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Certification as an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CAODC)NCCA accreditedprogramlogo

Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor Certification is required by law for all those who provide counseling services in any program that is licensed or certified by the California Department of Health Care Services or DHCS. (California Code of Regulations, Title 9, Section 13000, et seq., as effective on April 1, 2005). The regulations are available at www.dhcs.ca.gov.

The California Association of DUI Treatment Programs (CADTP) is one of three AOD counselor certifying organizations (CO) recognized by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Compliance Division.   As required in the regulations, all CO's are currently accredited by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), a part of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

CADTP is a member of the California Counselor Certification Organizations (CalCCO, pronounced Cal-ko), a collaborative coalition consisting of the three approved certifying organizations.  Learn more at CalCCO.org

Because the Certified Alcohol & Other Drug Counselor (CAODC) credential is accredited by NCCA/ICE and is recognized by DHCS, those holding this credential are authorized to work in any substance use disorder (SUD) treatment modality. 

CADTP accepts most accredited colleges and post secondary schools who have courses specific to addiction counseling.  The CAODC credential is one of two prefered certification organization of ICDC College, who offers online courses as well as in-class programs in Southern California.

CADTP’s Requirements to become a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CAODC™):

NEW! Click here for a letter from our Certification Board Chair regarding changes effective January 1, 2017

1. Before being employed as a counselor in a DHCS licensed or certified program an applicant must register with and submit a signed code of ethics to CADTP for certification.

  • The fee for registration is $75.
  • All registrants will be required to renew annually and submit an application with the following:
    • A $25 Renewal Fee
    • 3 hours of Ethics Training & 3 Hours of Confidentiality Training, for a total of 6 hours
    • Signed Code of Ethics
    • A declaration of what the registrant has been doing to achieve certification along with proof from a school and/or employer.
  • The downloadable registration form and code of ethics are found on our Certification Forms page.
  • A Prerequesite of a 9 hour orientation course must be submitted with the application.  The course can be found online with either Quantum Units Ed Substance Abuse Counselor Ethics, Confidentiality, & Boundaries Course ($27) or CCAPP Orientation Course ($50).

2. Applicants will have five years from the date of beginning registered as an AOD counselor to complete the following:

  • After providing proof (original transcript or certified copy) of completion of at least 315 hours of formal, in-classroom education, at an accredited college or post secondary school in alcohol and/or other drug education (see Acedemic Content Areas below for required courses), the applicant must take and pass the IC&RC exam, which covers the TAP 21 standards for substance abuse counselors. The exam is administered for CADTP by CCAPP Credentialing. Do not contact CCAPP regarding any CADTP applications.
  • Potential exam takers must be registered with CADTP and complete the exam application (available at this web site) and pay the exam fee $175.
  • If the application is approved, applicants will be notified by mail of how to make exam arrangements (appointment, locations, etc.)  An IC&RC Exam Prep book can be purchased from www.readytotest.com
  • NOTE: The exam is computer-based, offered at multiple locations throughout California – and even other states.  Appointments can be made to take it on Monday through Friday. Results (pass/fail) will be available immediately on completion of the exam. However, official exam results may take a few weeks. The exam is available in English or Spanish.
  • After passing the exam, applicants will be receive their credentials by mail within 30-60 days. This time depends on IC&RC's results verification process. It also dependson the $175 certification fee to having been paid to CADTP by the applicant. This fee is in addition to the Exam fee and is part of the application.
  • There is a 90 day waiting period for those who do not pass the exam and wish to re-apply to take it again. There is also a re-exam fee of $175.

ACADEMIC CONTENT AREAS (for exam applicants starting 1/1/17)

(Minimum hours for each area are 45 (which is equal to 3 semester units.)

Introduction and Overview: This course will examine the history of alcohol and other mood changing drugs in the US; the myths and stereotypes of alcohol/drug use; sociocultural factors that contribute to the use of drugs; and the patterns and progression of alcoholism.

