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The Differences Between Alcohol and Drug Counseling Certification Bodies in California

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counseling field is expected to grow by 22 percent over the next ten years. This growth rate is much faster than average.

This means that the need for trained counselors is on the rise. With this growth comes a need for certification and licensure, which can confuse those looking to enter the field.

In addition, there are three alcohol and drug counseling certification bodies in California. So, when considering your career options, which should you choose? 

Keep reading, and we will explore the different types of AOD certifications.

How to Get Certified as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor

If you’re considering career training as an alcohol and drug counselor, you have many options. There is something for everyone in this field, from entry-level to advanced certifications. The best way to find the right one for you is to research the different options for certification.

When considering schools, finding a program that offers the courses, you need to apply for certification in your chosen career is important. 

Most alcohol and drug counseling studies programs will require you to complete a certain number of hours of classroom study. Some levels of certification may also require a degree in behavioral science or allied health professions. 

In addition, you may need on-the-job training, which may be a practicum or internship. Once you have completed all of the requirements for a particular program, you will be able to apply for certification from one of the three boards in California.

However, each board has slightly different requirements. It’s important to decide which board you want to get certified by before beginning your coursework. 

The Differences Between Certification Boards in California

Three certification boards in California offer certifications. All three of these organizations have different requirements for becoming certified. 

The California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals 

The California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, or CCAPP, is one of the boards. They’re a member of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC). 

They offer several different certifications, each with different requirements. The Registered Alcohol Drug Technician or RADT  is the most basic level. CCAPP also offers a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor or CADC. 

The CADC certification is available at three levels CADC I, CADC II, and CADC III. The amount of education you need increases with each level of the CADC certification.

Additionally, CCAPP offers two certifications for individuals with master’s degrees. The basic level for individuals with a master’s degree is the Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor or LAADC. You can go on to get the Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor Supervisor or LAADC-S. 

The California Association for Alcohol and Drug Educators 

The California Association for Alcohol and Drug Educators, or CAADE, also has different levels of certification. Their certification is through the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California or ACCBC

One of the biggest differences with this board is the exam you will need to pass. While the other two boards require the IC & RC exam, this board requires a CATC exam. 

One of the great things about going through this board is that they have a well-defined career ladder. You can get certified at a trainee level or a more advanced level. Their Registered Addiction Counselor or RAC is intended for students working towards certification. 

Once students are ready, they can become certified interns or “i” if they’ve passed the CATC exam but are still working towards meeting the minimum requirements for CATC. The CATC is their lowest level of professional certification. CATC stands for Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor. 

This board offers CATC, CATC I, CATC III, CATC IV, and CATC V. Each level requires more education and experience levels. While the highest level of certification through CCAP only has a master’s degree requirement, the CATC V requires a doctoral degree. 

In addition, this board also offers a unique certification called the CATC N. This certification is for registered nurses who meet the AOD studies requirements. This board does require the applicant’s education or degree to be completed at a regionally accredited college or university. 

In addition, this is the only board that does not offer a supervisor certification. 

The California Association of DUI Treatment Programs

The California Association of DUI Treatment Programs, or CADTP, is the third certification body.

With this board, you can register as a Substance Use Disorder Registered Counselor (SUDRC). This is necessary to be compliant with the HSC Section 11833(b)(1) standards.

This standard states that anyone working in a licensed or certified DHCS AOD program, except for licensed individuals, needs to be registered. This is for people training for certification and requires 9 hours of orientation.

The certifications offered by this board are Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor (SUDCC). There are five levels of this certification. These include SUDCC, SUDCC II, SUDCC III, and SUDCC IV.  

Like the CADC, people applying for this need to have passed the IC & RC exam. The amount of education the applicant needs depends on the certification level. The highest level of education required is a master’s degree. 

Additionally, this board offers two supervisory certifications. These certifications are the SUDCC III-CS and SUDCC IV-CS. 

Get the Education You Need for Alcohol and Drug Counseling

There are many different types of alcohol and drug counseling studies certifications available. This can make it difficult to choose the right one.

However, by taking the time to research the different options, you can find a certification that will best suit your needs. Whether you want to work in private practice or a public setting, there is a certification path out there for you.

Are you ready to start getting the hours you need? Learn more about InterCoast Colleges’ Alcohol and Drug Counseling Studies Program today. 

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Rebecca Hullar
Rebecca Hullar
1 year ago

I’m excited to gain more knowledge in this area as it could one day positively affect someone’s life. That would make my life make sense and my testimony just May help someone in need.

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