Thirty-eight years ago, the National Association of Alcoholism Counselors and Trainers was founded.  Ten years later, the association changed its name to the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselor, adjusting to the changing times, bringing together professionals working in the addiction field.  To reflect this, the organization became known as NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.  The name change reflects a wider range of services offered, embracing various professionals, such as counselors, social workers, and administrators.  The NAADAC offers national certification for those professionals who meet their criteria, beginning with Level I, and moving on to Level II and MAC (Master Addiction Counselor), and they’ve credentialed over fifteen thousand counselors.

Each of these three certifications are designed for those professionals who have worked for years within the various addiction fields and want to show others that they’ve acquired abilities honed from these years of supervised experience.  In order to be certified at the MAC level, you’ll need a Master’s degree in any of a number of health-related disciplines, such as social work, nursing, counseling, psychology or family therapy, as well as five hundred hours of training and education.  You’ll need also to be certified as either a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or a Licensed Social Worker (LSW).  You’ll need a year of supervised experience before a master’s degree, and an additional two years after you’ve received the degree.  If you’re a new applicant you also must prove that you’ve taken HIV/AIDS and Ethics training and education within the last half decade.

The standards for the Level II certification requires a bachelor’s degree from a university or college that’s accredited, and you’ll also need a state license in your profession that’s current.  In the area of training and education, the Level II certificate requires that you have four hundred and fifty contact hours in substance abuse, and twelve of those hours must be in HIV/AIDS training and ethics training, divided equally.  There must also be five years of experience (full-time) or ten thousand hours of supervised experience in substance abuse counseling.  As with the MAC, new applicants must have proof of training and education in ethics and HIV/AIDS received recently, in the last five years.

Level I certification, though, is the starting point, and requires less strenuous criteria.  However, it’s still fairly vigorous.  In order to qualify, you’ll need to have a current certificate or license from the state as a counselor specializing in substance abuse.  You’ll need to take training in substance abuse counseling for two hundred and seventy hours, also with twelve hours of training — six hours in ethics and six hours in HIV/AIDS.  While new applicants still need to provide proof that they’ve had ethics and HIV/AIDS training within the last five years, there’s a lesser requirement for the work experience.  You’ll need two years and four thousand hours less: Three years of work experience (full time) or six thousand hours of supervised experience with counseling for substance abuse.