  • Cultural/Lifestyle Consideration; norms and differences; issues specific to special populations (e.g., ethnic minorities, women, youth, elderly, homosexuality, physically disabled or impaired); the nature and extend of alcoholism/drug dependency problems among target populations.
  • Human Behavior: theories of personality and human development; emotional states (e.g., dependency, resentment, guild); theories of human needs and motivation; denial process.
  • Family Dynamics: Recognition of family roles, modalities of treamtne; communication issues; role play.
  • Treatment and Recovery Approaches: Treatment and recovery modalities; (e.g., psychiatric, psychosocial, clinical; Alcoholics Anonymous (and other support groups); Aversion Therapy; medical modalities; behavioral modification, social models, drinking driver programs. (etc.)
  • Program Planning and Client Education: Goals and objectives; program policies and procedures; program strengths and limitations, service delivery planning, client education, lectures.
Physiology and Pharmacology of Alcohol and Other Drugs:


  • Examination of the effects of alcohol and similar legal psychoactive drugs to the body and behavior; damage to the body and behaviors; damage to the brain, liver and other organs.
  • Tolerance, cross tolerance, and synergistic effects.
  • Physiological differences between males and females.
  • Disease model including signs and symptoms, research, neurobiological, AMA definition, Jellinek’s work.
  • Communicable diseases including tuberculousis, HIV and Hepatitis etc.
Law and Ethics:


  • Community prevention and education: the concepts of prevention, community education and outreach; education and prevention models; effectiveness of prevention strategies and training methods; adult education techniques.
  • Outreach: Businesses and clubs that can be used as identification and referral sources.
  • Assessing needs for training and technical assistance.
  • Screening techniques: communication theories and techniques; interviewing techniques; considerations is assessing, client needs, resources, strengths and limitations. Identification of appropriateness and eligibility.
  • Intervention and referral: emphasis on the chronic disease model and recovery process. Continuum of care issues, including employee assistance programs; information and referral; detoxification; various treatment modalities etc.
  • Crisis Counseling Techniques and theories: The signs and symptoms of potential suicide, aggression and other self destructive behaviors.
Case Management: Assessment, Orientation, Treatment Planning and Relapse Prevention/Aftercare Planning:


  • Initial intake and case management: administrative requirements for admission, interpersonal dynamic and potential influence of client behaviors; sings and symptoms of physical disabilities, assessment of potential violence, self harm, activities that bring agencies, resources of people together within a planned framework of action toward the achievement of established goals; including alcohol/drug history, vocational, cultural, educational background, lifestyle, living situation, medical, strengths and weaknesses for the development of a treatment plan.
  • Orientation: General nature and goals of the program; rules governing conduct, infractions that can lead to disciplinary action or discharge, hours of services, costs, clients rights. etc.
  • Treatment/Recovery Planning: the components of a treatment plan; problem solving models and processes; theories and behavioral components of change; techniques used in behavioral contracts; the stages of recovery; identification of problems, ranking problems, realistic and unrealistic treatment goals at various stages of recovery; the value of participant concurrence or expresses disagreement in the process; how to organize client information for presentation to other professionals, case presentation procedures.
  • Reports and Record keeping: Charting the results of the assessments; treatment plans; writing reports, progress notes, discharge summaries, and other client related data. (Practical application is required.)
  • Aftercare and follow up: the role of aftercare in the treatment process; the role and importance of client follow up; relapse dynamics; self help groups and/or support groups. (AA, NA etc.)
  • Consultation and Referral: Alternative resources available to provide treatment and supportive services; roles and functions of individuals in resources agencies and their position in the decision making process; advocacy techniques; assessing the need for consultation and referral; identifying counselor limits and scope of practice.
Individual, Group and Family Counseling:


  • Counseling is a relationship in which the counselor helps the client mobilizes resources to resolve his/her problems and/or to modify attitudes and values.
  • Exploration of a problems, its ramification and examination of attitudes and feeling; consideration of alternative solutions; decision making; therapeutic approaches, (e.g., Reality Therapy, RET; Brief Therapy; Motivational interviewing; etc.)
  • Provisions of services to special populations, co-occurring disorders, people with disabilities, cultural differences, criminal justice etc.
  • Family Counseling: (All family counseling must be relative to substance abuse issues.) Theories of family codependency; techniques for motivation family involvement in the treatment process; techniques of multi family group counseling; working with family therapists, selecting therapists for family work; counselor identification of limitations relating to family issues.
  • Group Counseling: Purpose and function of different types of counseling groups; models of group; group techniques; stages of group; group intervention, group patterns; therapeutic factors in groups; expression, commitment, process groups, didactic training; role of the counselor; group orientation.
  • This course must include practical applications in role play settings.
Personal and Professional Growth:


