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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 two 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 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 following links provide Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor education programs or information on other educational programs accepted by CADTP;

Breining Institute: Professional CertificationCalifornia SUD Track

California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators: CAADE Colleges & Universities

Institute of Chemical Dependency StudiesChemical Dependency Studies

California Consortium of Addiction Programs and ProfessionalsCCAPP Academy

 

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

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.

All registrants are 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 in the prior 12 months to achieve certification along with proof from a school and/or employer.

2. Applicants will have five years from the date of being 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 Cettification Exam Application (available at this web site) and pay the examination and certification  fee of $350.
  • If the application is approved, applicants will be notified by e-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.  Paper and pencil test exams are no longer offered. 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.
  • 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 depends on 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. A re-exam application and a re-exam fee of $175 is required for each re-exam. After 4 failed consecutive attempts candidates are required to take remedial action which is at the discretion of the CADTP Certification Board, and must include a number of additional educational hours of study and a review of the Addiction Counseling Competencies - The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice (Technical Assistance Publication Series #21 (TAP 21).

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

Click here to download an outline of all content areas.

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

  • Introduction and Overview,
  • Physiology and Pharmacology of Alcohol and Other Drugs,
  • Law and Ethics,
  • Case Management: Assessment, Orientation, Treatment Planning and Relapse Prevention/Aftercare Planning,
  • Individual, Group and Family Counseling, 
  • Personal and Professional Growth,
  • Supervised Practicum,
  • Supervised Field Work Practicum (Internship)

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

CADTP Certification levels effective 1/1/17:

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 380 hours of formal classroom education related to alcohol and other abuse and have 5 years or (10,000) documented hours 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; (ii) 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), (iii) and completion of forty (40) hours of clinical supervisor education courses. Clinical Supervisor Education Courses are offered online by Quantum Units Education or Breining Institute.

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 provided their certification meet all eligibility criteria specified above for the CAODC certification, i.e. exam equivalency, AOD educational hours, and required hours of actual work experience.
  • 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 i.e. exam equivalency, AOD educational hours, and required hours of actual work experience.
Summary of Certification Activities - YTD 12/31/17 

2017 Stats