Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) Requirements in Indiana

Indiana substance abuse counselors are licensed by a governmental agency: the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, or PLA. There are two levels of licensure: Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC). The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) has noted that Indiana has licensing levels that correspond with the two highest levels of the SAMHSA Consensus Group Career Ladder and Scope of Practice.

Indiana licensing standards are set high. Licensed Addiction Counselor is a bachelor's level profession; Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor is a master's or doctoral level profession.

Substance abuse counselors must hold licensing unless they are exempt. Some may be exempt from licensing but still required to meet requirements of a recognized credentialing agency.

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LAC Educational Requirements

Post-secondary education represents a first step. Degrees are to be granted by institutions accredited by organizations that are recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation or the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. They may also be approved by equivalent organizations located in other nations; international education is to be at a comparable level.

Bachelor's programs may be in addiction counseling or related fields. If the program was not in addiction counseling, the prospective licensee will need to take some supplemental coursework. An LAC applicant will need to demonstrate the following:

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Addiction theory
  • Addiction counseling skills
  • Personality theories
  • Developmental psychology
  • Psychoactive drugs
  • Treatment planning
  • Cultural competency
  • Ethics and professional development
  • Family education

At least 40 semester hours will be devoted to required course content. Additionally, the student will need to complete an internship, practicum, or other field experience that includes at least 350 hours of addiction counseling service provision.

LCAC Educational Requirements

Master's or doctoral level programs may be in addiction counseling, addiction therapy, or other related fields. Again, the school must hold appropriate accreditation.

If the graduate program did not emphasize addiction counseling, some additional coursework will be required. Supplementary coursework is to be completed through an institution that holds a recognized program-level accreditation or approval. Approval or accreditation may be granted by any of the following:

  • Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)
  • International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC)
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)

The prospective LCAC will need to pursue coursework at the graduate level in the following areas:

  • Addiction counseling theories and techniques
  • Clinical problems
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Psychopathology
  • Clinical appraisal and assessment
  • Theory and practice of group addiction counseling
  • Counseling addicted family systems
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Research methods in addictions

The following must be demonstrated through at least one two-semester course each:

  • Legal, ethical, and professional standard issues in addiction counseling (or equivalent approved course)
  • Appraisal and assessment of the individual or interpersonal dysfunction

The student will need a practicum or field experience of at least 700 hours that includes at least 280 hours of face-to-face contact with clients.

License Examination Requirements

Indiana can accept licensing examinations developed by either of two national organizations: NAADAC or the IC&RC. Accepted examinations at the LAC level are the NAADAC Level II exam and the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) exam.

Accepted examinations at the LCAC level are the NAADAC Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) exam and the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) exam.

Experience Requirements

Prospective licensees will need two years of experience. Doctoral level internships may be credited toward the supervised practice requirements.

LAC candidates must have at least 150 hours of supervision. LCAC candidates must have at least 200 hours of supervision. Indiana code sets minimum requirements for both individual and group supervision.

Endorsement of Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselors

Out-of-state substance abuse counselors can be licensed without (further) examination if they have passed a substantially equivalent examination in the past and have been in practice at least three out of the prior five years. In order to be eligible for endorsement, a substance abuse counselor must hold a current license or certification. The licensing agency will require a test of laws and rules.

The License Application Process

Application materials can be downloaded from the Board website (http://b.bsd.dli.mt.gov/license/bsd_boards/lac_board/board_page.asp). Applicants should click on the desired license type (LAC or LCAC).

Supplemental documents (transcripts, examination results, and, if applicable, license verification) are to come directly from the source.

A temporary permit will, in some instances, allow a person to begin work sooner.

Applicants must go through a criminal background check process; this step is completed after application.

Third Party Certification

Prospective substance abuse counselors may wish (or need) to pursue third party certification through the Indiana Association for Addiction Professionals or the Indiana Counselors Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

The Indiana Association for Addiction Professionals offers Addiction Professional In Training (APIT) status to individuals who are at the very early stages of their careers. A person who has completed an addiction-specific education program and a practicum may qualify; he or she could also qualify with the equivalent of a year of experience. The Indiana Certified Addiction Counselor Level I (ICAC I) and Indiana Certified Addiction Counselor Level II (ICAC II) both require experience. ICAC II is a bachelor’s level certification. It is dependent on passing the Level II NAADAC exam; the Level I exam is utilized at lower levels. Information about the various certifications is available from IAAP (http://www.iaapin.org/page-1475493).

The Indiana Counselors Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ICAADA) is the state member of the IC&RC. The organization offers many credentials from the entry-level on (http://icaada.org/credentials-navigation). A person can achieve CADAC (or even CADAC II or CADAC IV certification) without a degree. Human service degrees, however, do shorten the experience period slightly. ICAADA offers other specialized certifications, including two Co-Occurring Disorders Professional certifications; the higher is master’s level.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (http://www.in.gov/pla/3050.htm). Board staff can be reached by telephone at (317) 234-2054 or by email at ‘pla8 at pla.IN.gov’.

The Indiana Association for Addiction Professionals (http://www.iaapin.org) is an additional professional resource.

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