How do I Become an Addictions Counselor?Video Overview Click here to sign up for unlimited, self-study online training
Don't worry. You won't be all alone.
- We have online office hours each Wednesday at 4pm EST for people enrolled in the track.
- Once a month we have a 2 hour review session for people preparing to take the addiction counselor certification/licensure exam.
- In addition, students get a link to the instructors' personal chat pages to receive one-on-one feedback. We want to make sure you succeed, pass your licensure exam and
- substance abuse counselor
- drug and alcohol counselor
- addiction counselor
- certified addictions professional
- chemical dependency counselor
- co-occurring disorders counselor
What Will I Learn?Many people have significant recovery or work experience, and do not need an instructor to walk them through the material. As part of our NAADAC approved training courses, AllCEUs has an online addictions certification track that you can take on your own time, at your own pace. Our courses all have a video, texts and reading materials for those who hate video, learning activities and a quiz to gauge your level of understanding of the material. We have all of the addiction counselor training courses required by most states for you to meet your academic training requirements. Our instructors are available during normal business hours to answer any academic questions you may have. You can also submit a support ticket and it will be forwarded to the appropriate instructor for a response.Below you will find the content breakdown of our primary certification track. The actual courses may have slightly different names, but they cover the below content and have been written to align with TAP 21: Counseling Competencies for Addictions Professionals. The general certification track provides 270 contact hours/ 497 total hours of academic training among each of the professional practice dimensions:
Clinical Evaluation – 20 hours in assessment; 15 hours in screening, 4 Hours in Patient Placement Treatment Planning – 20 hours Referral and Service Coordination – 20 hours Counseling – 65 hours Client, Family, and Community Education – 45 hours Documentation – 15 hours Professional and Ethical Responsibilities – 30 hours Supervision – 15 hours Understanding Addiction/Treatment Knowledge – 100 hours Application to Practice/Professional Readiness – 80 hours HIV/AIDS – 10 hours Domestic Violence – 5 hoursCurrently, the following states require persons in addictions certification programs to complete at least 270 hours of addictions training:
Once you become certified, you will have to get continuing education hours also called CEUs. Online counseling continuing education courses in addictions/substance abuse and mental health are convenient alternatives to help you get your CEUs fast and for less than going to a traditional seminar.
- Montana (specific requirements)
- New Hampshire (specific Requirements)
- New Mexico (Specific requirements
- North Carolina
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION1. Understand a variety of models and theories of addiction and other problems related to substance use.2. Recognize the social, political, economic, and cultural context within which addiction and substance abuse exist, including risk and resiliency factors that characterize individuals and groups and their living environments.3. Describe the behavioral, psychological, physical health, and social effects of psychoactive substances on the user and significant others.4. Recognize the potential for substance use disorders to mimic a variety of medical and psychological disorders and the potential for medical and psychological disorders to co-exist with addiction and substance abuse.Culture of Addiction (2 Hours)Triggers and Cravings (2 Hours)Theories of Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders (4 Hours)Risk and Protective Factors (4 Hours)Pharmacology (4 Hours)Core Competencies for Working with People with Co-Occurring Disorders (2 Hours)Patterns of Addiction and Sociological Impact (4 Hours)Examining Depression, Anxiety and Addiction Through a Developmental Lens (4 Hours)Differential Diagnosis and Examination of Common Co-Occurring Disorders (4 Hours)
TREATMENT KNOWLEDGE1. Describe the philosophies, practices, policies, and outcomes of the most generally accepted and scientifically supported models of treatment, recovery, relapse prevention, and continuing care for addiction and other substance-related problems.2. Recognize the importance of family, social networks, and community systems in the treatment and recovery process.3. Understand the importance of research and outcome data and their application in clinical practice.4. Understand the value of an interdisciplinary approach to addiction treatment.Pharmacotherapy and Self Help Groups (8 Hours)Models of Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders (4 Hours)Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment:TIP 42 (30 Hours)
APPLICATION TO PRACTICE1. Understand the established diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders and describe treatment modalities and placement criteria within the continuum of care.2. Describe a variety of helping strategies for reducing the negative effects of substance use, abuse, and dependence.3. Tailor helping strategies and treatment modalities to the client's stage of dependence, change, or recovery.4. Provide treatment services appropriate to the personal and cultural identity and language of the client.5. Adapt practice to the range of treatment settings and modalities.6. Be familiar with medical and pharmacological resources in the treatment of substance use disorders.7. Recognize that crisis may indicate an underlying substance use disorder and may be a window of opportunity for change.Mental Health and Mental Illness Fundamentals (8 Hours) Identification and Treatment of Mental Disorders (6 Hours) Depression and Bipolar Disorder (2 Hours) PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder (9 Hours) Screening for Crisis in Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders (4 Hours)
