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Addiction Counselor Requirements in Georgia

Georgia does not license addiction counselors. However, counselors can demonstrate qualifications through voluntary third party certification.

The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Certification Board is affiliated with the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia is a member of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC).

Both organizations have provisions for reviewing and certifying addiction counselors who have been granted certification by other agencies.

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Requirements: Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Certification

The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association offers two addiction counselor certifications: Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (CACI) and Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (CACII).

CAC I: A high school diploma or GED is the foundation for a CAC I credential. The candidate must also have180 hours of education in drug abuse, alcoholism, and counseling-related topics. Included in the requirement are 18 hours of cultural diversity, six hours of ethics, and three hours of HIV/ AIDS. At least 100 hours of education/ training must have been accrued in the prior 5 years. GACA will credit no more than 90 hours from a college transcript.

The credential requires 4,000 hours of supervised experience. Volunteer work may be credited toward the requirement if supervised by a GACA Certified Clinical Supervisor. A CAC I candidate will need a total of 96 hours of supervision. Work experienced accrued more than five years in the past will not be credited. The CACI candidate will take the NCC AP examination.

CAC II: The CAC II must have a degree at the bachelor's level (https://gaca.org/certification/certified-addiction-counselor-level-ii-cacii/). Additionally, the CAC II must have 270 hours of education relevant to the addiction counseling role; 27 must be in cultural diversity.

The credential can be achieved after 6,000 hours of practice. The candidate will need 144 hours of supervision. Work experience accrued more than eight years in the past will not be credited. A CAC II candidate will take the national written certification exam at Level I or II.

GACA also offers a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) credential (https://gaca.org/certification/counselor-training-cit/). A CIT receives supervision from a GACA Certified Clinical Supervisor.

Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Application Process

A candidate will apply for a CAC credential after all requirements have been met except examination. Applications may be downloaded from the site; the candidate will click on the button of the ‘requirements’ page of the credential sought.

GACA will require professional references and verifications of skill competency; verifications are to come from clinical supervisors and work supervisors.

Required education is to be documented through original transcripts and certificates of completion.

Candidates should submit application materials by the posted deadline dates in order to be considered for the next examination (https://gaca.org/certification/2014-cac-certification-application-testing-deadlines/).

The certification fee ranges from $100 to $200, depending on NAADAC/ GACA membership status.

Applicants will be sent information on examination/ re-examination policies.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board Requirements

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia offers the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor I (CADC I), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADC II), and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credentials.

The CADC I can be attained by an individual with high school education. The CADC II requires a bachelor's degree. The CAADC requires a qualifying master's; to be qualifying, the graduate degree must be in the human services arena and must include clinical application.

CADC and CAADC candidates must have 270 hours of education specific to the addiction counselor’s role with no fewer than six in professional ethics. Candidates must have 300 hours of supervised practical training which may be a part of the required supervised experience or obtained separately. There must be at least ten hours of practical training in each of 12 identified core functions. During the time that practical training is being completed, the trainee must have face-to-face supervision. The supervisor must have appropriate credentialing, though it may be granted by another certification or licensing agency; CAC II or MAC credentials are qualifying, as is licensure as a mental health professional.

The CADC I requires 6,000 hours of supervised experience. The bachelor’s and master’s level credentials each require 4,000.

The certification board also offers a credential for individuals in training to become alcohol and drug counselors. The credential is CADC Trainee.

Prevention professionals and individuals with specialized roles (for example, criminal justice professionals) may also pursue certification through the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia. Candidates with degrees in human services at the bachelor’s level or higher can train to be co-occurring disorders professionals.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board Application Process

A candidate will apply for CADC or CAADC after all requirements have been met but examination. Applications can be downloaded from the site of the certification board (http://www.adacbga.org/ADACBGA-GA-international-certification.shtml). The application includes a code of ethics that the candidate must sign.

A candidate for CADC or CAADC will need three professional evaluations. The certifying agency will also require official transcripts. ADACB-GA notes that application materials are to be sent by regular mail.

CADC and CAAC candidates must remit a nonrefundable $125 application fee and a $170 testing fee. Once approved, a candidate will be allowed to self-schedule a computerized examination. A candidate who fails may make another attempt; an additional $170 fee will be assessed. After two failures, additional requirements will be imposed.

Certification Options for Experienced Addiction Counselors

The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association will consider reciprocity for addiction counselors who do not hold NAADAC or NAADAC-affiliated certification on an individual basis (https://gaca.org/certification/counselor-reciprocity). A candidate who did not pass an appropriate examination may be given the opportunity to test.

ADACBA-GA also offers a Georgia-only certification to candidates who have taken an examination in the past and been granted certification by a nationally recognized organization (http://www.adacbga.org/apps-manuals/Georgia-Only-Certification-Application-rev130206.doc.pdf). Candidates must meet basic requirements for experience, education, and training.

Additional Information

The Georgia Addiction Counselors Association may be contacted at (770) 434-1000 or via email contact form (https://gaca.org/contact-gaca/).

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board may be contacted at (770) 825-0481 or via email contact form (http://www.adacbga.org/ADACBGA-contact).