Acquiring That Chemical Dependency Counselor Certification In California



Generally, a chemical dependency counselor deals with therapy services and programs catered for individuals with chemical dependency. Chemical dependency may include alcohol drinking needs, illegal substances abuse, and use of medical drugs for leisure, and tobacco smoking. Before the assessments and therapy are to transpire, the person performing the services must have the necessary certification and training. In California, there are some requirements.


There are four stages of accreditation that an aspiring chemical dependency counselor in California must understand: the CADCA or Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor Associate, the CADC-I or Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor I, the CADC-II or Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor II, and the LAADC or the Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor. (This information came from Human Services Edu website.)

CADCA, CADC-I, and CADC-II are all educational levels. It will include practicum performance and work experience that are necessarily directed.


LAADC is a license, not from the government, which can create added benefits for the aspiring counselor, but it is not a requisite in California.


What You Need To Acquire A Certification In California




Step 1


It is necessary to complete an Associate degree, a Bachelor’s degree, or a Master’s degree in Behavioral Science with particular preference to addiction or dependency counseling (depending upon the job requisite) to practice chemical dependency counseling in the state. Although some counselors start out as social workers, Sociology majors, Human Services or Psychology professionals, they too can acquire a certification on chemical dependency counseling if they so desire.


A student must finish 315 hours of formal education from an institution approved by CAADAC/CCAPP or California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. The office is in Sacramento, CA.


Step 2


The interested individual must complete a chemical dependency counseling practicum course. This practicum must be at least 255 hours and again, must be from an approved institution by California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, formerly CAADAC.


Step 3


Supervised work experience is necessary, even before taking the certification. Therefore, the interested individual must earn credits on that aspect, as stated below:


  • All levels of certification or licensure have varying requisites when it comes to supervised work.
  • A criminal background check is necessary before a student can reach this step.
  • In CADCA level, it is introductory and supervised work experience is not required yet.
  • The CADC-I level will need 4,000 hours of alcohol and drug therapy services to clients under supervision.
  • The CADC-II level will require 6,000 hours of alcohol and drug therapy services to clients under control.
  • As for LAADC, if the aspiring counselor has no college degree, then, he must complete 10,000 hours of counseling services which requires supervision. If the person has an AA degree, then, only 6,000 hours is expected of him. The requirement will be reduced to 4,000 hours if the aspiring counselor has a Master’s degree.


Step 4




Of course, before one can practice chemical dependency counseling in California, a certification examination must be passed. It is the IC&RC credentialing procedure, and they have six international examinations. (This information is quoted from the IC&RC website.)


  • Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC)
  • Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC)
  • Clinical Supervisor (CS)
  • Prevention Specialist (PS)
  • Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)
  • Peer Recovery (PR)


Step 5


When the exam is completed and passed by the interested individual, he must apply for a certificate at the California Commission for Behavioral Health Certification. You can apply online at the CCAPP website.


Note: Details about the steps mentioned in this article were taken from Human Services Edu website.