How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Wyoming

Substance abuse counselors use their knowledge addiction, treatment, and recovery to help individuals struggling with alcohol or chemical dependency. To become a substance abuse counselor in Wyoming, candidates must fulfill academic, professional, and application requirements set by the Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor positions to increase 23% from 2016-2026. This growth is in part due to the continued need for counselors to help inmates and retired military personnel. Although the field displays overall growth, factors such as industry and location impact career prospects.

This page includes information about how to become a substance abuse counselor in Wyoming, steps to obtain licensure and certification in the state, and a list of professional organizations in the field.

Counseling License and Career Requirements in Wyoming

Explore more pathways to becoming a counselor in Wyoming here

Education and Experience Requirements

The Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board requires candidates for Wyoming counseling positions to meet minimum education and experience standards. These requirements ensure counselors possess the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their field. Each license type requires a specific level of education and experience.

Academic Requirements

Candidates for the certified addictions practitioner (CAP) license who do not hold the national certified addictions counselor level II (NCAC II) credential must complete a bachelor's degree in substance abuse, chemical dependency, or addictionology from an accredited institution.

The NCAC II credential requires a bachelor's degree in one of several discipline options, including substance abuse, social work, and psychology.

The licensed addictions therapist (LAT) credential requires a graduate degree in a relevant field, such as substance abuse or healing arts. Applicants with less traditional mental health degrees can still qualify, provided they have completed coursework related to substance abuse.

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

CAP candidates must have completed coursework in counseling theories and counseling skills, along with a practicum in addictions or chemical dependency counseling. Wyoming also requires candidates to have two credits in counseling ethics and six contact hours in communicable disease training.

Applicants must have 10 additional credits in alcoholism, drugs and behavior, addictions and special populations, addictive behaviors, and addictions assessment. These courses examine factors that impact addiction among diverse populations, along with behaviors that influence addictions. Candidates must submit transcripts to verify completed coursework.

In addition to completing coursework in these categories, LAT candidates must earn three credits in counseling ethics.

Practicum and Supervised Practice

After earning a graduate degree, LAT candidates must complete at least 3,000 supervised hours of field experience under the supervision of a Board-approved professional. At least 1,200 practicum hours must involve client interaction. The remaining hours can comprise meetings, training, and administrative and organizational work.

The Exam and Application Process for Wyoming Substance Abuse Counselors

To become substance abuse counselors in Wyoming, candidates must pass a certification exam. The Board provides multiple exam options. For example, CAP candidates can take the NCAC II exam or the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium alcohol and drug counselor assessment.

LAT candidates can take the master addiction counselor exam from the Association for Addictions Professionals (NAADAC) or the National Board for Certified Counselors. The Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board may approve other exams for LAT candidates.

To become substance abuse counselors in Wyoming, candidates must pass a certification exam — the Board provides multiple exam options

Aspiring CAPs and LATs must pass their exam within three tries or be subject to a change in certification or licensure preparation, after which the candidate has one additional attempt to pass the exam. The format, time limit, and fees vary for each exam. However, most assessments include content related to case management, treatment, group counseling, and legal concerns in counseling.

Candidates for certification or licensure must also submit three recommendations and adhere to NAADAC's code of ethics. Applicants with a current license can obtain the LAT credential with the understanding that they must complete 150 practicum hours and 150 training hours after earning the license.

Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselor Candidates

Out-of-state substance abuse counselors can apply for certification by reciprocity, if the state in which they are currently licensed or certified maintains requirements comparable to Wyoming's. The Board can require out-of-state candidates to complete additional steps, such as coursework and examinations.

At the discretion of the Board, candidates for reciprocity may need to submit a $300-$350 application fee, recommendations, a professional disclosure statement, proof of a current license or certification, and transcripts. Candidates may also need to submit transcript assessments that include class descriptions. CAP reciprocity also requires a supervision agreement.

Substance Abuse Counselor License Maintenance and Renewal Requirements

Wyoming substance abuse counselors must renew their credentials every other year on their birthday. Candidates receive a letter 1-2 months before the renewal date. Renewal requires an application and at least 45 continuing education (CE) hours.

Wyoming substance abuse counselors must renew their credentials every other year on their birthday

For contact experiences, each hour must include at least 50 minutes of work. For a single semester credit, however, professionals receive 15 CE hours, while one quarter credit amounts to 10 hours. The Board allows professionals to fulfill up to six CE hours through presentations. CAP and LAT holders must complete at least 15 continuing education hours related to substance abuse. Military personnel and individuals with chronic illness may qualify for a CE exemption.

Resources and Organizations for Substance Abuse Counselors in Wyoming

Organizations often hosts conferences and events that facilitate professional networking and help members expand their field knowledge. Professional organizations may also offer resources such as publications, webinars, and training. Members can often apply these experiences toward CE requirements for certifications and licenses. Additionally, many professional organizations provide job boards, newsletters, and funding options.

  • American Addictions Centers This organization maintains centers in multiple U.S. locations and provides information about the impact of substance abuse on health issues, such as HIV and AIDS. The center's website delivers guidance on substance abuse for military veterans.
  • American Counseling Association ACA publishes books on counseling and provides resources related to licensure, mental health, and ethics. The association hosts the Conference & Expo event and provides continuing education opportunities.
  • Center on Addiction This resource provides information for professionals in healthcare and policy. The center's blog addresses substance abuse topics including opioid use and methods for preventing addiction in youth. Website visitors can learn about various addictions and traits that increase the risk of addiction.
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America CADCA provides training opportunities, including the National Coalition Academy, and hosts the Annual Drug-Free Kids Campaign Awards Dinner. The organization encourages participation in National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month and National Recovery Month.
  • International Association of Addictions & Offender Counselors IAAOC participates in ACA conferences and the International Association of Marriage & Family Counselors Conference. The association provides a newsletter, podcasts, webinars, and the Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling.
  • National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers NAATP offers continuing education opportunities that address the connection between substance abuse and ADHD. The group maintains a job board, hosts the National Addiction Leadership Conference, and delivers a newsletter.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA offers information about addiction to various substances, such as heroin and cocaine. The institute also offers funding and hosts podcasts on topics such as marijuana among youth and parental tips to deter substance abuse.
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA publishes brochures, briefs, fact sheets, and reports related to substance abuse. The group also oversees National Prevention Week and Recovery Month and provides resources on prevention of drug use and suicide.
  • Wyoming Association of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers WAMHSAC provides resources on mental health, suicide prevention, and substance abuse treatment. With 20 locations in the state, these centers offer career opportunities for substance abuse workers.
  • Wyoming Department of Health This department delivers a prevention program that addresses addictions to substances such as tobacco, opioids, and alcohol. Site viewers can learn about which personal details, such as family history, may increase the chance of developing an addiction. The department also provides information about earning the prevention specialist certification.

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