How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Arkansas

Aspiring substance abuse counselors in Arkansas may take several paths toward professional licensure or certification. The state offers licensure through the Arkansas State Board of Examiners of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (SBEADAC) and certification through the Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board (ASACB). All credentialing programs follow the standards of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Students can achieve various levels of substance abuse counselor certification in Arkansas by earning an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree and meeting field training requirements. Candidates must also pass an exam given by the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) or the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) in the student's desired area of practice.

Arkansas offers lucrative prospects for jobs in a fast-growing field. Read on for details on how to become a substance abuse counselor in Arkansas.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Arkansas

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Arkansas here

Education and Experience Requirements

Education and experience account for the majority of counselor certification requirements in Arkansas. Each applicant needs an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree in a field of human services or behavioral science and between 2,000 and 6,000 hours of field experience. Arkansas awards associate, licensed, and advanced substance abuse counseling credentials.

Academic Requirements

A student with a master's degree from an accredited university in health, behavioral sciences, or a related field can apply to become a licensed alcohol and drug abuse counselor (LADAC) in Arkansas through SBEADAC. Bachelor's degree holders qualify for licensed associate alcoholism and drug abuse counselor (LAADAC) credentials, and SBEADAC also awards applicants who hold a high school diploma or equivalent with an alcoholism and drug abuse technician (CADAT) designation.

Applicants pursuing standard alcohol drug counselor (ADC) credentials through ASACB may apply degree coursework toward the 6,000-hour certification requirement. Specifically, an associate degree counts for 1,000 hours, a bachelor's degree counts for 2,000 hours, and a master's degree counts for 4,000 hours.

Master's degree holders qualify for advanced alcohol drug counselor (AADC) certification, provided they complete additional hours in co-occurring disorders ethics. Like SBEADAC requirements, all ASACB certification candidates must pursue an approved, accredited program in human services or behavioral sciences, or a related field.

Interested in pursuing an education in substance abuse counseling? See the following pages to learn about counseling academic programs by level:

Substance Abuse Counseling Coursework

SBEADAC requires each aspiring licensed substance abuse counselor in Arkansas to complete a minimum of 270 course hours in approved education directly related to drug abuse practice, theory, research, and subjects, including at least six credits in ethics training. Each student must also sign and abide by a code of ethics and submit a notarized "statement of agreement" with their application.

For initial alcohol drug counselor certification in Arkansas, an ASACB applicant must complete 300 hours in the performance domains outlined by IC&RC/AODA, including six in ethics. A candidate seeking an advanced certified alcohol drug counselor credential satisfies the majority of education requirements by holding a master's degree and only needs to complete 180 hours in the IC&RC/AODA performance domains, including six in co-occurring disorders ethics.

Practicum and Supervised Practice

Substance abuse counselor practicum requirements vary depending on a candidate's desired license or certificate.

The ASACB and SBEADAC require each ADC applicant to complete three years or 6,000 hours of supervised work experience. Options include paid or unpaid volunteer experience under a certified clinical supervisor. Candidates must provide direct counseling services aligned with the IC&RC/AODA performance domains to clients with a diagnosis of alcohol or drug dependency.

An AADC candidate must complete one year or 2,000 hours of supervised work experience. Additionally, all ASACB certification applicants must complete a 300-hour supervised practicum, incorporating at least 10 hours in each of the IC&RC/AODA Twelve Core Functions.

The Exam and Application Process for Arkansas Substance Abuse Counselors

The process of becoming a substance abuse counselor in Arkansas combines education, experience, and exam requirements. The path to pursuing licensure or certification in substance abuse differs from other counseling specializations. In Arkansas, candidates may pursue associate-level or standard licensure in alcoholism and drug abuse counseling through SBEADAC or standard/advanced certification through the ASACB.

becoming a substance abuse counselor in Arkansas combines education, experience, and exam requirements

Beyond education and experience, certification candidates must pass either the ADC or AADC credentialing exams through IC&RC. Required application materials include official transcripts, a signed code of ethics, documentation of practicum training hours, and a testing fee of $250.

Licensure candidates must pass a written exam administered by SBEADAC. Each student who is at least 21 years old and seeking an LADAC or LAADAC license must submit a valid driver's license or birth certificate, a notarized "statement of agreement," a signed code of ethics, three letters of recommendation, and a license fee of $265.

Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselor Candidates

Arkansas does not maintain reciprocity agreements to grant automatic certification to out-of-state substance abuse counselors. However, SBEADAC and the ASACB consider the qualifications of alcohol drug counselors who hold licensure or certifications in other states on a case-by-case basis.

Substance Abuse Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

While other criteria for licenses and certificates issued through the ASACB and SBEADAC will vary, renewal requirements are similar for LADAC, LAADAC, ADC, and AADC professionals.

SBEADAC requires practicing LADACs and LAADACs to pay a $250 or $200 renewal fee respectively. Counselors licensed by the SBEADAC the ASACB must complete a minimum of 40 continuing education hours over each two-year licensure/certification cycle.

Counselors licensed by the SBEADAC the ASACB must complete a minimum of 40 continuing education hours over each two-year cycle

Resources and Organizations for Substance Abuse Counselors in Arkansas

Students seeking more information about how to become substance abuse counselors in Arkansas should consider the state's many organizations focused on professional development. The two credentialing agencies in Arkansas and their affiliates can offer aspiring substance abuse counselors information regarding career research, internship opportunities, and continuing education options. Read on for several relevant state resources and organizations.

  • Arkansas Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors As the primary organization for alcohol and drug counselors in the state, this association offers resources like workshops, continuing education opportunities, and job openings in Arkansas.
  • Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board One of Arkansas' credentialing agencies for substance abuse counselors, ASACB offers information for aspiring counselors at all levels of study on its website. Candidates can access additional tools for employment options, ethics training, and education opportunities.
  • Economic Research Institute A useful tool for any professional, ERI outlines the skills and education required of substance abuse counselors in Arkansas. Students can also research the cost of living in Arkansas and compare their salary potential to other states.
  • HumanServicesEDU.org As a comprehensive guide to occupations in the human services field, this site enables students to explore programs, certification, and licensure in substance abuse counseling, psychology, and social work in Arkansas.
  • iHireMentalHealth This site features job openings and offers career services specific to mental health professionals in Arkansas. Here, students can learn about the state's top hiring companies and get career advice. Members enjoy access to exclusive job posts, ad-free searches, and faster response times.
  • The State of Arkansas Board of Examiners of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors As the credentialing board for licensed substance abuse counselors in Arkansas, SBEADAC provides up-to-date requirements for licensure candidates. Students can also explore continuing education options, renewal obligations, and ethics information.

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