How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in New Hampshire

Substance abuse counselors help people overcome addiction and substance abuse issues. This rewarding career requires empathy, compassion, and excellent interpersonal skills.

Substance abuse professionals need a license to practice in New Hampshire. The state offers four credentials: licensed alcohol and drug counselor (LADC), master licensed alcohol and drug counselor (MLADC), licensed clinical supervisor (LCS), and certified recovery support worker (CRSW). This guide covers how to become a substance abuse counselor in New Hampshire, including education, experience, and licensure requirements.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in New Hampshire

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in New Hampshire here

Education and Experience Requirements

To receive a substance abuse license, New Hampshire chemical dependency counselors must meet the state's education and experience requirements. The following sections outline the New Hampshire Counselor Board's degree, coursework, and internship requirements for substance abuse counselors who want to practice in the state.

Academic Requirements

The academic requirements to become a substance abuse counselor in New Hampshire range from a high school diploma to a master's degree, depending on the credential.

The CRSW credential requires a high school diploma. Applicants with an accredited associate or bachelor's degree in an approved discipline qualify to apply for the LADC. The LADC requires an associate degree in addiction studies, substance use counseling, or an equivalent field or a bachelor's in clinical mental health, psychology, social work, addiction studies, substance use counseling, or a human services discipline.

The MLADC requires an accredited 60-credit master's degree in clinical mental health, social work, substance use treatment, clinical psychology, human services, or an equivalent field. The program must include internship requirements and clinical coursework.

Individuals with a LADC or MLADC credential can apply for the LCS.


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

Course requirements vary by type of substance abuse counseling license in New Hampshire. The MLADC requires 60 credits, including 270 hours of alcohol and drug use education. The LDAC (associate and bachelor's level) requires 270 hours of alcohol and drug use education either within or outside of the degree program.

The LCS requires 30 hours of training in clinical supervision in addition to meeting the coursework requirements of the LDAC. The New Hampshire Counselor Board does not require specific courses.

Practicum and Supervised Practice

Practicum and supervised practice requirements vary by license in New Hampshire. The MLADC requires 300 hours of supervised practical training and 3,000 hours of clinically supervised post-master's professional experience. MLADC candidates can apply up to 1,500 experience hours accumulated as a LADC toward the 3,000-hour requirement. Applicants can also substitute a current license from the Board of Mental Health Practice for 1,500 hours toward the requirement.

The LADC with an associate degree requires 6,000 hours of supervised work experience, while the LADC with a bachelor's requires 4,000 hours. Both require 300 hours of supervised practical training in the degree program.

The LCW requires 10,000 hours of experience as a drug or alcohol counselor, 4,000 hours of clinical supervisor experience, and 200 hours of face-to-face clinical supervision.

The Exam and Application Process for New Hampshire Substance Abuse Counselors

The New Hampshire Board of Licensing for Alcohol and Other Drug Use Professionals regulates the licensure process for alcohol and drug counselors in the state. Licensed substance abuse professionals must live or work in New Hampshire 51% of the time and hold U.S. citizenship or legal alien status.

In addition to meeting education and experience requirements, LADC, MLADC, and LCS applicants must pass the written International Certification Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse exam. They must also complete a written case study.

Prospective drug and alcohol counselors can apply for a license online. Depending on the license they apply for, prospective licensees may need to submit some or all of the following:

  • Application Fee
  • Background Check
  • Peer Collaboration Form
  • Written Case Study
  • Supervised Practical Training Report
  • Work Experience Report
  • Employment Verification Form
  • Supervision Agreement Form
  • Counselor Evaluation Form
  • Professional References
  • Educational and Training Summary Form
  • Exam Form and Cover Letter

Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselor Candidates

Nevada offers reciprocity for out-of-state counselors through the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium. The applicant's out-of-state license or certification's requirements must be at least equivalent to New Hampshire's.

MLADC applicants from other states whose licenses do not meet New Hampshire's requirements may still receive approval if they meet the following conditions:

  • Hold a master's degree in an approved discipline
  • Complete additional hours of board-required coursework in co-occurring disorders within five years of licensure
  • Demonstrate completion of 3,000 hours of clinically supervised work experience in substance use and co-occurring disorders

Substance Abuse Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Drug and alcohol counselors in New Hampshire must renew their licenses every two years. LADC, MLADC, and LCS licensees must complete 48 hours (two hours a month) of continuing education to qualify for renewal. LCS licensees must complete at least six continuing education hours in clinical supervision. CRSWs must complete 12 continuing education hours. The board offers online renewals with application fees payable by credit card. Renewal fees vary by license.

Resources and Organizations for Substance Abuse Counselors in New Hampshire

Substance abuse students and professionals should explore professional resources and organizations to advance their careers. The following resources offer benefits such as continuing education, networking, scholarship, and professional development opportunities.

  • Center on Addiction A national nonprofit dedicated to addiction education, the Center on Addiction supports individuals and their families experiencing addiction and recovery. The website includes extensive information about addiction, prevention, and treatment.
  • New Hampshire Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors Association NHADACA advances addiction professions in New Hampshire through advocacy and education. The association offers scholarships, trainings, a job board, and relevant news to members.
  • NH Alcohol and Drug Treatment Locator Students and professionals can locate alcohol and drug treatment centers in New Hampshire through this resource. They can also submit new listings and find promotional materials.
  • New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services This resource offers information about training and licensure for New Hampshire substance abuse counselors. The website includes license application forms and regulations.
  • NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals The premier national organization for addiction professionals, NAADAC offers conferences, events, continuing education, a bookstore, and certifications. The association advocates for addiction professionals on state and national levels.
  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism The NIAAA is one of 17 institutes that comprise the National Institutes of Health. The institute focuses on research on alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA works on public health initiatives related to behavioral health. The administration aims to help Americans manage mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers Founded in 1978, the NAATP advocates for addiction services. It offers trainings for addiction treatment providers, a job center, a news center, and other resources.

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