California SUD Career Track


Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Counselor Certification in California

California law requires individuals providing alcohol and other drug (AOD) counseling services in a State-licensed program to be registered and hold basic California certification from a State-approved certification agency.

After you’ve earned your California certification, you may be eligible for the nationally and internationally awarded Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) Credential, as well as specialty credentials in supervision, co-occurring disorders, medication-assisted treatment, and other specialties from Breining Institute, held by healthcare professionals in 47 U.S. States and 18 countries.


STATE-REQUIRED BASIC CERTIFICATION:

California law requires individuals providing alcohol and other drug (AOD) counseling services in a State-licensed program be registered with and eventually hold a basic State-approved and accredited certification from either CADTP or CCAPP (as of August 2018), and it is anticipated that CAADE will soon be added back to that list.

  • Exception: No registration or certification is required if the individual is already a licensed healthcare professional such as a physician, licensed psychologist, clinical social worker, or marriage and family therapist.

Basic State-approved and accredited certifications (as of August 2018):

  • CADTP’s State-approved and accredited (through June 2023) certification is the Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CAODC);
  • CCAPP’s State-approved and accredited( through April 2022) certification is the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADC II).

Completion of a pre-registration 9-hour orientation course is required by both CADTP and CCAPP:

  • Newly registering counselors need to first complete an approved 9-hour Orientation Course.
  • CADTP accepts the Breining Institute online “9-hour Basics Bundle” (cost $29) to meet this requirement, available online at this link: Online CE Courses
  • CCAPP accepts its own course (cost $50)

In order to test for initial certification, candidate must complete a formal education program from institutions recognized by CADTP or CCAPP:

  • The Breining Institute 450 hour (45 unit) Addiction Studies Certificate (ASC) Course is recognized by both CADTP and CCAPP as meeting this formal education requirement, is CAADE-accredited, is State-approved, and may be completed in about eleven months entirely through distance learning.
  • More information about enrolling into the ASC Course is available at this link: ASC Course

In order to maintain certification, State law requires renewal and the completion of 40 hours continuing education (CE) every two years:

  • CADTP:
    • Requires 40 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years.
    • Cost of maintaining CAODC certification is $125 every two years (renewal fee is $125, no membership dues).
    • Breining Institute is a CADTP-approved CE provider, CEU Prov. No. 161.
    • Online courses, including discounted 40-hour CE Bundles, are available at this link: Online CE Courses
  • CCAPP:
    • Requires 50 hours continuing education (CE) every two years.
    • Cost of maintaining CADC II certification is $400 every two years for non-members, and the cost is $350 for members ($150 renewal fee, plus $100 membership fee each year).

RECIPROCITY FOR NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL RAS CREDENTIAL:

After you’ve earned the California CAODC, CATC or CADC certifications, you will be eligible for the nationally and internationally awarded Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) Credential from Breining Institute, without taking another exam.

And, once you hold the RAS, you may upgrade to advanced levels RAS II, RAS III and the Masters Level M-RAS Credentials, without a fee.

Select this link for more information about earning the RAS Credential: RAS Credential Career Track


SPECIALTY CREDENTIALS:

After you’ve earned the CAODC, CATC, CADC or RAS Credentials, you may then be eligible to earn specialty credentials in supervision, co-occurring disorders, medication-assisted treatment, and other specialties.

Select the following links for information about how to earn these nationally-awarded specialty credentials:

Clinical Supervisor Credential (CSC)

Master Counselor in Addictions (MCA)

Certified Women’s Treatment Specialist (CWTS)

Medication-Assisted Treatment Counselor (MATC)

Forensic Addictions Counselor (FAC)

Certified Co-occurring Disorders Specialist (CCDS)

Certified Case Manager Interventionist (CCMI)

 


IMPORTANT NOTICE TO CALIFORNIA COUNSELORS: 

  • The State of California recently issued a notice that, after over ten years of accreditation and State approval, CAADE was not, as of December 1, 2017, a State-approved AOD counselor certification agency, after failing to be awarded renewal accreditation. (MHSUDS Info Notice No. 17-067)
  • On July 19, 2018, CAADE announced that it has been reaccredited, through July 2023. It is anticipated that CAADE will be re-approved as a State-approved AOD counselor certification agency by the State of California and begin accepting new and renewal applications soon after a scheduled onsite review by the State in early September.
  • Breining Institute will continue to post updates on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions, and Answers, relating to general AOD/SUD counselor certification and renewal in California, as well as to the State of California CAADE notice and the re-accreditation:

Q: A couple of years ago I was awarded the CATC because I have the RAS Credential. Does the CAADE accreditation gap affect my RAS Credential?

A: No. For a short period in 2014/16, Breining Institute worked with CAADE to concurrently award international RAS Credential holders, located in California, the California CATC certification. This did not replace your RAS Credentials, but was issued to make sure that RAS Credential holders remained in compliance with the California law for registration / certification by a State-approved agency, which at the time included CAADE. The internationally awarded Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) Breining Institute professional credentials continue to be awarded to and are held by healthcare professionals in 47 U.S. States and 18 countries. Eligible healthcare professionals will continue to earn and renew these credentials exclusively through Breining Institute.

Q: Does CADTP recognize courses I’ve completed through Breining Institute?

A: Yes. CADTP fully recognizes ALL formal education and continuing education (CE) courses of Breining Institute. Therefore, CADTP accepts all of the following:
– The Breining 450 hour (45 unit) Addiction Studies Certificate (ASC) Course to prepare for initial CAODC certification;
– The Breining CE courses preparing for renewal of your CATC or CAODC certifications; and
– The Breining 9-hour Orientation Course (Breining’s “9-hour Basics Bundle”), for newly registering counselors in California.

Breining Institute courses are all recognized by CADTP for initial and renewal award of its State-approved Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CAODC) certification. Breining’s approved CE provider number with CADTP is CEU Prov. No. 161, which may be verified at the CADTP website at this link: CADTP Approved CEU Providers

Q: Does CAADE recognize courses I’ve completed through Breining Institute?

A: Yes. CAADE fully recognizes ALL formal education and continuing education (CE) courses of Breining Institute. Therefore, CAADE accepts all of the following:
– The Breining 450 hour (45 unit) Addiction Studies Certificate (ASC) Course to prepare for initial CATC certification;
– The Breining CE courses preparing for renewal of your CATC certification; and
– The Breining 9-hour Orientation Course (Breining’s “9-hour Basics Bundle”), for newly registering counselors in California.

Breining Institute courses are all recognized by CAADE for initial and renewal award of its Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC) certification.

Breining’s approved CE provider number with CAADE is CP20 956 P 0000, which may be verified at the CAADE website at this link: CAADE Approved CEU Providers

Q: Does CCAPP recognize courses I’ve completed through Breining Institute?

A: Yes. Breining Institute is a “CCAPP Approved School” (current approval through January 30, 2021) which means the CCAPP Education Institute has independently reviewed the educational content of our 45 unit (450 hour) Addiction Studies Certificate (ASC) Course formal education program and determined that it meets the requirements to earn CCAPP certification. This may be verified at the CCAPP website at this link: CCAPP Approved Schools