Are you considering becoming a substance abuse counselor in Arkansas? Arkansas is ranked 2nd in the country for over-prescribing opioid medication. Arkansas health care providers prescribe 114.6 opioid prescriptions per 100 people. That is more painkillers than people! The national average rests at 66.5 prescriptions per 100 people. Unfortunately, over-prescription is a contributing factor to addiction disorders and adds to the need of addiction counselors. Do you want to find out how to become a substance abuse counselor in your state?
The Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board (ASACB) issues certifications within the state. The two available certifications are the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) and the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC).
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Degree Requirements & Education
The ADC does not have to have a degree, but they must have a high school diploma. If the ADC applicant does have a degree it may be able to be substituted for hours of required work experience. AADC applicants must have a Master’s Degree in a Behavioral Health field or a Human Services field.
ADC applicants must complete 300 clock hours of education related to the substance abuse disorder field. 6 of these hours must be in Ethics. AADC applicants will need to complete 180 clock hours of education related to the substance abuse field with at least 6 hours in co-occurring disorders ethics. Applicants will need to make sure their education program and hours are approved by the Board.
The ADC applicants as well as the AADC applicants are required to complete a 300 hour supervised practicum. This practicum will integrate skills and knowledge of 12 core functions of the ADC into practice. These 12 core functions are: Screening, Case Management, Intake, Crisis
Intervention, Orientation, Client Education, Assessment, Referral, Treatment
planning, Reports and Recordkeeping, Counseling (individual, group, and family), and Consultation. The practicum should occur where there is substance abuse counseling taking place. Practicum training hours must be directly supervised by a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) that is registered with the Board. This supervision can be one on one supervision or group supervision. The practicum training hours can be counted towards the required work experience hours.
The ADC applicant will need to work 6,000 hours (or 3 years) in an addictions counseling environment. If the ADC applicant has an Associate’s Degree this will count for 1,000 hours of the required work experience; if the applicant has a Bachelor’s Degree this will count for 2,000 hours; and if the applicant has a Master’s Degree this will count for 4,000 hours of work experience. The AADC will need to complete 2,000 hours (or 1 year) of work in the addictions field. This experience can be either paid or volunteer work. The applicant will need to be working under somebody who has a Master’s Certification, is an AADC, or is a CCS.
All applicants will need to contact the Board when they are ready to apply. They will be given credentials to log onto “Certemy” where they will fill out forms and applications online.
All applicants are required to undergo a criminal background check in order to be eligible to be considered as a counselor. The applicant will need to fill out and notarize this form: Background Check Form. There is a fee of $25 which will need to be paid by money order or check that should be made out to Arkansas State Police.
Both certifications require that the applicant pass an exam by the IC&RC. The ADC applicant will need to take and pass the ADC Exam and the AADC applicant will need to take and pass the AADC Exam. There will be a $250 testing fee. The IC&RC has candidate guides, study materials, and online practice exams available here: IC&RC Exam Prep.
Counselors will need to apply for certification renewal every 2 years. The counselors will need to take 40 hours of continuing education.