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 as a CAODC or CADC with CADTP or CCAPP.

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.

  • 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:

  • CADTP’s State-approved and accredited certification is the Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CAODC);
  • CCAPP’s State-approved and accredited 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, 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).
    • CCAPP currently accepts Breining Institute CE courses that were completed prior to January 1, 2018.

RECIPROCITY FOR NATIONAL / INTERNATIONAL RAS CREDENTIAL:

After you’ve earned the California CAODC 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, 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 CAADE is not, as of December 1, 2017, a State-approved AOD counselor certification agency. (MHSUDS Info Notice No. 17-067)
  • This means that if you were registered with or certified by CAADE as of November 30, 2017, you will need to transfer your registration or AOD counselor certification to another State-approved agency such as CADTP or CCAPP, or both, by your next renewal date or June 15, 2018 (whichever is sooner).
  • Both CADTP and CCAPP are offering free transfer of your current registration or CATC certification with CAADE for no cost.
    • To transfer your registration and/or certification to CADTP, you may visit its website at this link: www.cadtp.org
    • To transfer your registration and/or certification to CCAPP, you may visit its website at this link: www.ccapp.us
    • For assistance in transferring, you may also need to contact CAADE directly: www.caade.org

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions, and Answers, relating to the recent State of California CAADE notice:

Q: Which counselors are affected by the State of California notice?

A: The just announced changes to counselor certification only affect California counselors with the CAADE-issued CATC Certification, or who were registered with CAADE, as of November 30, 2017. If an individual providing alcohol and other drug (AOD) counseling services in a State of California-licensed program needs to be certified by a State-approved agency, the State notice requires only these counselors transfer their State-approved certification to CADTP or CCAPP by June 15, 2018, or their next renewal date, whichever is sooner.

Q: A couple of years ago I was awarded the CATC because I have the RAS Credential. Does this 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 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

CCAPP also accepts Breining Institute continuing education (CE) courses completed prior to January 1, 2018, and we are working with CCAPP to extend this approval for courses completed after that time.

Q: Will CAADE be reaccredited or approved by the State at a later time?

A: CAADE has stated it “fully intends to apply and be granted that status” from the State, but, at the same time, is encouraging CAADE-registered and/or certified counselors to register with either CADTP or CCAPP in the meantime, in order to remain in compliance with State law.

UPDATE April 24, 2018: CAADE announced that its certification board, the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California (ACCBC), has completed and will be formally submitting its application for the re-accreditation of the CAADE certification program ahead of the filing deadline. According to Drew Williams, ACCBC Chair, they project that the application process will take several months, but they are hoping they will be re-accredited and will receive renewed approval from the State of California to re-commence certification of California counselors in August 2018. Breining will continue to provide updates here.

Q: Is CAADE out of business, or merged with another organization?

A: No. CAADE remains a widely respected institution that, for over 30 years, has accredited and will continue to accredit quality college and career track programs throughout California, including Breining Institute and many community colleges and universities.

Q: Does the State of California notice affect any of my other certifications or credentials?

A: No. The only certification affected is the CATC certification from CAADE. None of the Breining Institute nationally and internationally-awarded credentials are affected by the State of California notice. The internationally awarded Breining Institute professional credentials, including the RAS, RAS II, RAS III, M-RAS and other advanced specialty credentials (CSC, MCA, CWTS, MATC, FAC, CCDS and CCMI), 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 this mean my CATC certification is now worthless?

A: No. All levels of the CATC certification career ladder – CATC I, II, III, IV, and V – remain widely respected certifications. Obtaining a CAODC from CADTP or a CADC from CCAPP does not invalidate your CATC certification.