Louisiana Substance Abuse Counselor Certification

Addiction Counseling Requirements, Louisiana

Louisiana is in much need for well trained substance abuse and addiction counselors. Here you will find the steps to become an addiction specialist to help patients live a happy and healthy life. The state of Louisiana is facing one of the worst parts of the current opioid epidemic in the United States. According to drugabuse.gov, Louisiana health care professionals wrote 79.4 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in the state. The national average is 51.4 opioid prescriptions per 100 people.

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Louisiana Addictive Disorder Regulatory Authority (LA-ADRA) issues certifications and licenses to substance abuse counselors within the state. They offer 4 different kinds of certification and licensure. The ADRA offers Counselor In Training (CIT) which can be held for a total of 6 years, Registered Addiction Counselor (RAC), Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC), and a Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC).

*All applicants must not currently be substance abusers or compulsive gamblers within 2 years prior to application.

Education & Degree Requirements

CIT and RAC applicants must at least hold a high school diploma. CAC applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a behavioral health field. LAC applicants need to have completed a master’s degree or higher in a behavioral health field.

All hours of education must be approved by ADRA. The CIT applicants will need to complete 180 hours of education. RACs, CACs, and LACs must complete 300 hours of education with 180 being specific to substance abuse counseling, 114 hours being related but approved the ADRA, and 6 hours in Professional Ethics.

Experience Requirements

The CIT applicants are not required to have any supervised experience prior to CIT certification. RAC applicants must successfully complete 6,000 hours of related work experience. CAC applicants must complete 4,000 hours of relevant work. The LAC must complete 2,000 hours of work experience. The RAC, CAC, and LAC must have completed a 300 hour practicum as part of the above work experience hours, with 20 hours in each of the 12 core functions of the addictions counselor. These functions are: Screening, Case Management, Intake, Crisis Intervention, Orientation, Client Education, Assessment, Referral, Treatment planning, Reports & Recordkeeping, Counseling (individual, group, family), and Consultation.


Applications for the different levels of certification may be found here: Applications. In order to apply, the counselor candidates will need to make an account with Certemy. If the applicant has not already enrolled in Certemy they must do so now to access the correct forms and payment platforms.

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Criminal Background Check

All applicants must allow ADRA to conduct a background check upon application. This background check will be conducted by Southern Research Company, Inc. They require a release form to be signed in order to legally conduct the investigation. This is the Background Investigation Release Form.

In most cases, those that have been convicted of a felony are not eligible to become a counselor. The ADRA may waive this requirement depending on the circumstances.


All tests are administered by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC). Applicants may find exam study materials, candidate guides, and practice exams on their website. These may be found here: IC&RC Exam Prep.


The counselors may find continuing applications and fees listed on the ADRA website here: Continuing Education and Fees. The CIT must be renewed annually. In order to renew this credential the applicant must take 20 hours of continuing education and send in a new application along with the verification of the correct hours. RAC, CAC, and LACs must take 48 hours of continuing education in order to qualify for renewal. Recertification applications and fees will also be submitted through Certemy.

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Age Requirements

The CIT applicants must be at least 18 years old. The RAC, CAC, and LAC require the applicant to be at least 21 years old.