Substance Abuse Counselor License Requirements in Nevada

Nevada has mandatory licensing for substance abuse counselors. Full licensing or certification is dependent on attaining a college degree. A person may be credentialed at the intern level while completing requirements.

There are three levels of full or permanent alcohol and drug counselor credentialing: Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC). They are distinguished largely by degree level and coursework. LADC and LCADC are both master's level credentials.

Major requirements include supervised experience and examination. An applicant must also meet general eligibility requirements. The minimum age is 21. Citizenship or work eligibility must be demonstrated. Recent issued with substance abuse or problem gambling are disqualifying.

Select a Nevada Substance Abuse Counselor topic...

Educational Requirements for CADC, LADC, and LCADC

A prospective alcohol and drug counselor – CADC, LADC, or LCADC – will complete a degree in a social science field. The program may or may not be in addictions. By completing sufficient coursework in addictions, though, the person may reduce his or her experience requirement.

Social science field is defined to mean a program of study that is focused on mental illness/ human minds. This would include a program of study in any of the following fields:

  • Counseling substance abusers
  • Counseling problem gamblers
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Social work
  • Marriage and family therapy
  • Nursing
  • Medicine

Programs of study that include 24 semester hours of counseling-related coursework may receive consideration.

Educational requirements are in some ways similar for the LADC and LCADC licenses. Both require graduate education in accepted social science fields. However, the clinical license requires comprehensive mental health disorders coursework. The program must include diagnosis of mental disorder.

Supervised Practice Requirements

Credentialing beyond the intern level is dependent on completion of a supervised practice requirement.

The stated experience requirement is 4,000 hours at either the CADC or LADC level. However, an individual with a bachelor's degree can be credited with 1,500 hours if he or she has completed 18 semester hours of coursework specifically in addictions. An individual with a master's degree can receive credit for 1,500 hours if he or she has completed 12 semester hours specifically in addictions.

A Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor needs just 2,000 hours of supervised practice. One stipulation: Experience must be accrued post-degree. The experience is to include counseling of individuals with mental illness who also have substance abuse disorder (

A clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist or nurse with education at the graduate level can become a clinical addiction counselor after six months of supervised experience.

Examination Requirements

Prospective licensees must pass an examination; this step is completed after application. Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors take the Level 2 examination administered by the Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC).

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors take the Master Addiction Counselors Examination (MAC); this is also under the NAADAC banner.

Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). This is in the same exam that is required of Clinical Professional Counselors. The examination is offered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, or NBCC.

An exception is made for Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and psychologists; they can be credentialed as LCADCs without further examination.

The Board also administers an oral examination.

Intern Credentialing

A person can receive his or her intern license with education at the level of high school graduation or equivalency. An intern will need to continue as a student until such time as education requirements have been met. However, requirements are low; the minimum is set at one credit hour per semester.

Interns work only under supervision.

Native American Alcohol and Drug Counselors

There is a separate credentialing process for Native American Alcohol and Drug Counselors (NACADCs). The NACADC credential does not have the same education requirements. Applicants will, however, need to meet general eligibility requirements.

The Application Process

It is necessary to request an application. Application request forms can be downloaded from the Board website. The request can also be submitted online. Application fees are paid at the time of request. The fee due will depend on the level of the credential; at the intern level, it is $210. At higher levels, an examination fee is due.

Click Here for the Application request (this is a PDF form that will open in a new window).

An applicant can expect to be fingerprinted as part of the application process.

A provisional ADC permit is optional. This is issued to applicants who are approved and registered for a qualifying examination. There is a $125 fee.

Alcohol and drug counselors who hold licensing in other U.S. states or territories can be licensed by endorsement. The examination requirement can be waived provided that the professional met requirements that were at least substantially equivalent in his or her state of licensure.

Alcohol and drug counselors are responsible for completing 40 hours of continuing education during each two-year licensing period.

Additional Information

Information about substance abuse counselor licensing is available from the Nevada Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Counselors (

The State of Nevada Association for Addiction Professionals (SNAAP) is an additional professional resource ( Professionals who join SNAAP also become members of the national professional association NAADAC.

Sponsored Schools