Hawaii Substance Abuse Counselor Certification

Addiction Counseling Requirements, Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) provides certification to substance abuse counselors within the state. They only offer one level of certification. This certification is the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC). According to the ADAD the counselor is someone who can diagnose, plan treatment, provide counseling, and decide when a patient is ready to be discharged.

Degree Requirements & Education

The CSAC certification only requires a high school diploma at the minimum. However with different degrees the applicant can substitute their degree for required hours of work experience. The applicant is required to complete 300 hours of education. 270 of these hours must be Substance Use Disorder specific. The applicant will need to complete 6 hours of education each of the following topics: HIV & STD, SUD, Ethics, and Confidentiality.

Experience Requirements

Applicants are required to complete different hours of supervised work experience in the chemical dependency counseling field depending upon their degree level. Only work experience within the last 7 years from the time of application will be considered. 400 hours of this experience should be under direct supervision. The supervisor must document these hours and be in direct communication with the Hawaii ADAD.

  • With only a high school diploma, applicants are required to complete 6,000 hours of work experience
  • With a Bachelor’s Degree or certificate in Substance Use Disorders, applicants are required to complete 4,000 hours of work experience
  • With a Master’s Degree in behavioral health applicants need to complete 2,000 hours of work experience
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Applicants will be able to find the application online. They must print it out, fill out the forms, and mail it into ADAD at:

Quality Assurance and Improvement Office: 601 Kamokila Blvd. #360 Kapolei, HI 96707

A current copy of a government issued photo ID is required when submitting the application along with a signed copy of the Code of Ethics. Official transcripts must be mailed in. Find the application here: CSAC Application. There is an initial application fee of $25. The fee must be paid by a certified cashier’s check or money order made payable to the “State Director of Finance.” No cash or personal checks will be accepted.

The review and processing of applications may take up to 6-8 weeks. The Hawaii ADAD will contact the applicant by email if there are any missing documents from the application. If the application receives an email that their file has been opened, this essentially means the application has been approved. The applicant will then need to attend an orientation meeting.

Background Check

All applicants must undergo a criminal background check at the time of application. Applications may be denied if the applicant has been convicted of a crime that is directly tied to counseling and treatment duties. However, applicants can write a letter of explanation to the ADAD and ask them to reconsider the situation based on the nature and circumstances of the conviction.


After the applicant has met all of the CSAC’s requirements, the ADAD will then send the applicant the exam application. The required exam is provided by the IC&RC. Applicants can find study materials, candidate guides, and practice exams online here on the IC&RC’s website: IC&RC Exam Prep. The exam fee is $150. The applicant will have 3 hours to complete the exam which consists of 150 multiple choice questions. After passing the exam, the ADAD may take up to 30 days to send the applicant a verification of their credential. Upon receiving the verification email, the actual CSAC certificate should arrive in the mail within 5-10 business days.

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The CSAC credential will need to be renewed every 2 years. The counselor will need to take 40 hours of continuing education that has been approved by the ADAD. This must include 6 hours of Ethics. There is a $25 renewal fee that must be paid by cashier’s check or money order made payable to the “State Director of Finance.” Find the application here: CSAC Renewal Application. The renewal application will need to be mailed to:

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division: Attn: Certification Kakuhihewa Building 601 Kamokila Boulevard, Room 360 Kapolei, Hawaii 96707