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, counselors, and clinical specialists in the field of nursing. There are options for degree programs as well as certificates depending on what someone chooses to pursue in order to be recognized for employment in these positions by the state of Idaho.

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.

Overview

Overall, to be certified 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 of Idaho. 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 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 in the state of Idaho 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 state of Idaho 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.

Certification: Educational Requirements -IBADCC

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:

CADC

Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor

ACADC

Advanced Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor

The 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 of Idaho 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).

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.

CADC Educational Requirements

Supervisory hours: Credentialing for 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 of Idaho 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 of Idaho. This includes any supervisor who holds a 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 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 of Idaho, 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 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 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

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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.

Additional Educational Requirements

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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

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Before a candidate can receive their full 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 the state of 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.

Application and Testing Eligibility for Certification

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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.

Application Renewal

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 of Idaho. 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 the state of 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

Additional Resources and 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.