PROFESSIONAL READINESS1. Understand diverse cultures and incorporate the relevant needs of culturally diverse groups, as well as people with disabilities, into clinical practice.2. Understand the importance of self-awareness in one's personal, professional, and cultural life.3. Understand the addiction professional's obligations to adhere to ethical and behavioral standards of conduct in the helping relationship.4. Understand the importance of ongoing supervision and continuing education in the delivery of client services.5. Understand the obligation of the addiction professional to participate in prevention as well as treatment.Multicultural Issues in Counseling (20 Hours)Ethics and Professional Identity (3 Hours)
CLINICAL EVALUATIONSCREENING1. Establish rapport, including management of crisis situation and determination of need for additional professional assistance.2. Gather data systematically from the client and other available collateral sources, using screening instruments and other methods that are sensitive to age, developmental level, culture, and gender. At a minimum, data should include current and historic substance use; health, mental health, and substance related treatment history; mental status; and current social, environmental, and/or economic constraints.3. Screen for psychoactive substance toxicity, intoxication, and withdrawal symptoms; aggression or danger to others; potential for self-inflicted harm or suicide; and coexisting mental health problems.4. Assist the client in identifying the impact of substance use on his or her current life problems and the effects of continued harmful use or abuse.5. Determine the client's readiness for treatment and change as well as the needs of others involved in the current situation.6. Review the treatment options that are appropriate for the client's needs, characteristics, goals, and financial resources.7. Apply accepted criteria for diagnosis of substance use disorders in making treatment recommendations.8. Construct with client and appropriate others an initial action plan based on client needs, preferences, and resources available.9. Based on initial action plan, take specific steps to initiate an admission or referral and ensure follow-through.Screening for Co-Occurring Disorders (4 Hours)Brief Interventions and Screening (4 Hours)Motivational Interviewing (4 Hours)Understanding Readiness for Change (4 Hours)
ASSESSMENT1. Select and use a comprehensive assessment process that is sensitive to age, gender, racial and ethnic cultural issues, and disabilities2. Analyze and interpret the data to determine treatment recommendations.3. Seek appropriate supervision and consultation.4. Document assessment findings and treatment recommendations. Overview of the Assessment Process for Co-Occurring Disorders (4 Hours)DSM V (8 Hours)Effective Use of Patient Placement Criteria (4 Hours)Assessment Tools: Selection, Administration and Interpretation (4 Hours)
TREATMENT PLANNINGA collaborative process through which the counselor and client develop desired treatment outcomes and identify the strategies for achieving them.At a minimum the treatment plan addresses the identified substance use disorder(s), as well as issues related to treatment progress, including relationships with family and significant others, employment, education, spirituality, health concerns, and legal needs.1. Obtain and interpret all relevant assessment information.2. Explain assessment findings to the client and significant others involved in potential treatment.3. Provide the client and significant others with clarification and further information as needed. 4. Examine treatment implications in collaboration with the client and significant others.5. Confirm the readiness of the client and significant others to participate in treatment.6. Prioritize client needs in the order they will be addressed.7. Formulate mutually agreed upon and measurable treatment outcome statements for each need.8. Identify appropriate strategies for each outcome.9. Coordinate treatment activities and community resources with prioritized client needs in a manner consistent with the client's diagnosis and existing placement criteria.10. Develop with the client a mutually acceptable plan of action and method for monitoring and evaluating progress. 11. Inform client of confidentiality rights, program procedures that safeguard them, and the exceptions imposed by regulations.12. Reassess the treatment plan at regular intervals and/or when indicated by changing circumstances.Writing Effective Integrated Summaries for Treatment Planning (4 Hours)Orientation (2 Hours)Understanding the Role of Client Strengths, Needs, Abilities and Preferences (4 Hours)Behavior Modification and Treatment Planning (2 Hours)Treatment Planning and Goal Setting (8 Hours)
Case Management, Referral and Service Coordination
ReferralThe process of facilitating the client's utilization of available support systems and community resources to meet needs identified in clinical evaluation and/or treatment planning.1. Establish and maintain relations with civic groups, agencies, other professionals, governmental entities, and the community-at-large to ensure appropriate referrals, identify service gaps, expand community resources, and help to address unmet needs.2. Continuously assess and evaluate referral resources to determine their appropriateness.3. Differentiate between situations in which it is most appropriate for the client to self-refer to a resource and instances requiring counselor referral.4. Arrange referrals to other professionals, agencies, community programs, or other appropriate resources to meet client needs.5. Explain in clear and specific language the necessity for and process of referral to increase the likelihood of client understanding and follow through.6. Exchange relevant information with the agency or professional to whom the referral is being made in a manner consistent with confidentiality regulations and generally accepted professional standards of care.7. Evaluate the outcome of the referral.
