Substance Use Disorder Counselor Certification and License Requirements in Utah

Utah substance use disorder counselors are licensed by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensure (DOPL). There are several classifications. A professional who has met all standards, including work experience, will become a Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor (LSUDC) or Licensed Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor (LASUDC); the licenses are distinguished by the level of the academic degree as well as the length of the experience period.

A person who has met all requirements with the exception of work experience may be credentialed as a Certified Substance Use Disorder Counselor (CSUDC) or Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor (CASUDC). One who has not yet met examination requirements can be credentialed at the intern level.

Some requirements met at the substance use disorder counselor level can be used to offset requirements at the advanced level.

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Educational Standards

An advanced substance use disorder counselor must hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree. A substance use disorder counselor may hold an associate’s degree or the equivalent of an associate’s degree; the minimum number of credit hours is 60.

Licensees at either level will need two academic prerequisite courses: psychology and human development. Alcohol and drug counseling coursework is to be taken through an accredited institution. A student at the substance use disorder counselor level will need 200 hours of education that is related to substance abuse counseling; two hours must be in suicide prevention. 300 total hours are required at the advanced level. An individual who was licensed at the SUDC level can carry over 200 hours.

Applicants at the SUDC level must have at least 200 practicum hours. Those at the advanced level will need a total of at least 350 practicum hours.

Supervised Experience Requirements

In order to achieve the Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor credential, a counselor must accrue 2,000 hours of supervised experience. In order to achieve the Licensed Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor credential, a counselor must accrue 4,000 hours. However, a professional who has been licensed at the lower level can carry over 2,000 hours.

The supervisee is to have face-to-face supervision at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours.

Examination Options

Utah DOPL can accept examinations developed by either of two national organizations: the Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) or the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

A candidate at the advanced level may be licensed on the basis of any of three examinations: the NAADAC Level II National Certification Examination, the NAADAC Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) Examination or the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor Examination. A candidate at the lower level can be licensed on the basis of the NAADAC Level I Certification Examination or the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor Examination; the licensing division will also accept any of the examinations that are required at the higher level.

Information about examination options can be found on the website of the Association of Utah Substance Abuse Professionals, a state professional association (http://www.ausap.us/licensing-exams-1.html). The AUSAP website also includes registration information. IC&RC examinations are available on-demand at computerized testing centers; there are four centers in Utah. NAADAC examinations have recently transitioned to on-demand: Utah boasts five sites.

The same examinations that qualify professionals for state licensure can be used to qualify them for national certification once any additional requirements have been met. The Association of Utah Substance Abuse Professionals notes that a person should keep this in mind when selecting examinations. A person who chooses to take a particular examination for licensing purposes would need to take a second examination if he or she later opted for certification through the other organization.

The NAADAC Master Addiction Counselor certification and the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor certifications are both graduate level but requirements differ. Information about the various voluntary certifications can be found on the ‘national credentialing’ page of the AUSAP website (http://www.ausap.us/credentialing.html). AUSAP can be contacted by telephone at (801)558-3622 or by email at ‘ausap at ausap.org’.

An individual who has not yet completed the examination process can be issued a Certified Substance Use Disorder Counselor Intern or Certified Advanced Substance Use Disorder Intern credential. However, an intern credential is valid for no more than six months.

The License Application Process

Prospective licensees can apply online or download applications from the DOPL website (http://www.dopl.utah.gov/licensing/substance_use_disorder_counseling.html). There are separate application packets for different categories of licensure or certification.

Official transcripts may be requested directly from the institution or enclosed in their original sealed envelopes.

Applicants for first-time licensing will need to have their experience verified by a supervisor. Endorsement applicants may have an employer fill out their experience verification.

Applicants with questions may email ‘doplbureau3 at utah.gov’.

Licenses are renewed biennially. Substance use disorder counselors are expected to complete 40 hours of continuing education during each two-year period.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (http://www.dopl.utah.gov/licensing/substance_use_disorder_counseling.html).

The Association of Utah Substance Abuse Professionals is an additional professional resource (http://www.ausap.org/). In Utah, substance abuse counselors who seek adjunct credentials through either major national organization (the IC&RC or NAADAC) go through AUSAP.

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