If you’ve always wanted to help others, consider the growing field of addiction services. Addiction treatment and prevention agencies across New Jersey employ thousands of dedicated individuals working hard to make a difference in the lives of the people they serve. And more are needed.

So if you are trying to obtain a Certified Alcohol and Drug (CADC) certification you need to know that it can be an arduous process for anyone willing to make the effort, but the upsides to having a CD+ADC certification far outweigh any perceived downsides for both certified personnel and the community you wish to help.

So, are you interested in getting one of these certifications? Here’s your complete guide to CADC certifications. 

What is a CADC certification?

For New Jersey substance abuse counselors, CADC certifications license them to guide and support substance users of all stripes. This can include organizing small groups or one-on-one sessions with those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. Some counselors can even develop specializations, while others are trained to support a more general collection of people seeking substance use assistance. The certification shows you have the education and skills to properly guide those in need toward rehabilitation, inculcating trust in your employers and clients. Once you have become officially certified, you’ll be ready to take up jobs at state-licensed facilities for which you would not have been qualified before.

Types of CADC certifications

Navigating the variations of CADC certifications can add unforeseen hurdles on your road to certification. Once you understand the distinctions between each type of certification, you’ll be well on your way to counseling those who need your help the most.


The first step towards a career in the addiction field depends on whether you’re interested in prevention or treatment. Regardless of your path, you should know that becoming certified or licensed as a professional in your field will help you advance your career and is required for most positions, particularly at New Jersey treatment facilities that are licensed by the Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services.

Professionals interested in working in the alcohol and drug counseling field have the opportunity to become a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), or Chemical Dependency Associate (CDA). These licenses and certifications will help advance your career, and in some cases, are required for positions in the field.

Educational Requirements

Different certifications or licenses require different education levels. An LCADC requires a masters’ degree or doctorate. A CDA and CADC require a high school diploma or GED.

In addition to any degrees or diplomas you may have, each certification or license has required education that is specific to alcohol and drug counseling. In particular, an LCADC or CADC requires 270 hours of specialized coursework. In some instances, appropriate college credit may be used toward LCADC or CADC courses. Please note: Only nine (9) courses can be taken online towards your NJ certification. The courses are offered a few different ways:

270 hours offered as 45 classes that are at least six hours each. The 45 classes cover coursework in five different domains listed below:AssessmentCounselingCase ManagementEducationProfessional


The required number of experience hours varies based upon the credential you are pursuing. All experience hours must be obtained working under the supervision of a qualified clinical supervision meeting the requirements defined in N.J.C.A. 13:34C-6.2. For CADC and LCADC applicants, the supervisor must be pre-approved by the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee. 


The LCADC and CADC require successful completion of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) written and oral exam (www.icrcaoda.org). However, LCADC candidates that hold another New Jersey professional clinical license may not need to take an examination.

For more information and to download the LCADC/CADC application, please visit the Division of Consumer Affairs Alcohol and Drug Committee website at ww.njconsumeraffairs.gov/alcohol/.

Ready to take your first steps toward CADC certification? Check out Wellspring Center for Prevention’s training courses to get started today!

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