SERVICE COORDINATIONThe administrative, clinical, and evaluative activities that bring the client, treatment services, community agencies, and other resources together to focus on issues and needs identified in the treatment plan.Service coordination, which includes case management and client advocacy, establishes a framework of action for the client to achieve specified goals. It involves collaboration with the client and significant others, coordination of treatment and referral services, liaison activities with community resources and managed care systems, client advocacy, and ongoing evaluation of treatment progress and client needs.
A. IMPLEMENTING THE TREATMENT PLAN1. Initiate collaboration with referral source.2. Obtain, review, and interpret all relevant screening, assessment, and initial treatment-planning information.3. Confirm the client's eligibility for admission and continued readiness for treatment and change.4. Complete necessary administrative procedures for admission to treatment.5. Establish accurate treatment and recovery expectations with the client and involved significant others6. Coordinate all treatment activities with services provided to the client by other resources.
B. CONSULTING1. Summarize client's personal and cultural background, treatment plan, recovery progress, and problems inhibiting progress for purpose of assuring quality of care, gaining feedback, and planning changes in the course of treatment.2. Understand terminology, procedures, and roles of other disciplines related to the treatment of substance use disorders.3. Contribute as part of a multidisciplinary treatment team.4. Apply confidentiality regulations appropriately.5. Demonstrate respect and non-judgmental attitudes toward clients in all contacts with community professionals and agencies.
C. CONTINUING ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT PLANNING1. Maintain ongoing contact with client and involved significant others to ensure adherence to the treatment plan.2. Understand and recognize stages of change and other signs of treatment progress.3. Assess treatment and recovery progress and, in consultation with the client and significant others, make appropriate changes to the treatment plan to ensure progress toward treatment goals.4. Describe and document treatment process, progress, and outcome.5. Use accepted treatment outcome measures.6. Conduct continuing care, relapse prevention, and discharge planning with the client and involved significant others.7. Document service coordination activities throughout the continuum of care.8. Apply placement, continued stay, and discharge criteria for each modality on the continuum of care.Case Management, Referral and Service Coordination (20 Hours)The Referral Process--Identification, Initiation and Follow Up (8 Hours)The Recovery Oriented System of Care (8 Hours)
Counseling: Individual, Group and FamiliesA collaborative process that facilitates the client's progress toward mutually determined treatment goals and objectives. Counseling includes methods that are sensitive to individual client characteristics and to the influence of significant others, as well as the client's cultural and social context. Competence in counseling is built upon an understanding of, appreciation of, and ability to appropriately use the contributions of various addiction counseling models as they apply to modalities of care for individuals, groups, families, couples, and significant others.
A. Individual Counseling1. Establish a helping relationship with the client characterized by warmth, respect, genuineness, concreteness, and empathy.2. Facilitate the client's engagement in the treatment and recovery process.3. Work with the client to establish realistic, achievable goals consistent with achieving and maintaining recovery.4. Promote client knowledge, skills, and attitudes that contribute to a positive change in substance use behaviors.5. Encourage and reinforce client actions determined to be beneficial in progressing toward treatment goals.6. Work appropriately with the client to recognize and discourage all behaviors inconsistent with progress toward treatment goals.7. Recognize how, when, and why to involve the client's significant others in enhancing or supporting the treatment plan.8. Promote client knowledge, skills, and attitudes consistent with the maintenance of health and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), tuberculosis (TB), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other infectious diseases.9. Facilitate the development of basic and life skills associated with recovery.10. Adapt counseling strategies to the individualcharacteristics of the client, including but not limited to, disability, gender, sexual orientation, developmental level, culture, ethnicity, age, and health status.11. Make constructive therapeutic responses when client's behavior is inconsistent with stated recovery goals.12. Apply crisis management skills.13. Facilitate the client's identification, selection, and practice of strategies that help sustain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for maintaining treatment progress and preventing relapse.
B. GROUP COUNSELING1. Describe, select, and appropriately use strategies from accepted and culturally appropriate models for group counseling with clients with substance use disorders.2. Carry out the actions necessary to form a group, including, but not limited to: determining group type, purpose, size, and leadership; recruiting and selecting members; establishing group goals and clarifying behavioral ground rules for participating; identifying outcomes; and determining criteria and methods for termination or graduation from the group.3. Facilitate the entry of new members and the transition of exiting members.4. Facilitate group growth within the established ground rules and movement toward group and individual goals by using methods consistent with group type.5. Understand the concepts of process and content, and shift the focus of the group when such an intervention will help the group move toward its goals.6. Describe and summarize client behavior within the group for the purpose of documenting the client's progress and identifying needs and issues that may require a modification in the treatment plan.
