Some of the most effective addiction treatment counselors and therapists have an edge when it comes to working with those who suffer from addiction; once upon a time, they were in active addiction too. Counselors who have suffered from addiction have an innate understanding of how the disease works because it’s something they’ve dealt with personally.

It’s not surprising that many who experience addiction who subsequently recover want to turn around and help other sufferers achieve recovery too. Some counselors may not have experienced an addiction personally but instead witnessed the suffering of a parent, sibling or other loved one. If you want to help someone find their path to recovery, this blog can help you learn how to get certified to do this important work.

What Are the Basics for Addiction Treatment Counselor Certification?

People who want to become an addiction treatment counselor of some type should first check with their state. Different states mandate different credentials that addiction treatment practitioners must acquire to become certified.1 A great place to start is with the Association for Addiction Professionals or the Internal Certification & Reciprocity Consortium.

Individuals should note that each state requires different criteria for certification, so you should check the standards for those states in which you wish to work.

Certification as an Addiction Treatment Counselor

The entry-level position for addiction counseling is the CADC, the certified alcohol and drug counselor. Typically, this certification requires about 200 hours of training and education, but requirements vary by state.2 A person with a clinical degree may have already satisfied some aspects of the CADC education and training. After a person has completed their training, they can sit for the certification examination.

The reciprocal alcohol and other drug abuse counselor certification is a more advanced certification than the CADC, and it mandates an additional year of training experience. The education requirement for this certification is around 300 hours.

Certification as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Some individuals are driven to help the addiction sufferer as well as their partner and family. If this is the case for you, you might want to investigate becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist. If you want to work in family therapy to help individuals and families impacted by addiction, this is an excellent certification to pursue.

Careers in Addiction Treatment

Many people go into a career in addiction treatment with the goal of helping others. Today, opioid abuse is an epidemic that stretches shore to shore. Addiction to alcohol or other drugs is also significant. Some towns and cities are coping with widespread meth use; others may have problems with other addictive substances. The need for addiction treatment is great and continuing to grow, and the need for dedicated and talented addiction counselors is immense.

If you want to pay it forward and make a career of helping others, addiction treatment counseling is an important role to consider. These careers are in ever-increasing demand in cities throughout the country. By checking with your state medical boards, you can find out more specific information about what you need to do to earn your certification.