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Counselor Certification

The Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) ensures the provision of quality treatment through the enforcement of standards for professional and safe treatment.  ADP does not certify counselors; however, ADP does ensure counselors provide quality treatment to clients by enforcing the Counselor Certification Regulations, Title 9, Division 4, Chapter 8. 

Counselor certification is based upon the Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes of Professional Practice (TAP 21), published by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, is available through ADP’s Resource Center.  Individuals who provide counseling services such as intake, assessment of need for services, treatment planning, recovery planning, individual or group counseling to participants, patients, or residents in any alcohol and other drug (AOD) program licensed or certified by ADP are required by the State of California to be certified. To obtain certification, counselors must register with one of the certifying organizations listed below.  From the date of registry, counselors have five (5) years to become certified.  If counselor fails to become certified after being registered for 5 years, the counselor will not be permitted to provide counseling services clients.

The requirements for certification for individuals providing counseling services in AOD recovery and treatment programs are found in the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 9, Division 4, Chapter 8:

Within six (6) months of the date of hire, all non-licensed or non-certified individuals providing counseling services in an AOD program must be registered to obtain certification as an AOD counselor by one of the approved certifying organizations (CCR, Section 13035(f)).

Registrants are required to complete certification as an AOD counselor within 5 years from the date of initial registration with any certifying organization (CCR, Section 13035(f)(1)).

Certified individuals are required to provide documentation of completion of a minimum of forty (40) hours of continuing education and payment of a renewal fee to their certifying organization in order to renew their AOD certification during each two-year period (CCR, Section 13050(l)).


ADP currently recognizes the following National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited organizations to register and certify AOD counselors in California.  To become a certified counselor or to obtain further information regarding educational requirements for becoming an AOD counselor in California, please contact any of the certifying organizations listed below:

Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California
Affiliated with California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators
Accredited Program - Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor / expires - 9/30/17
5230 Clark Avenue, Suite 3
Lakewood, CA 90712
Phone: 707-722-2331
Fax: 562-866-2540
www.caade.org
Email: office@caade.org

American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD)
Accredited Program - Certified Addiction Specialist / expires - 5/31/15
731 South Highway 101
Suite 1E
Solana Beach, CA 92075
(888)-429-3701
www.americanacademy.org

Board for Certification of Addiction Specialists
Affiliated with the California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources (CAARR)
Accredited Program - Certified Alcoholism & Other Drug Addictions Recovery Specialist / expires - 3/31/17
2400 Marconi Avenue
P.O. Box 214127
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) Office: (916) 338-9460
www.caarr.org
Email: caarr@caarr.org

Breining Institute
Accredited Program - Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) / Currently Valid - expiration date TBD
8894 Greenback Lane
Orangevale, CA 95662
(916) 987-2007
www.breining.edu
Email: college@breining.edu

California Association of Drinking Driver Treatment Programs (CADDTP)
Accredited Program - Certified Alcohol & Other Drug Counselor / expires - 6/30/13
1731 Howe Avenue, PMB #352
Sacramento, CA 95825-2209
(800) 464-3597
www.caddtp.org
Email: info@caddtp.org

California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors
Affiliated with the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC)
Accredited Program - Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor / expires - 4/30/17
3400 Bradshaw Road, Suite B,
Sacramento, CA 95827
Phone: (916) 368-9412
www.caadac.org
Email: counselors@caadac.org

Last Updated: May 2, 2013

To be considered for inclusion in the list of counselor certifying organizations, you must apply to and become accredited by the NCCA, at www.credentialingexcellence.org. Once NCCA accreditation is in place, the organization must request recognition from ADP by submitting a written request and providing written documentation to ADP that it complies with all of the requirements of CCR, Title 9, Section 13035(c).