C. COUNSELING FAMILIES, COUPLES, AND SIGNIFICANT OTHERS1. Understand the characteristics and dynamics of families, couples, and significant others affected by substance use.2. Be familiar with and appropriately use models of diagnosis and intervention for families, couples, and significant others, including extended, kinship, or tribal family structures.3. Facilitate the engagement of selected members of the family, couple, or significant others in the treatment and recovery process.4. Assist families, couples, and significant others to understand the interaction between the system and substance use behaviors.5. Assist families, couples, and significant others to adopt strategies and behaviors that sustain recovery and maintain healthy relationships.Motivational Interviewing: TIP 35 (15 Hours)Brief Interventions TIP 34 (2o Hours)Family Therapy and Substance Abuse TIP 39 (30 Hours)Critical Incident Stress Management (8 Hours)Group Counseling: TIP 41 (20 Hours)
CLIENT, FAMILY, AND COMMUNITY EDUCATIONThe process of providing clients, families, significant others, and community groups with information on risks related to psychoactive substance use, as well as available prevention, treatment and recovery resources.1. Provide culturally relevant formal and informal education programs that raise awareness and support substance abuse prevention and/or the recovery process.2. Describe factors that increase the likelihood for an individual, community, or group to be at-risk for, or resilient to, psychoactive substance use disorders.3. Sensitize others to issues of cultural identity, ethnic background, age, and gender in prevention, treatment, and recovery.4. Describe warning signs, symptoms, and the course of substance use disorders.5. Describe how substance use disorders affect families and concerned others.6. Describe the continuum of care and resources available to family and concerned others.7. Describe principles and philosophy of prevention, treatment, and recovery.8. Understand and describe the health and behavior problems related to substance use, including transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS, TB, STDs, and other infectious diseases.9. Teach life skills, including but not limited to, stress management, relaxation, communication, assertiveness, and refusal skills.Domestic and Partner Violence (10 Hours)Substance Abuse Treatment and Domestic Violence (4 Hours)Child and Elder Abuse and Neglect (20 Hours)Principles of Adult Education (2 Hours)Adult Education and Learning Styles (6 Hours)
DOCUMENTATIONThe recording of the screening and intake process, assessment, treatment plan, clinical reports, clinical progress notes, discharge summaries, and other client-related data.1. Demonstrate knowledge of accepted principles of client record management.2. Protect client rights to privacy and confidentiality in the preparation and handling of records, especially in relation to the communication of client information with third parties.3. Prepare accurate and concise screening, intake, and assessment reports.4. Record treatment and continuing care plans that are consistent with agency standards and comply with applicable administrative rules.5. Record progress of client in relation to treatment goals and objectives.6. Prepare accurate and concise discharge summaries.7. Document treatment outcome, using accepted methods and instruments.Documentation (15 Hours)
PROFESSIONAL AND ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIESThe obligations of an addiction counselor to adhere to accepted ethical and behavioral standards of conduct and continuing professional development.1. Adhere to established professional codes of ethics that define the professional context within which the counselor works, in order to maintain professional standards and safeguard the client.2. Adhere to Federal and State laws and agency regulations regarding the treatment of substance use disorders.3. Interpret and apply information from current counseling and psychoactive substance use research literature to improve client care and enhance professional growth.4. Recognize the importance of individual differences that influence client behavior and apply this understanding to clinical practice.5. Utilize a range of supervisory options to process personal feelings and concerns about clients.6. Conduct self-evaluations of professional performance applying ethical, legal, and professional standards to enhance self-awareness and performance.7. Obtain appropriate continuing professional education.8. Participate in ongoing supervision and consultation.9. Develop and utilize strategies to maintain one's own physical and mental health.Ethics, Legal and Professional Identity (30 Hours)
HIV, Domestic Violence and Other Mandatories
Special TopicsCognitive Behavioral Therapy (2 Hours)Relapse Prevention (10 Hours)TIP 54 Treating Substance Abusing Patients with Chronic Pain (2 Hours)Overview of Sex and Porn Addiction (4 Hours)Suicide Assessment and Crisis Intervention (8 Hours)Substance Abuse Treatment with AdolescentsGuidelines for Practice with Older AdultsElder Care Special Topics in Addictions Treatment