What does an Addiction Counselor in Idaho do? What is Their Job Role?

There are specific state-requisitioned guidelines to practice in the state of Idaho as a substance abuse counselor in programs related to behavioral health. The specific titles that fall into this category include clinical social workers, substance abuse counselors, and clinical specialists in the field of nursing. There are options for alcohol and drug counselor degree programs as well as certificates depending on what someone chooses to pursue in order to be recognized for employment in these positions.

The Idaho Board of Alcohol/Drug Counselor Certification (IBADCC) is the primary issuant of certificates in this state. It consists of approximately 60-70 board members who hold titles on the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) which is a global group of nearly 50,000 professionals in this field who gather to discuss and agree upon the standards that should be set within the field of counseling and social work for certifying potential counseling and substance abuse professionals for the sake of public safety.

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Overall, to become a certified alcohol drug counselor CADC in the area of substance abuse counseling, an individual must meet requirements that entail observation under professional supervision along with educational minimum standards set by respective substance abuse programs based on their accreditation by the state. Many individuals who are in the process of pursuing a certificate or degree in the field of substance abuse counseling can hold the title of Qualified Substance Use Disorders Trainee and work in a clinical setting under supervision from a certified alcohol and drug counselor or degreed professional. This leads to the examination process and full licensure.

Sometimes, other state-approved institutional groups like Optum Idaho which is a healthcare service for patients seeking outpatient care may ask for some additional certification or professional requirements in order to be listed as a provider with their program.

Even though the state of Idaho only requires certification for substance abuse counselors including the licensing law for professional counseling, many people choose to continue their professional development and pursue a master’s degree in the field as well as licensing.

Licensing & Certifications for Associates & Independent Counselors

There are two types of certifications that an individual can pursue in order to earn the title of Qualified Substance Use Disorder Professional. The Idaho Board of Alcohol/Drug Counselor Certification (IBADCC) has identified these professional positions as follows:


Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor


Advanced Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor

The alcohol drug counselor CADC certification has no degree requirement but adds on more clock hours of supervision in a clinical environment of a minimum of 270 hours. The clinical settings are set by the IC&RC. The state has also set differing minimum clinical hours based on the actual clinical environment in which an individual is being supervised (see link below).

If an individual pursues a master’s degree in behavioral science, they can also qualify for the ACADC certificate. This will also include clinical hours.

The degrees are in the area of behavioral science and are as follows:

  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Counseling
  • Alcohol/Drug Counseling Studies
  • Sociology

Educationally, requirements set by the IBADCC vary depending upon the institution or organization an individual is registered and studying within the counseling program. This also affects the number of clinical hours that can be earned. The type of educational programs this effects are college programs, seminars, in-service, and a variety of organizational workshops. The IBADCC only allows up to five clinical hours for in-service counseling as credit toward a certificate.

The IBADCC will approve certain hours connected to specific workshops within a prescribed list of organizations. This approved list is through the IC&RC, the Association of Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), and the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare. Additionally, you can seek approval for clinical hours through The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) if this is your specific field of study or the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

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All clinical clock hours that are completed need to be verified through a copy of a completion certificate signed and dated by the appropriate supervisors in the clinical setting. This includes any clinical hours done through a university or college clinical course each credit hour in that course is equal to 15 clock hours in the field. Sometimes, an official transcript directly from the college or university may have to be included with the certificate of completion. Note that practicum hours are usually considered work experience but not as clinical hours.

CACREPLicensure and Certification IBADCC

Supervisory hours: Credentialing for a alcohol drug counselor CADC candidate occurs only after 300 hours of approved supervision is completed. This can be an informal clinical setting or a formal program in a college certification program. As long as the state recognizes the entity as one of its approved organizations, it is acceptable for supervisory hour credits. A specific supervisor must also meet the standards set by the state. This includes any supervisor who holds a alcohol drug counselor CADC level certificate who must have at least three years of professional experience in counseling in order to be recognized as an approved supervisor.

Work experience: If a alcohol drug counselor CADC candidate does not have a behavioral science degree, then the approved work experience hours are a minimum of 6,000 hours in a clinically-approved environment. If the CADC candidate has a graduate-level behavioral science degree that is verified by the state, then this requirement drops to 2,000 hours in the field.

ACADC Educational Requirements

Supervisory hours: ACADC candidates are required to complete 2,000 clinical hours under supervision and practicum hours of at least 300 for this certification. These 300 hours must show a minimum of 10 hours of supervision within each of the 12 Core Functions of certified alcohol and drug abuse counseling.

Work experience: If the 2,000 hours being submitted are from work experience, they must be with clients that are diagnosed within the 12 Core Functions of certified alcohol and drug abuse counselors.

Supervisors must meet more stringent qualifications to be considered qualified to assess ACADC candidates. They must show proof of at least 180 hours of education with 30 hours each in the prescribed IC&RC Performance Domains and Tasks.

