Interested in Becoming a Substance Abuse Professional?

Employment opportunities working with individuals who have substance abuse issues and their significant others can be found even without professional credentialing.

However, in North Carolina becoming a substance abuse professional means that a person is credentialed by the State.

The State establishes, grants, controls, and requires such credentialing for substance abuse professionals through regulation in order to, among other things, establish standards to protect the public.

The organization in North Carolina that is empowered to award, renew, and discipline substance abuse credentials is the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (NCSAPPB).

Individuals interested in obtaining and maintaining such credentials must satisfy State criteria which means satisfying NCSAPPB criteria.

Different states can have different criteria, but to work in North Carolina as a substance abuse professional the credentialing criteria established specifically by the NCSAPPB must be satisfied.

Universities & colleges do not award professional substance abuse credentials although they might offer courses and training that count toward the criteria necessary to earn and maintain such credentials.

Various agencies and organizations that are not affiliated with a university or college provide training that can be applied toward credentialing as a substance abuse professional in North Carolina.

In North Carolina, professional substance abuse credentials are of various types which have differing criteria.

Applications and criteria for each of the types of credentials offered through the NCSAPPB can be found through its website.

  • This website can be found by performing an internet search.
  • Or it can be found at www.NCSAPPB.org.

Historically, to work as a professional credentialed in substance abuse in North Carolina a worker must be designated by the NCSAPPB as one or more of the following:

Substance Abuse Counselor Intern:
To become a Substance Abuse Counselor Intern, an individual must, among other things:
  1. Register with the NCSAPPB.
  2. Provide documentation of one of the following:
    1. High school graduation
    2. Completion of:
    3. A GED
    4. An associate’s degree
    5. A baccalaureate degree
    6. A graduate degree
    • Sign a form that indicates commitment to the Ethical Principles of Conduct of the Board.
    • Provide a signed supervision contract documenting a continuing supervision process by a CCS or CCS intern.
    • Provide documentation verifying the successful completion of 300 hours training according to NCSAPPB criteria.
    • Pass a written exam.
Certified Substance Abuse Counselor:
Otherwise known as a “CSAC”. To become a CSAC, an individual must, among other things:
  1. Have been registered as a Substance Abuse Intern with the NCSAPPB.
  2. Obtain the equivalent of 3 years full time, supervised paid or volunteer experience as a Substance Abuse Counselor.
  3. Complete 270 clock hours of education/ training according to NCSAPPB criteria.
  4. Pass a written exam.
  5. Provide evaluation forms according to NCSAPPB criteria.
Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist:
Otherwise known as an “LCAS”. To become an LCAS, an individual, among other things, usually must have earned a master’s degree. Please refer to the NCSAPPB website for more specific criteria for obtaining this credential.
Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional:
·Otherwise known as a “CCJP”. This credential only applies to those who specifically work in or plan to work in law enforcement, the judiciary system, and/ or corrections. To become a CCJP, an individual must, among other things, satisfy the following criteria:
  1. If an individual has a high school diploma or GED, he/ she must secure 6000 hours of documented work experience in direct services in criminal justice/ addictions services which must have been obtained over the past 10 years.
  2. If an individual has an associate’s degree, he/ she must secure 5000 hours of documented work experience in direct services in criminal justice/ addictions services which must have been obtained over the past 10 years.
  3. If a person has a bachelor’s degree, he/ she must secure 4000 hours of documented work experience in direct services in criminal justice/ addictions services which must have been obtained over the past 10 years.
  4. If the person has a master’s degree, he/ she must secure 2000 hours of documented work experience in direct services in criminal justice/ addictions services which must have been obtained over the past 10 years.
  5. The person must also have earned 270 hours of education/ training according to NCSAPPB criteria.
Certified Substance Abuse Prevention Consultant:
Otherwise known as a “CSAPC”. This certification is offered to individuals who frequently are not involved in individual and group counseling with individuals who have substance abuse issues. To become a CSAPC, an individual must, among other things:
  1. Have 3 years of full-time experience in the field or 2 years if the individual has a bachelor’s degree or higher in a human services field.
  2. Earn 270 hours of training according to NCSAPPB criteria.
  3. Complete at least 3000 of NCSAPPB approved practicum hours that are documented by a qualified alcohol, drug, or substance abuse professional.
  4. Complete evaluations according to NCSAPPB criteria.
  5. Pass a written exam.
  6. Provide verification statements according to NCSAPPB criteria.
Certified Substance Abuse Residential Facility Director:
Otherwise known as a “CSARFD”. To become a CSARFD, an individual must, among other things:
  1. Be a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.
  2. Undergo 50 hours of training according to NCSAPPB criteria.
  3. Provide recommendation statements according to NCSAPPB criteria.

Those interested in learning about credentialing are strongly advised to verify current criteria by contacting the NCSAPPB directly.

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