board. The practicum may be met in one of three ways: a university-sponsored practicum, 150 hours of appropriately supervised face-to-face client contact, or five years of full-time experience in the addictions field (https://docs.google.com/document/d/12u8heZuHzXRovQzkofQPpc221foY5LuWj1j1QANItD8/edit). Examination requirements are the same as they are for other candidates.
Certified Additions Practitioner Requirements
Education: The foundation for CAP practice is a baccalaureate degree in a mental health field. The degree must be granted by a college or university that holds accreditation by a regional or national agency that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or CHEA (https://www.chea.org/). The program is to include a concentration in addiction or substance abuse (https://mentalhealth.wyo.gov/professionals-1/cap-by-experience-applications). The candidate must have 21 credit hours in Board-mandated areas. The program must include two credit hours of counseling ethics and three credit hours each in counseling theory, counseling skills, and addiction theory. The remaining ten credit hours may be drawn from the following:
- Drugs and behavior
- Addictive behavior
- Addiction and special populations
- Addiction assessment
Assessment coursework is mandatory. Required coursework can be taken subsequent to the granting of the bachelor’s degree if necessary.
The candidate will need six contact hours of education in communicable diseases. This may or may not be taken as college coursework.
Examination: The Wyoming Board will accept the NAADAC Level II exam or the IC&RC AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor) exam as certification-qualifying. Candidates will be authorized to test after their applications have been reviewed. At this point, they will receive registration information.
Professionals may be employed for a maximum of six months before certification is achieved. They must not render services until they have been notified that the grace period has begun. Professionals with CAP certification work under ongoing supervision.
Certified Addictions Practitioner Assistant Requirements
Education: A CAPA may earn an accredited associate’s degree in addiction studies, chemical dependency, or similar field or pursue education in specific addiction-related areas (https://mentalhealth.wyo.gov/professionals-1/certificate-applications). The candidate will need 270 hours of education and/or training. This may or may not take the form of formal university coursework. At least 200 hours are to be specific to addictions; the six required hours of training in communicable diseases may be applied to this coursework requirement. Up to 70 hours of education in general mental health subjects may be credited; the candidate will need at least 30 hours of counseling ethics.
Examination: A CAPA candidate takes the NAADAC Level I exam. A CAPA candidate who has submitted an application may hold employment for up to six months prior to certification.
The Application Process
Candidates may download application forms from the Board website (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZPpRcV6TVJ3l6ig0-j4f3YhHreOa1Z9a4sllLKR9Tus/edit). There are multiple application packets available at the LAT, CAP, and CAPA levels; selection will depend on the pathway the candidate is utilizing. An LAT may apply on the basis of reciprocity, licensing in another mental health discipline, or completion of requirements under provisional licensing. Candidates at all levels are asked to read applicable regulations before submitting applications.
Applications include questions about legal and professional history and about whether the applicant has provided services in Wyoming without licensing. “Yes” answers require explication.
PAT and LAT candidates must write professional disclosure statements.
Applicants should request that official transcripts be sent straight to the licensing agency. The Wyoming Board will accept transcripts sent by colleges or universities whether they arrive by mail, fax, or email. The Board will also accept official transcripts submitted by applicants provided there is a stamp across the seal of the envelope. Other training may be verified through copies of certificates of attendance; the certificate must include all information described in the application packet.
Three professional references will be required. Applicants must also document citizenship other legal status.
Fees are as follows: PAT $150; LAT by examination or reciprocity, $350; LAT based on completion of provisional $200; CAP or CAPA, $300.
Candidates can expect email notification that their applications have been received. Email inquiry is permitted.
Out-of-State Addiction Counselors
Wyoming will grant reciprocity to out-of-state candidates if their credentials were based on similar standards. A Licensed Addiction Therapist who has met degree requirements but does not meet all Wyoming standards may be granted a provisional license; supervision will be required until such time as the counselor qualifies for full licensure.
A counselor who holds current certification as a National Certified Addictions Counselor Level II (NCAC II) through NAADAC is deemed to have met education requirements at the CAP level. A candidate who holds either NCAC Level I or IC&RC AODA certification meets CAPA training requirements.
Candidates who have taken certification examinations not expressly approved by the Wyoming Board may be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The Wyoming Mental Health Professionals Licensing Board is found on the web at https://mentalhealth.wyo.gov/. A licensing specialist can be reached at (307) 777-3628 or WyoMHPLB at wyo.gov.
The Wyoming Association of Addiction Professionals, the state NAADAC affiliate, is an additional resource (https://www.naadac.org/wyoming).