If you're an aspiring substance abuse counselor in the state of New Jersey, you can obtain either a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) certification or Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) licensing. A CADC works with individuals struggling with substance use disorders and their families to put them on the path to recovery.CADCs serve as a support system who develops treatment plans, one on one or group counseling, and guidance throughout their client's recovery process. Here's a step-by-step guide to becoming a CADC in New Jersey.
In order to obtain CADC certification, it is recommended that you must first hold a regionally accredited associate or bachelor's degree that relates to alcohol and drug counseling. However, you can receive the certification with a high school diploma or GED. It is best to have a degree in Human Services, specifically addiction counseling, though it is not an academic requirement.
Once you have a completed degree, students must complete 270 hours of substance abuse counseling coursework. Of those 270 required hours, 54 may be obtained via online courses, while the remaining coursework can be completed in one of the locations listed in the downloadable PDF at the end of this article. If you took social work or substance use-related courses at an accredited university, you can submit your transcript to the NJ Certification Board for an analysis of the courses you took to see if they can count towards your total credits.
There are five specific domains in which you must complete nine courses which are six hours each, accumulating in 54 credits. These five domains are assessment, counseling, case management, client education, and professional responsibility. The courses within these domains help you learn and hone certain counseling skills. These include interviewing, crisis intervention, recovery education, and professional ethics.
Finally, if you have obtained a Bachelor degree in a field related to human services, work in a DMHAS licensed prevention agency, and have a CPS supervisor oversee 4,000 work experience hours, you may qualify for a scholarship to obtain your CADC or LCADC. You can find more details about CADC scholarships at New Jersey Prevention Network.
After you've completed your coursework you must complete a two-year supervised internship, which is equivalent to 3000 hours of supervised work experience. The internship may be paid or voluntary, and can be completed within a two-to-five-year window. Your work experience can also be obtained from more than one agency.
In addition to your internship, you will also need to complete 300 hours of supervised practical training. You'll be supervised displaying the 12 competencies of addiction counseling, which are screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, referral, record keeping, and consultation.
You will also need to attend at least 30 alcohol and drug abuse self-help group meetings. Five of which will be Alcoholics Anonymous, five will be narcotics anonymous, and five will be Al-Anon. The other 15 meetings are up to you and can be in any self-help group that is related to addiction recovery.
Certification and licensing is regulated by the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, State Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners' Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee. Once you've completed your coursework and industry experience, you can apply to take your exams. Examinations consist of two parts, a written and an oral factor. The written exam covers the above 12 competences of addiction counseling and the oral exam covers pre specified questions about them.
After completing your exam, you will submit a notarized application, verifying you completed the steps of this process. If approved, your CADC license must be reviewed every two years. This includes 40 hours of continuing education and submitting an application for recertification.