Substance Abuse Counseling Certification Guide

Substance abuse counselors help their clients to recover from drug and alcohol addiction, providing techniques to support their long-term recovery and prevent relapses. Many of these counselors pursue national certification, even when it's not a requirement for licensure.

In obtaining certification, substance abuse counselors can demonstrate their thorough knowledge of national standards in the field, along with their ability to uphold them.

Benefits of Certification

While certification requirements vary by state, nationally certified substance abuse counselors possess a level of expertise that extends beyond most local standards. Since national certification validates education and work experience, along with an understanding of the professional ethical standards, substance abuse counselors who obtain national certification can advance in the field more easily.

Substance Abuse Counseling Certification Process

The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) oversees the process of national substance abuse counseling certification. The NAADAC Code of Ethics provides a thorough guideline for substance abuse professionals and covers the counseling relationship, confidentiality, professionalism, work in a culturally diverse world, assessment, supervision, online therapy, and research.

Substance abuse counselors seeking national certification from the NAADAC can obtain level I certification with a high school diploma or equivalent. However, candidates must also have a license in counseling, which typically requires a bachelor's or master's degree. Those seeking higher levels need to complete a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited institution. Depending on the level, applicants must show proof of supervised counseling experience and continuing education.

Learn More About Substance Abuse Counseling in Your State

Choose Your State Below


Substance Abuse Counseling Program Guide
FIND A PROGRAM is an advertising-supported site. Clicking in this box will show you programs related to your search from schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.