Addiction Counselor Exam (ACE)

The ACE Exam was developed, reviewed and validated by nationally-recognized subject matter and psychometric experts to test for the necessary skills and knowledge of an addiction counselor professional.

  • Test whenever you are ready

  • Daily testing worldwide

  • Access exam from your own computer, tablet or phone

Select this link to sign up for the ACE Exam: ACE EXAM REQUEST FORM

Exam Content, Study Guides, On-line Tutorial

Exam Content Areas

History and Overview
Programs and Approaches
Family Roles and Systems
Human Development and Behavior
Cultural and Lifestyle Differences / Special Populations
Community Prevention and Education
Intervention and Referral
Employee Assistance Programs
The Twelve Steps in Psychotherapy
Physiology and Pharmacology of Addiction / Co-occurring Disorders / PTSD
Illicit Drug Use and Abuse
Medical Treatment and Holistic Approaches to Recovery
FAS / Hepatitis / AIDS and HIV / Communicable Diseases
Smoking and Nicotine Addictions
Eating Disorders
Gambling Disorders
Sexual Addiction
Dual Diagnosis
Role and Responsibility of the Counselor
Individual Counseling
Group Counseling
Family and Couples Counseling
Adolescent Counseling
Personal Growth for the Counselor
Professional Growth for the Counselor
Relapse and Counselor Burn Out
Therapeutic Counseling Approaches
Assertiveness for the Counselor
Laws, Ethics and Confidentiality
Prevention of Sexual Harassment
Standards for Counselor Competency and Assessment Methods

Study Guides

The exam questions are taken from the information contained within these study guides, and as highlighted in the on-line video tutorial.

If it is not in these study guides, it will not be graded on the exam.

Select the book covers to order these textbooks through the Breining Institute online Bookstore.

Breining Institute (2022). The Addiction Professional: Manual for Counselor Competency (4th Edition). Sacramento, CA: Breining Institute

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (2017). Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice. Technical Assistance Publication (TAP) Series 21. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Breining, M.J., Christopher, K.L., Russell, T.J. (Eds.) (2010). The MAT Counselor: Handbook for Certification of Counselors working in a Medication-Assisted Treatment Setting. Sacramento, CA: Breining Institute

On-line video Tutorial

This 3-part video Tutorial walks you through the textbook study guides upon which the ACE Exam was based.

We encourage you to view the videos while following along with the textbooks, highlight in your books the areas mentioned in the videos, and then go back and study those areas.

The Tutorial references The Addiction Professional, 2nd Edition, but the edition now available is The Addiction Professional, 4th Edition, which received a comprehensive update in 2022. While most of the Chapter titles in the 4th Edition are unchanged, here are some updates:

  • 2nd Edition, Chapter 1, Professional Competency and Certification, REMOVED
  • 4th Edition, Chapter 1, Primer on Addiction Medicine and the Recovery Movement, REPLACED 2nd Edition, Chapter 2, History and Overview
  • 4th Edition, Chapter 14, Medication-Assisted Treatment, ADDED
  • 4th Edition, Chapter 15, Relapse Prevention, ADDED
  • 4th Edition, Chapter 23, Co-occurring Disorders / Dual Diagnosis, RENAMED
  • 4th Edition, Chapter 31, Relapse, RENAMED
  • 4th Edition, Chapter 36, Introduction to Clinical Supervisor / Management Competency, ADDED

Remember, the exam questions are taken from the information contained within the study guides noted above. If it is not in the study guides, it will not be graded on the exam.

ACE Tutorial – Part 1
Time 10:39
ACE Tutorial – Part 2
Time 12:58
ACE Tutorial – Part 3
Time 11:45

ACE Exam Development

Select this link to review information about how the internationally-administered ACE Exam was developed: ACE Exam Development

“Addiction Counselor Exam” and “ACE” are registered marks of Breining Institute: Service Mark Reg. Nos. 68184, 304796, Class Number 41