How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Vermont

Substance abuse counseling services remain in high demand throughout Vermont. Substance abuse counselors assist individuals as they strive to overcome their destructive behaviors and work toward holistic wellness. In response to growing demand for qualified professionals, the state government recently streamlined the process for becoming a substance abuse counselor in Vermont. The state simplified education requirements and no longer requires certain documentation.

Vermont grants two forms of licensure for counselors in the field: certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC) and licensed alcohol and drug counselor (LADC). Each credential includes specific requirements and leads to roles with different responsibilities, but the processes to obtain each type of licensure are similar.

This page outlines the credentialing process for candidates interested in learning how to become a substance abuse counselor in Vermont. The sections below include an overview of education and practicum requirements for the CADC and LADC credentials, steps to obtaining licensure, information about licensure renewal and maintenance, and resources for Vermont counseling professionals.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Vermont

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Education and Experience Requirements

Individuals interested in obtaining substance abuse counselorcredentials, CADC or LADC, must comply with the education and experience requirements below. The Vermont counselor board, the Office of Professional Regulation (OPR), has enforced and administered these requirements since 2016. Candidates must complete both formal education and supervised training in the field.

Academic Requirements

Candidates pursuing a CADC or LADC license in Vermont must possess the corresponding level of higher education. Both credentials authorize the holder to provide substance abuse counseling services, but a professional's specific responsibilities depends on their type of license. For example, LADCs hold a master's degree and typically hold more responsibilities and higher earning potential than CADCs. They also supervise CADCs in training.

CADC candidates must hold a bachelor's degree in substance abuse counseling or a closely related field from an accredited institution. They must complete at least 270 credits of education in areas specific to substance abuse.

Aspiring LADCs must provide evidence of an accredited master's degree or doctorate in substance abuse or a related discipline. They must meet the same 270-credit education requirement as CADC candidates.


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

Both LADC and CADC candidates must satisfy the coursework requirements stipulated by OPR. In addition to completing 27 credits of coursework specific to substance abuse, learners must undergo training in subject areas mandated by the state. Applicants for licensure should provide all academic transcripts.

Candidates must complete coursework in general substance abuse training and in the following topics: individual, group, and family approaches to substance use disorder treatment (36 credits); comorbid medical disorders often associated with substance abuse (6 credits); medication assisted treatment and psychopharmaceuticals (6 credits); and professional ethics (6 credits).

The remaining 216 credits of coursework should include training in human development, cultural diversity, engagement strategies and motivational interviewing, substance abuse screening, mental health disorders, case management and service coordination, neurobiology, clinical assessment, relapse prevention, and trauma.

Practicum and Supervised Practice

CADC candidates must retain employment by a state-recognized, certified provider and must complete at least 4,000 hours of direct, supervised work experience. Supervision must be administered by an LADC with a least one year of full-time professional experience.

Candidates for LADC licensure must complete at least 2,000 credits of direct work experience supervised by a licensed LADC.

The Exam and Application Process for Vermont Substance Abuse Counselors

After completing all education and supervised practice requirements, CADC and LADC candidates can submit an application for licensure to OPR through its online portal. The OPR website provides a guide for navigating the platform. Applicants can expect a response to their application within five business days.

Vermont candidates must pass examinations administered by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC)

Each application should include documents verifying an accredited degree and completion of state-mandated coursework, a supervision report submitted by the candidate's LADC supervisor, and a nonrefundable application fee. Applicants upload scanned copies of the required documentation. After OPR reviews and approves their application, candidates receive formal authorization to sit for the examination.

Vermont candidates must pass examinations administered by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC). CADC candidates must pass the alcohol and drug counselor examination, and LADC candidates must pass the advanced alcohol and drug counselor examination. IC&RC provides study guides and practice tests for both examinations. Applicants must pay any exam-related fees.

Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselor Candidates

Vermont awards licensure by endorsement for CADC and LADC applicants who maintain an active counseling license from another state in good standing. This allows working professionals to become counselors in Vermont without restarting the licensure process. To qualify for licensure by endorsement in Vermont, applicants must hold credentials from a state with standards and requirements substantially equivalent to Vermont's.

Qualifying professionals at both the CADC and LADC levels must complete an online application. Applicants must submit a nonrefundable fee, verification of active licensure in good standing, and a copy of the rules and regulations from the applicant's previous state.

Substance Abuse Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

All Vermont counselingprofessionals must maintain their license and comply with renewal requirements outlined by OPR. To maintain their credentials, licensed counselors in Vermont must adhere to the state's code of professional conduct. Breaches of this code can result in disciplinary action.

LADCs and CADCs must renew their credentials every two years in accordance with the statutes set by the Vermont General Assembly

LADCs and CADCs must renew their credentials every two years in accordance with the statutes set by the Vermont General Assembly. Professionals submit an online application for renewal and pay a renewal fee. Applicants for renewal must provide evidence of at least 40 continuing education credits during the previous two-year period.

Resources and Organizations for Substance Abuse Counselors in Vermont

The following resources include professional associations and advocacy groups, nonprofit organizations, and counseling-related government agencies available to substance abuse counselors in Vermont.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous in Vermont This organization maintains a comprehensive list of all AA meetings in Vermont. It also provides information about local AA-related events and resources for both counselors and clients.
  • Howard Center Located in Burlington, Vermont, the Howard Center provides resources to help substance abuse counselors better serve clients. The center offers educational tools, community outreach initiatives, and addiction treatment information.
  • New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center This collaborative, professional organization for addiction treatment and recovery connects local service providers. The organization fosters networking, provides up-to-date field information, and sponsors local events.
  • New England Region of Narcotics Anonymous This website maintains a comprehensive list of all narcotics anonymous meetings and events throughout New England, including those in Vermont. The organization also disseminates literature on drug abuse and chemical dependency.
  • North Central Vermont Recovery Center This organization maintains a welcoming, substance-free environment where individuals and families can begin the recovery process. The organization also hosts meetings and provides coaching services.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Operating under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA offers grants and training programs. The organization also maintains a list of field-specific service providers and treatment centers.
  • Valley Vista One of Vermont's many recovery facilities, Valley Vista specializes in helping individuals achieve freedom from addiction. The facility sponsors rehabilitation programs for groups and individuals and provides resources for counselors.
  • Vermont Department of Mental Health Housed within the Vermont Agency of Human Services, this entity creates policies related to mental health. The department works to raise awareness of mental health concerns, including those related to substance abuse, by providing strategies for prevention and protection.
  • Vermont Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs Vermont government's primary substance abuse organization, this agency focuses on drug and alcohol treatment plans. ADAP provides services, promotes recovery programs, and connects clients with health professionals.

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