Florida has much need for practicing addiction counselors. In the state of Florida there are three different levels of certifications that are available to those who want to become a substance abuse counselor. Each level requires a different level of education and experience. The three certifications are CAC, CAP and MCAP. Each have specific requirements to practice as a substance abuse counselor and/or addiction specialist in Florida.
Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC)
A CAC is an intermediate substance abuse counselor certification. This certification allows the CAC to work under the supervision of and with other clinical staff. They will assist in developing treatment plans for patients and provide treatment. All CAC applicants will also automatically earn the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) Credential. The ADC is equivalent to the CAC to individuals transferring in from out of state. The ADC certification will be available to CAC applicants at no extra cost.
Work experience requirements for the CAC are dependent upon the level of education. The lowest level of education needed for this certification is a High School Diploma/GED.
- With a High School Diploma/GED the applicant will need 6,000 hours of documented related work experience
- With an Associate’s Degree the applicant will need 5,000 hours of documented related work experience
- With a Bachelor’s Degree in a related field, the applicant will need 4,000 hours of documented related work experience
- With a Master’s Degree or higher in a related field, the applicant will need 2,000 hours of documented related work experience
Certified Addiction Professional (CAP)
A CAP is a professional substance abuse counselor certification. This certification allows the counselor to work in a licensed substance abuse disorder treatment program in Florida.
Unlike the CAC, the level of education is not dependent on the work experience hours required.
- Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field
- Applicants are required to have 6,000 hours of addiction specific work experience
Master’s Level Certified Addiction Professional (MCAP)
A MCAP is the most advanced professional certification a substance abuse counselor in Florida can receive. This certification allows the counselor to work in a licensed substance abuse disorder treatment program.
The MCAP certification is the highest level of certification and thus requires a graduate degree.
- Applicants must have a master’s degree or higher in a related field
- Applicants are required to have 4,000 hours of professional level addiction specific work experience
Work Experience Requirements
*It is important to note that volunteer hours and non-clinical internships do not count towards the required hours of experience.
*The work experience hours required must have been earned in the last 5 years.
Criminal Background Check
Forms & Application
To apply, first create an account with the Florida Certification Board. Find all of the necessary forms for applications for each certification here. Upon filling out the application, make sure the required fee is paid as well. On the below links there is access to the mandatory forms as well as candidate guides for each level of certification.
The CAC, CAP, and MCAP exams will be scheduled with the applicant’s designated Certification Specialist after turning in their application, paying application fee, and passing the background check. Exam fees will be addressed with the Certification Specialist. Study resources are available below.
All levels of certification under the Florida Certification Board must renew their certifications on an annual basis. The renewal period is May 1-June 30. Counselors can still renew their certifications during a “late period” which lasts from July 1-31. However when renewing during the late period, the counselor will be required to pay a $50 late fee.