  • Counselor burnout; signs and symptoms; early warning signs; unique needs of the recovering counselor; prevention techniques.
  • Personal and Professional Growth: recognizing personal strengths, limitations and knowledge to promote professional growth; importance of stress management; relaxation techniques; leisure skills, exercise; proper nutritional; time management etc.
  • The recovering counselor: “two hats” and the limitations and liability. (Include ethical situations.)
  • Professional Growth: Ethics and professional conduct/standards; consultations, counselor support and performance; the skills of a successfulhelper; on going education and training; translation of the code of ethics into professional behavior.
  • Certification requirements: Outline and review of the California Certification Board of Alcohol/Drug Counselors (CCAPP Credentialing) career path. Review the State of California Counselor Regulations and code of conduct.
  • Professional contacts and organizations.
Supervised Practicum:


  • This course consists of (45) classroom hours. The course includes supervision by a qualified instructor and includes direct supervision. The instructor must also be available for consultation while student is completing field work requirements.
Supervised Field Work Practicum (Internship):


  • A minimum requirement of 255 hours of practical experiences performed at an agency approved by the aforementioned instructor. The student must complete all of the 12 Core functions at internship site. Each core function requires a minimum of 21 hours practicum. The application of knowledge and skills in a practice setting is essential to professional counseling. The field work is the means by which students learn to apply and integrate acquired knowledge and values; and to refine skills that are taught in the classroom.

 

Visit the Certification Forms page to get the latest versions of required certification forms.

CADTP Certification levels effective 9/1/11:

CADTP Alcohol/Other Drug Counselor (CAODC)
  • Register with CADTP as an applicant for certification. Registration includes signing a statement that the registrant agrees to abide by CADTP's Code of Ethics. Once registered, applicants have up to five (5) years to complete the remaining requirements.
  • Complete 315 hours of formal classroom education related to alcohol and other drug abuse (see content areas above).
  • Complete one hundred and sixty (160) hours of supervised training as a substance abuse counselor.
  • Complete of two thousand and eighty (2,080) hours of paid or unpaid experience as a substance abuse counselor.
  • Achieve a passing grade on a written examination based on the content areas listed above. An exam test prep guide for the IC&RC exam may be purchased by www.readytotest.com
CADTP Alcohol/Other Drug Counselor - Advanced (CAODC-A)
  • Applicants for the Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor - Advanced (CAODC-A) certification must have completed a minimum of 320 hours of formal classroom education related to alcohol and other abuse and have 5 years of actual work experience in providing alcohol and drug counseling services.
CADTP Alcohol/Other Drug Counselor –Clinical Supervisor (CAODC-CS):
  • Applicants for the Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor – Clinical Supervisor (CAODC-CS) certification are required to, (i) have completed a minimum of 450 hours of formal classroom education related to alcohol and other abuse; or (ii) hold a current advanced Certified Alcohol/Other Drug Counselor (CAODC-A) certificate issued by one of the accredited certifying organizations authorized by the California Department of Health Care Services, (iii) Pass the IC&RC Clinical Supervisor Exam; plus have five (5) years or ten thousand (10,000) hours general clinical experience, two (2) years as a supervisor [which may be concurrently obtained within the required five (5) year, or ten thousand (10,000 general clinical experience), and forty (40) hours of clinical supervisor education courses. Clinical Supervisor Education Courses are offered online by Quantum Units Education.

Reciprocity:

For full details, instructions and forms, visit the reciprocity page

CADTP will grant reciprocity to AOD counselors who meet the following criteria:

  • The counselor must have been previously certified by one of the certifying organizations approved by the Department of Health Care Services, as listed in Chapter 8, Division 4, Title 9, California Code of Regulations.
  • Counselor's whose certification is current (unexpired) may apply for CADTP certification without requiring testing.
  • Counselors who have been previously certified by one of the certifying organizations approved by the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, where their certification has lapsed (expired), can apply for CADTP certification, but will be required to test at whatever certification level they are applying for.
  • Counselors who have been certified or licensed in another state, where their certification or license is current may apply for CADTP certification without requiring testing provided their certification or license meet or exceed CADTP's eligibility criteria.
Summary of Certification Activities - YTD 6/27/13
  2014 As of June 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Applicants tested 19 3 3 9 9 7 12 27
Passing %   33.33% 66.66% 71.40% 66.70% 85.70% 80.09% 70.04%
Number of counselors recertified 209 56 278 126 300 127 197 95
Total number of counselors 598 460 466 441 483 507 866 854