Definition of Supervision


The general definition of supervision as set forth by IBADCC is being assessed by a recognized professional in the field of substance and abuse counseling who will assess the skill level and development of either a CADC or ACADC candidate on how well they can incorporate their knowledge into real-world clinical environments. This can include multiple supervisors or clinics who specialize in different areas of the 12 Core Functions of alcohol and drug abuse training.

Definition of Work Experience

This can be either full time or part-time employment as well as a paid or volunteer position. Practicum hours associated with a college or certification program can also be considered as work experience. Volunteering at substance abuse meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous does not count as work experience according to the standards set by the IBADCC.

Education Requirements


Both the CADC and ACADC professional must show proof of at least 6 hours of completion of the Professional and Ethical Responsibilities training that is specific to all substance abuse counseling programs. This requirement is a federal and state law that deals with understanding the needs of a substance abuse client and their overall welfare, a minimum understanding of the professional competence required in the field of substance abuse counseling, and a knowledge of the communication needed between substance abuse professionals and the clinics that they refer their clients to for care.

ISAS Eligibility


Before a candidate can receive their full substance abuse certification, they are considered an Idaho Student of Addiction Studies (ISAS). The ISAS certification was created by the IBADCC in cooperation with the Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare, and the Idaho IMS Consortiums which helps the state’s educational department to create more personalized learning curriculums. The “trainee” title allows for a more individualized assessment of the candidate’s level of knowledge and skillset development as they work in their field of study. This is not a title that is recognized by the IC&RC in all states, so it does not qualify a candidate to practice anywhere as a certified trainee except in Idaho.

Academic Requirements for ISAS Approval

Each candidate for the ISAS certificate must how a passing grade of “C” or better in the following courses which include clinical time ranging from 15-45 clock hours:

  • Intro to Drug and Society
  • Blood-Borne Pathogen Studies
  • Blood-Borne Pathogen Studies
  • Techniques in Counseling
  • Pharmacology
  • Client Assessment
  • Case Management
  • Ethics
  • Client Screening

The total of credits and clock hours for these courses is as follows: 22 credits and a minimum of 315 clinical hours.

CACREP Accredited Online Certification


Two types of accreditation are recognized in the United States; institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation takes the entire institution into account while the specialized focus on professional preparation programs. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is a specialized accreditation that focuses on master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling at colleges and universities worldwide. Only already-accredited institutions are eligible for CACREP review. The review for accreditation will center on programs offering graduate degrees in counseling.

Choosing a CACREP-accredited program ensures that the program meets the highest of quality standards. Many counseling specialties are accredited bythe CACREP, including addiction counseling. Accredited addiction counseling programs prepare individuals to work with those affected by addictive behavior and their families. Addictive behaviors include alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, sex, and anything else that negatively affects your personal or work life by creating addiction behaviors.

CACREP-accredited programs will focus on treatment models and the phases of addiction including prevention, recovery, and relapse prevention. These 60-semester hour programs will include the application of interventions. When students choose a CACREP-accredited program they can be confident that:

  • the program meets or exceeds national standards
  • the program will focus on professional counseling rather than psychology oreducation
  • the program has an excellent reputation
  • CACREP graduates statistically receive higher scores on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).
  • the requirements for licensure will be met.

State Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists

The Idaho State Licensing Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists exists to regulate mental health practitioners in the state. By regulating licensure and monitoring licensees the Board strives to ensure that standards and ethical practices are followed. The Board oversees licensure, renewals, and inspections of establishments that offer counseling services.


700 West State Street
Boise, ID 83702


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Website Address



  • Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Registered Counselor Intern (RI)

(CACREP) or (CORE) Licensure and Certification


Each of the CADC and ACADC candidates can find the complete application process in the IBADCC handbook. Each certificate requirement is presented in separate guidelines in the handbook. The application fee for either certification is a total of $315 for the application and examination fee. Study guides and practice exams are available through the IC&RC for both types of certifications.

Because the IBADCC is a non-profit organization which is a member of the IC&RC, the final certifications must be ordered through them. The IC&RC does not mail completed professional certificates. A CADC or ACADC candidate can only do the testing for professional certification after their application has been approved and not before. Once a candidate passes the certification exam, they must renew their certificate every two years.

Renewal and Continuing Education

If an individual is renewing their application based on holding a certificate already, then the renewal applications must have a postmark that shows a date before the certificate has expired in the state. Expired certificates will incur a grace-period fee which lasts for up to 60 days. After this, a certificate is considered to have lapsed and the individual cannot practice in Idaho until the certificate is properly renewed.

Other Accepted Addiction Counseling Certifications for Application Approval

  • The state of Idaho has accepted the Master Addiction Counselor (NBCC) certification (only for renewal applicants)
  • Current approval from the Northwest Indian Alcohol/Drug Certification Board

Potential Counselor Career Path Options

  • Addiction Counselor
  • Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor
  • Behavioral Health Specialist
  • Certified Addiction Drug and Alcohol Counselor
  • Chemical Dependency Counselor
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • School Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Counselor

Associations & Organizations

In Idaho, there are several organizations that can help and support addiction counselors. You can find the State of Idaho minimum supervision requirements, testing locations and much more on the IBADCC website, and additional information at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

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