Alcohol and Drug counselor (A&DC) Certification and License Requirements in Connecticut

Connecticut's alcohol and drug counselors (A&DCs) are credentialed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH). They must hold state credentials unless they fall under an exemption category listed in state code. They may be licensed or certified, depending on their level of education.

A candidate will need to complete a specified number of education and training hours, fulfill an experience requirement, and pass an examination. To be credentialed at the highest level, the candidate will need a master’s degree.

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Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements

A prospective CADC will need 360 hours of relevant education. At least 240 must be specifically related to drug and alcohol abuse. The remaining 120 may pertain to other areas of human behavior.

Drug and alcohol coursework must include the following:

  • Assessment and treatment planning
  • Special populations and ethnically diverse groups
  • Pharmacology
  • Ethics

The counselor must have at least 90 hours of counseling theory and techniques. No more than 40 hours of in-service may be credited toward meeting educational requirements. Requirements are delineated in rule and are subject to change.

The prospective CADC must have 300 hours of practical training. This may be included as part of the internship or work experience period. On the supervised practical training form, the supervisor will verify ten hours in each of the following:

  • Screening
  • Intake
  • Orientation
  • Referral
  • Assessment
  • Treatment planning
  • Counseling
  • Report and record keeping
  • Case management
  • Client education
  • Crisis intervention
  • Consultation
  • Examination

The candidate will take the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Examination through the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, Inc. (IC&RC/AODA).

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements

A Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) will need a degree at the master's level or higher. The degree may be in counseling, psychology, marriage and family therapy, psychology or other related field. At least 18 semester hours must be in counseling and related subjects.

The prospective LADC will also need to document 240 hours of education related to drug and alcohol abuse and a total of 360 hours of relevant education. Some candidates will have fulfilled this requirement at the certification level. Some will have fulfilled the 300-hour practical training requirements as well.

Supervised Experience Requirements

An alcohol and drug counselor must have the equivalent of three years of experience. Paid work experience and unpaid internship are both creditable. Generally speaking, 2,000 hours is credited as one year. A master's degree may substitute for one year of experience.

The supervisor may be licensed as a Connecticut alcohol and drug counselor or certified as a clinical supervisor by the Connecticut Certification Board. An individual who holds an equivalent credential in another state can also be considered qualified. A professional in a related field may also act as supervisor. However, a supervisor who is not an alcohol and drug counselor must have completed specialized training in alcohol and drug counseling.

The Application Process

Application forms and supplemental forms can be downloaded from the DPH website ( Applicants will need to verify supervised practical training, substance abuse related education, and work experience/ internship. Supervisor verification forms are to be sent directly to the licensing agency by the person who completes them. (The candidate will fill out the top portion of the form before giving it to the person whose verification is needed.)

An applicant will need to pay a $190 fee. The application form must be notarized. Application materials should be sent to the Department of Public Health in Hartford.

The licensing agency notes that it is not policy to send notification about incomplete applications unless a candidate queries. Candidates may inquire by email.,/p>

Candidates go through the Connecticut Certification Board for testing. Examinations are delivered via computer. There is a testing center in Wallingford ( The Department of Health will notify the Connecticut Certification Board that the candidate has been found eligible. The Department notes that the examination is administered four times annually.

Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselors

An applicant must verify any licenses, certifications, or registrations that he or she has held as an alcohol and drug counselor.

Certification by an IC&RC board may be taken as evidence that certain education and experience requirements have been met. These are marked with an asterisk on the requirements page.


Licenses are renewed on an annual basis. Licensees are responsible for 20 hours of continuing education during each registration period except in cases where they are granted a waiver due to unusual circumstances (

Certification through the Connecticut Certification Board

The Connecticut Certification Board awards certifications that are reciprocal through the IC&RC ( Some licensed professionals pursue adjunct certification in alcohol and drug counseling. Individuals who are interested in certification can attend certification overviews; the Connecticut Certification Board also offers individual coaching sessions.

Additional Information

Information about alcohol and drug counselor certification and licensure is available from the Connecticut Department of Health ( Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification can be reached by email at ‘dph.counselorsteam at’ or by telephone at (860) 509-7603.

The Connecticut Association for Addiction Professionals is an additional resource ( CAAP is the state chapter of the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC); NAADAC is an established national professional association.

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