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Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements in Nebraska

Nebraska's alcohol and drug counselors are licensed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Licensure depends on completing addictions-related coursework and practical training, working under supervision, and passing a licensing examination. A counselor who has met all requirements is known as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC). One who is working to meet requirements is known as a Provisional Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PLADC).

It is possible to become an LADC with just a high school diploma, but the credential can be attained more quickly by individuals with college degrees. The minimum age for either credential is 19.

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Educational Requirements

The foundation is a high school diploma, GED, or post-secondary degree. The prospective addiction counselor will need 270 contact hours of education related to a drug and alcohol counselor's role.

The student will need 45 contact hours in each of the following:

30 contact hours will be required in each of the following:

Additionally, there must be 15 contact hours in professional issues and ethics.

A semester hour may be credited as 15 contact hours, a quarter hour as 10.

Some educational institutions have applied to the Licensure Unit for pre-approval of courses. A list is available on the DHHS website (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Licensure/Documents/ADCPreapprovedEduc.pdf).

A person licensed as a Provisional Mental Health Practitioner is deemed to have met some coursework requirements. The licensee will still need to document coursework in chemical dependency treatment issues, medical and psychosocial aspects of alcohol and drug use, and assessment, case planning, and management.

Training and Experience Requirements

A PLADC candidate will need at least 300 hours of practical training. This must include at least ten hours in each of twelve identified domains. Training must be completed under a practical training supervisor that meets the requirements of state regulation. An in-state practical training supervisor may be an LADC or a psychologist or psychiatrist with training in substance abuse counseling. At this level, the trainee is to have at least one hour of face-to-face evaluative supervision for every ten hours spent in core A/D counseling functions. The 300 hours will be completed before the candidate applies for a provisional license.

Full licensure is dependent on completing supervised clinical experience. In order to qualify as clinical experience, the work must include carrying a caseload of alcohol/ drug abuse patients and performing the following functions: assessment, case management, consultation with professionals, counseling, record keeping, referral, and treatment planning (http://www.sos.ne.gov/rules-and-regs/regsearch/Rules/Health_and_Human_Services_System/Title-172/Chapter-015.pdf). The other functions are to be performed as well, but not necessarily with all clients.

A candidate without a degree will need 6,000 hours of experience (the equivalent of three full-time years). With an associate's degree in addictions or chemical dependency, the requirement is reduced to 5,000 hours. The requirement is 4,000 hours for a candidate with a qualifying bachelor's degree and 2,000 for one with a master's. Qualifying degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels include addictions, counseling, psychology, social work, and sociology.

Before beginning supervised practice, an in-state candidate will apply for a provisional license. The supervisor must be registered; the Board must be notified of any subsequent change of supervisor. If the candidate fails to register supervision, work will not be credited even if it was performed under an otherwise qualified supervisor.

The individual is to have at least an hour of face-to-face evaluative supervision for every 40 hours of paid work in drug and alcohol counseling. The supervisor may be an LADC or a psychologist or psychiatrist who has adequate preparation.

Out-of-state supervised practice may be credited if it is supervised by an alcohol and drug counselor who holds reciprocity-level credentials in another International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) jurisdiction or, in the case of jurisdictions that do not hold IC&RC membership, a professional who is credentialed at the highest level. In the latter instance, the Licensure Unit must concur that credentials were issued on the basis of similar requirements.

Examination Requirements

Nebraska has adopted the IC & RC examination. Candidates will take the computer-based written ADC Examination. They will apply to the DHHS for permission to take it (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_mhcs_adc_examinations.aspx).

A candidate requesting exam permission will pay $100. Once eligibility has been communicated, the candidate will receive information about scheduling the examination (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Licensure/Documents/LADCexamInfo.pdf). There are testing sites in Omaha and North Platte. Candidates may opt to test at a Schroeder Measurement Technologies/ Iso-Quality Testing site in another state if they prefer.

A candidate who fails the examination is allowed to retest, but a 60 day wait time is imposed. The candidate must submit another examination application.

The Application Process

Applications may be filled out online and then printed and mailed to the Licensure Unit in Lincoln (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_mhcs_adc_apps.aspx). Candidates can request paper applications by calling 402-471-2117.

Education and practical training must be verified at first application. The supervisor will verify practical training. A candidate applying at the LADC level will verify employment.

The Licensure Unit will require official transcripts of qualifying academic coursework. Workshops and institutes may be verified through certificates of completion.

A candidate at either level must document age and citizenship or lawful presence. The candidate will either attest to not having practiced in Nebraska or pay a per-day fine. The application includes a code of ethics that must be signed.

The LADC licensing fee is $175.

IC & RC Reciprocity

Addiction counselors who are credentialed by IC & RC member boards may request that their member boards endorse them. In order to be eligible, they must hold credentials at the reciprocal level. There is a separate application for reciprocity candidates.

Additional Information

The Licensure Unit can be reached at 402-471-2117. Additional contact information is found on the site of the Department of Health and Human Services (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_mhcs_adc_contactus.aspx).

Nebraska NAADAC, a state affiliate of the Association for Addiction Counselors, serves as an additional resource for addiction professionals (http://www.naadac.org/nebraska).