Substance Abuse Counselor Certification Requirements in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Mental Health determines what credentials are necessary to provide different types of service in certified alcohol and drug abuse facilities. Individual co-dependency counseling for children, for example, can be provided only by experienced master's level licensees or graduates. Community support services are typically provided by baccalaureate level practitioners or intern or practicum students.

Facilities must employ adequate "qualified substance abuse professionals". A qualified substance abuse professional may be an experienced mental health professional or physician or a person who holds certification or registration by the Missouri Credentialing Board, or MCB. The MCB is sometimes referred to as the Missouri Substance Abuse Counselors Certification Board; it is a third party organization with ties to an international reciprocal organization, the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium.

Professionals can be considered qualified if they are on a plan to meet requirements and are within the allowable timeframe.

State Employment Options

Prospective substance abuse professionals may wish to visit the Division of Personnel to view requirements for “substance abuse counselor” and “substance abuse counselor assistant” positions (https://oa.mo.gov/personnel/classification-specifications/s). There are multiple pathways. A person may qualify as a Substance Abuse Counselor II with any of five certifications. It is also possible to meet minimum requirements through a combination of college education and experience or through education alone; graduate education can substitute for experience. Experience at the Counselor I level is yet another pathway.

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Antioch University offers a new Online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that is in the CACREP accreditation process and mirrors the CACREP-accredited program delivered on campus. Specializations in: Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling (SAAC) and Counseling Military Service Personnel and their Families (MSPF). Antioch is a private, not-for-profit university. (*This program is NOT available to students in CA, IL, IA, KS, MO, NH, ND)

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Achieving Certification through the Missouri Credentialing Board

The Missouri Credentialing Board offers alcohol and drug counseling certifications at many levels. Some certifications are reciprocal through other participating IC&RC boards; others are state-specific. At the highest level, a master’s degree is required. While not mandatory, holding an academic degree in a related discipline can facilitate the certification process at the lower levels as well. The following degrees are considered applicable:

  • Applied behavioral science
  • Art therapy
  • Chemical dependency
  • Counseling
  • Criminal justice
  • Education
  • Family studies
  • Human services
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Sociology

Degrees must be granted by institutions that appear in a national directory of accredited programs (http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation). In some cases, a person may have a degree that qualifies even though it goes by a different title than those listed in MCB materials. Individuals who believe they have applicable degrees are directed to contact the Credentialing Board.

One year certificate programs are recognized at some certification levels; a certificate program must be specifically in addictions.

MCB Certifications

The Recognized Associate Substance Abuse Counselor I (RASAC I) is an entry-level credential (https://missouricb.com/credentials/). It can be attained with as little as a high school diploma or GED. A person who has not completed a qualifying associate degree program or a certificate program in addiction studies will need to demonstrate 160 hours of work experience. To be credited, experience must have been accrued at some point during the ten years prior to application. The worker will, in either instance, need a mentoring and clinical supervision agreement. There is an ethics training requirement; this course must be completed live.

A person with a qualifying bachelor’s degree can enter the field at the RASAC II level. A RASAC II also works under a formal mentoring and supervision agreement. A person with education below the bachelor’s level needs education, practicum, and experience. With an associate’s degree, the experience requirement is 1,000 hours; with a high school diploma, it is 2,000. The education requirement is 90 hours in either instance. The supervised practicum requirement is 300 hours.

In order to achieve the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) certification, one will need to meet alcohol and drug counseling education and experience requirements that are set a little higher – this is the case for all candidates, not just those without qualifying degrees. CADC experience requirements range from 1,000 hours (with a qualifying master's degree) to 4,000 hours (with neither a qualifying degree nor an addiction counseling certificate). In all cases, ADC applicants will need 180 hours of focused education and 300 hours of supervised practicum. They will need to provide a competency rating from a qualified supervisor. A list of qualified supervisors appears on the MCB website. At this level, a candidate must take the IC&RC International Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) Examination.

The Certified Reciprocal Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CRADC) credential places education and experience standards at the national standard. At this level, degrees are recognized at the associate's level and above. Experience requirements range from 2,000 to 6,000 hours, depending on educational level. Education and supervised practicum are each a minimum 300 hours. The required examination is again the ADC; upgrade applicants are not required to retake it.

The Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CRAADC) certification differs from the above credentials in that it is master’s only. The candidate will need just 180 contact hours of education that offers preparation for the job role; this is the equivalent of 12 semester hours. The practicum requirement is again 300 hours. The work experience requirement is 2,000 hours. Candidates at this level take a higher examination: the IC&RC International Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) exam.

The Missouri Certification Board also offers specialized certifications such as Department of Transportation Substance Abuse Professional.

Additional Information

Information about Missouri alcohol and drug counseling is available from the Missouri Credentialing Board (http://www.missouricb.com/). The MCB can be reached by telephone at (573) 616-2300 or ‘help at missouricb.com’.

Information about Missouri’s certified substance abuse facilities is available from the Missouri Department of Mental Health (http://dmh.mo.gov/mentalillness/provider/certification.html).

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