Maryland Substance Counselor Licensure & Certification

How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor in Maryland

Substance abuse counselors in Maryland are provided certification and licensure by the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists(MDH). There are 3 certification levels: Alcohol & Drug Trainee (ADT), Certified Supervised Counselor-Alcohol & Drug (CSC-AD) , and Certified Associate Counselor-Alcohol & Drug (CAC-AD). The Board also provides 2 different licenses to addiction counselors: Licensed Graduate Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LGADC) and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC). Are you wondering how to become a substance abuse counselor in Maryland? Here we will explain the requirements and process of being certified or licensed in your state.

Degree Requirements & Education

ADT applicants are not required to have a degree but are required to obtain a certain amount of education. If the ADT applicant does not hold an Associate’s Degree, they must have completed at least 15 semester credits in the Alcohol and Drug counseling area and at least 1 credit in the Alcohol and Drugs Ethics. If the ADT applicant does have an Associate’s Degree, they will only need that degree and 1 credit in Alcohol and Drugs Ethics. CSC-AD applicants must hold an Associate’s Degree in a human services related field. CAC-AD applicants will need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in substance use disorder, counseling, or a related field approved by the Board. LGADC and LCADC applicants must hold a Master’s Degree or higher in a health or human services counseling field.

Experience Requirements

The ADT certification does not require any experience. The CSC-AD applicants must complete a 1,000 hour internship. The CAC-AD certification does require the applicant to complete at least 2,000 hours of supervised work experience in the substance abuse counseling field. LGADC applicants will need to complete a 1,000 hour internship under a Board approved supervisor. LCADC applicants will need to complete 2,000 hours of supervised work experience after they have received their Master’s Degree.

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Application & Background Check

All applications and fees (must be check or money order) must be submitted via mail. They should be mailed to Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, Attn: Tawana Brown, Alcohol and Drug Trainee Coordinator, 4201 Patterson Avenue, Suite 316 Baltimore, MD 21215. All applicants must provide a current photo on their application. Applications must be notarized. At the time of application, the applicant should have already registered for a criminal background check. The form for the background check can be found here: Criminal Background Check Form. A copy of the receipt from the background check must be submitted with the application. The ADT, CSC-AD, and CAC-AD have an application fee of $150. The LGADC and LCADC application fees are $200. Allow 30 days from the date of application submission for the Board to process the application. Applications can be found just below.


For the ADT certification there is no required exam. For the rest of the certifications and licenses, the exams will be administered by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC). The CSC-AD applicants will need to take and pass the NCAC I Exam. The CAC-AD applicants must take and pass the NCAC II Exam. The LGADC and LCADC applicants will need to take the MAC Exam. In addition to these exams, the counselors (except ADT) will also have to take and pass the Maryland Law Assessment (MLA). The MLA can be taken online here: CCE Academy. The MLA can be taken prior to application with the Board. The certificate of passing should be submitted with the application. MLA certificates are only valid for 1 year from the date of the exam.

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All certifications must be renewed every 2 years. The ADT credential may only be renewed 3 times as it will expire indefinitely after 6 years. The ADT recertification fee is $200. The Board recommends applying within 6 months prior to the credential’s expiration date to ensure the renewal takes place within the required time frame. Find the recertification form here: ADT Recertification Form for all other certification and licenses