Tip number one – research and gather as much information as you can about the course of study required to achieve a national certified addiction counselor credential. You should do this because the process is lengthy and time consuming, and professionals who have studied for years are less likely to “forget” to update their credentials when they get a new job. The next tip is to research and collect samples of work from past and current alcohol therapists, rehabilitation counselors, and alcohol abuse specialists. Check out websites such as Paid Survey Central to find national certifications by alcohol specialists.
Tip number two – If you are working with a private agency that is responsible for testing and certification, be prepared to pay for the cost of taking a test and for continuing education credits. Some state agencies offer reimbursements for test costs, but they usually do not offer credits for certification programs. In states where reimbursement is not available, online training and credit card programs may be an alternative. Online courses are recommended for alcohol abuse specialists because it allows them to continue working while learning.
Tip number three – If you are working in a program that offers a higher salary, there is more opportunity to earn a national certification. Some states require addictions counselors to earn an NCCA or National Association for Drug Addiction Certification. There are other certifications offered by groups such as the American Society of Addiction Professionals and the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. These groups will also help people pursue national certification.
Tip number four – If you have additional information about the application process, share it with your new employer. This can help them prepare for the application process and obtain the most effective results. Some states require addictions counselors to complete a specific application, so you should know what paperwork to fill out. Keep in mind that additional information (such as more detailed financial information and diagnostic information) can change your final admission to the program.
Tip number five – You may want to take some time to become familiar with the clinical hours requirement. In most states, the certified addiction counselor must complete at least 500 hours of supervised clinical hours before becoming certified. This is to ensure that professionals are well-trained in addiction treatment. It is not required for most states. So, check with your state’s regulatory agency to find out if clinical hours are a requirement for licensing.
Tip number six – Consider getting some supervised experience. When you apply for a job, they’ll typically ask you to list the work you’ve done in the past. Be sure to list any related casework hours for each related discipline, such as drug intervention, alcohol abuse, sex addiction and gambling. Your application will give them the comprehensive information they need to determine whether you meet the required casework hours or not and get your National Certified Addiction Counselor certification.
These are the basic details to earning your certification. You’ll still need to do the final application, so don’t forget to include all of these other items. As you earn your National Certification, keep in mind that your certification will be transferable, so work experience or related casework hours will help you in getting future jobs. You may be able to take the National Certification exam multiple times to earn multiple degrees or certifications. It’s always good to keep your options open.