Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements in Wyoming:

Licensed Addictions Therapist (LAT), Certified Addictions Practitioner (CAP), Certified Addictions Practitioner Assistant (CAPA)

Wyoming substance abuse counselors are credentialed by the Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board, the same licensing authority that issues social work, marriage and family therapy, and professional counseling licenses. Substance use disorder professionals may be licensed or certified, depending on level. The Board issues the following credentials:

  • Licensed Addictions Therapist (LAT)
  • Certified Addictions Practitioner (CAP)
  • Certified Addictions Practitioner Assistant (CAPA)

The Board also issues a Provisional Addictions Therapist (PAT) credential to individuals who are working toward achieving the highest credential.

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The Substance Abuse Career Ladder

According to the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Wyoming issues credentials corresponding to four categories of the national SAMHSA scope of practice/ career ladder. This is an approximate correspondence. Wyoming, like other states, defines the scope of practice for substance abuse counselors and other health professionals.

Licensed Addictions Therapist is a graduate level credential; Certified Addictions Practitioner is bachelor’s level. CAPs and CAPAs perform clinical services under both administrative and clinical supervision.

Some professionals who pursue the LAT hold dual credentials. They may, for example, also hold professional counseling (LPC) licensure.

Licensed Addictions Therapist Requirements

A prospective addictions therapist will need a graduate degree in chemical dependency or healing arts. The Board notes that graduate degrees in other mental health disciplines are generally accepted as license-qualifying if the individual has 21 semester hours of coursework in required content areas. Coursework is to be distributed in the following manner:

The student will need three semester hours in each of the following: counseling theory, counseling practice, ethics, and addiction counseling practicum. Ten semester hours are to be distributed in the following topics: alcoholism, dugs, and behavior, addictive behavior, addictions assessment, and addictions and special populations. The student will need some instruction in each of the above. However, addictions assessment can be completed as “specialized training”. Additionally, the student will need six contact hours in communicable diseases; this can also be completed as specialized training. Educational requirements are described in Chapter 8 of Rules and Regulations (https://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/wyoming-mental-health-professions-licensing-board/rules-and-regulations).

Provided that the individual does indeed have a qualifying degree, the Board can accept chemical dependency coursework completed at the graduate or undergraduate level.

The prospective addictions therapist must accrue 3,000 hours of post-master supervised practice and training. Of these, at least 1,200 hours must consist of direct client contact. The other hours may include other addiction therapy duties and/ or activities that support client contact (for example, charting, preparation, meetings). Supervised practice requirements can be met while working under a provisional license. The provisional licensee will need to accrue at least 100 hours of individual or triadic clinical supervision under a qualified clinical supervisor.

In most cases, a Wyoming PAT will be licensed on the basis of the NAADAC Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) examination. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) MAC examination is also explicitly approved. However, this is not (as of 2016) a pathway that is open to new candidates. State code allows for the possibility that other examinations will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Certified Addictions Practitioner Requirements

A prospective addictions practitioner must earn a bachelor's degree with a concentration in substance abuse, chemical dependency, or addictionology. The individual will need coursework in specific content areas identified by the Board.

The student will need two semester hours of ethics and three semester hours each of counseling theories, counseling techniques, and addiction counseling practicum. Additionally, the prospective CAP will need education in the following: alcoholism, dugs, and behavior, addictive behavior, addictions assessment, addictions and special populations, and communicable diseases. Educational requirements are described in Chapter 3 of Rules and Regulations.

Again, the Board can accept either graduate or undergraduate coursework.

Certification by the Association of Addiction Professionals at Level II can be taken as evidence that educational requirements have been met. This certification, however, requires considerable experience in the field -- it is not an option for entry-level professionals.

The Wyoming Board can accept either the NAADAC NCAC Level II examination or the IC&RC Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor examination. Again, other examinations may be considered on an individual basis.

Permission is granted after application. A person who has submitted an application may be granted a “grace period” to pass the examination and become certified; this allows for employment.

Certified Addictions Practitioner Assistant Requirements

A prospective addictions practitioner assistant can demonstrate educational requirements in any of three ways. He or she may earn an associate's degree in substance abuse, chemical dependency, or addictions from an accredited institution or accrue 270 hours of education in specific mandated topics.

Certification by NAADAC at Level 1 or certification by the IC&RC as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor can also be accepted as evidence that educational requirements have been met at the CAPA level.

A prospective CAPA will, in most cases, take the NAADAC Level I examination for credentialing purposes.

The Examination and Application Process

Application materials can be downloaded from the website of the Wyoming Mental Health Professions Board (https://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/wyoming-mental-health-professions-licensing-board/professionals-1/all-addiction-therapy-apps).

The Board will require official transcripts to document qualifying degrees and required academic coursework.

Applicants must also provide professional references. An applicant for LAT will provide these when applying for provisional status; additional documents will be required later.

Additional Information

The Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board can provide information about licensing and certification of substance abuse counselors (https://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/wyoming-mental-health-professions-licensing-board/home). The Board can be reached by telephone at (307) 777-3628.

The Wyoming Association of Addiction Professionals is an additional professional resource (http://www.naadac.org/). It is the state NAADAC chapter.

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