Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) License Requirements in Minnesota

Minnesota sets educational standards high for substance abuse counselors. The Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) license requires at least a bachelor's degree; a temporary permit can be had with education at the associate's level.

LADC Licensing Requirements (Standard Method)

The standard pathway for new applicants is to complete a bachelor's degree and 18 semester hours (or the equivalent) in coursework that supports the substance abuse counseling role. The individual will need an 880-hour alcohol and drug counseling practicum. The practicum may or may not be part of the original degree program. The licensing agency notes that it is possible to simultaneously meet practicum requirements and practicum requirements for another discipline. However, this cannot be assumed as requirements differ.

Alcohol and drug coursework must be pursued through accredited institutions, but, again, does not have to be part of the baccalaureate degree program. The licensing agency can accept coursework from any accredited school including those that offer online courses. However, the following components are required:

  • Overview of transdisciplinary substance abuse counseling foundations
  • Pharmacology (as it relates to substance abuse disorder and treatment)
  • Multicultural aspects
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Alcohol and drug counselor core functions

There are 12 core functions. Among them are assessment, treatment planning, case management, and referral.

The applicability of coursework that is taken as part of another behavioral science track (e.g. social work or psychology) can only be determined after review, but the Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy notes that if a Minnesota training program has accepted a course as a substitution for one of its courses, it is generally acceptable for licensing purposes as well. The Board has provided a list of Minnesota training programs.

The licensing agency is able to accept a comprehensive examination or a combination of written and oral examination. Comprehensive examinations are available from two organizations. The International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) exam is the one that has traditionally been used in Minnesota. Minnesota IC&RC candidates typically test through the Minnesota Certification Board ( Some test through the Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorders (

The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) is the national certification/ examination organization that enjoys the next widest acceptance nationwide. The examination must be Level 2 in order to be accepted for licensing purposes in Minnesota.

Prospective licensees are directed to contact the examination agencies directly. The Board website includes contact information.

Education includes three components: a qualifying degree, role-specific coursework, and a practicum completed under the auspices of an educational program. Examination is completed as a separate step; candidates may simultaneously pursue reciprocal certifications, but this is not mandatory. Post-degree experience is not required in most instances.

In some cases, a person may be exempt from licensing but still fall under state staffing mandates.

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Other Licensure Pathways

The Board has described another method of meeting requirements: Instead of providing results from a comprehensive examination, prospective licensee may provide results from an examination that is not considered comprehensive along with 2,000 experience hours; this is in addition to the 880 hour practicum.

Reciprocity is another licensing pathway. An out-of-state substance abuse counselor seeking licensure by reciprocity must have a current license or certification that is in good standing. He or she will also need to demonstrate substantial equivalency. The Board notes that it is possible to achieve reciprocity on the basis of national certification, provided that the requirements were indeed substantially similar (

Optional Certification

Although prospective LADCs often take the IC&RC examination, passing it does not automatically confer reciprocal certification through the IC&RC. The Minnesota Certification Board website includes two separate applications for alcohol and drug counseling: one for those who seek only examination, the other for those who seek certification (

Alcohol and Drug Counselor Reciprocal - Minnesota (ADCR-MN) is the reciprocal certification. Substance abuse counselors who seek this level of certification should be prepared to meet additional requirements, including an extended period of supervised practice. Like many IC&RC boards, Minnesota’s has a stated requirement of 6,000 hours of experience but reduces the requirement for candidates who have qualifying degrees. An individual with a qualifying degree at the bachelor’s level will have a 4,000 hour requirement.

Exempt Workers

State rule describes education/ training requirements for staff of licensed chemical dependency programs, including those who may be exempt from licensing law (

Temporary Authorization

A temporary permit can be granted on the basis of an associate degree/ 64 semester hours. The graduate will need to have completed the alcohol and drug counseling coursework and practicum. However, examination is not required at this stage. A temporary permit holder may use the title Alcohol and Drug Counselor-Trainee (ADC-T).

The License Application Process

Applicants are directed to include copies of their examination results. Official transcripts are required to document coursework, practicum, and degree; these should be requested directly from the source. The application includes a form for documenting which coursework met particular state mandates. In some cases, it will be necessary to include syllabi or course descriptions.

Applications can be downloaded from the ‘requirements’ page of the Board website ( Applications for the temporary permit are found on a separate page (

The applicant will sign a release authorizing background investigation. There is a $295 application fee at the LADC level. (The fee for the temporary permit is $100.)

LADC licenses are renewed every two years.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy ( The Board can be reached by telephone at (612) 548-2177 or by email at ‘bbht.board at’. Governing statutes for substance abuse counselors are found in Chapter 148F of state code (

Additional professional resources include the Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery in Chemical Health ( and the Minnesota Chapter of the Association for Addiction Professionals (

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