Michigan Substance Abuse Counselor Certification

Addiction Counseling Requirements, Michigan

There is a growing need for substance abuse counselors in Michigan. As recently as 2018, there was a reported 27% increase in drug possession and related crimes within a 2 year period. Are you ready to learn how to become a substance abuse counselor? Substance abuse counselors in Michigan are provided certification through Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals (MCBAP). MCBAP offers 2 different levels of certification:

  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC)

Degree Requirements

The two levels of certification all require different degrees. The CADC does not require any degree, but it does require proof of a high school diploma. In addition to the high school diploma, the applicant will need 300 hours of education. 180 of these hours must be substance abuse disorder and counseling specific. 6 hours must be face-to-face ethics related classes.

The CAADC requires a Master’s Degree in any of the following: psychology, social work, counseling, psychiatric nursing, addiction science, or marriage and family therapy. 180 hours of the degree must be specific to substance abuse counseling and 6 hours must be face-to-face ethics related classes.

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Experience & Supervision Requirements

The CADC level requires 6,000 hours (about 3 years) of paid addiction counseling work experience. However, the required hours of work experience may change based on the applicant’s degree. For example, an Associate’s degree counts for 1,000 hours while a Bachelor’s degree counts for 2,000 hours. At this level, the applicant will need at least 300 work hours of direct supervision by a certified clinical supervisor. There must be at least 50 supervised hours in each of the following domains:

    1. Screening, Assessment, and Engagement
    2. Treatment Planning, Collaboration, and Referral
    3. Counseling and Education
    4. Professional and Ethical Responsibilities

The CAADC requires 2,000 hours of paid addiction counseling work experience post Master’s Degree and 100 work hours of direct supervision by a certified clinical supervisor. There must be at least 25 of these supervised hours in each of the above listed domains.

*All work experience must be completed within the last 10 years.


Both certifications require that the applicants apply online on the Certemy platform. The applicant can learn about and see the Certemy walk through here: Certemy Instructions. Both applications require a $150 fee. All transcripts, degrees, or diplomas must be sent to the Board directly from the school or university. It is important the applicant lives in Michigan 51% of the time. Mail application and supporting documents to 616 S. Creyts Rd, Ste A Lansing, MI 48917. Application manuals are available from the Board here:

If applying for the first time, please allow 21-42 business days. For any questions regarding the application process, applicants are welcome to contact the board via email at [email protected].


The IC&RC provides testing. They give both the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) Exam as well as the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) Exam. In order to take the exam, the applicant must first submit the IC&RC Registration Application. It can be obtained through the Board directly. Upon filling it out, mail the application and the $175 exam fee (must be check or money order) to the Board. This must be done 6 weeks before the exam date. Many testing sites are open during the weekend, providing those with week day jobs more flexibility. Testing is computer based, so the applicant will be able to find out their results immediately.

If rescheduling is necessary after confirming a test date, the applicant can reschedule up to 5 days before the original test date. However there will be a $25 fee for rescheduling. Applicants can find study materials on the IC&RC’s website here: Exam Prep Materials

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Once the counselor is certified, they will need to renew their certification every 2 years though they have the option to choose to renew every 3 years. The counselor is required to take 40 hours of continuing education. 50% of the hours must be substance abuse specific. There is a $200 renewal fee for a three-year renewal or $145 renewal fee for the two-year renewal. Upon mailing in renewal documents please allow the Board 14-21 business days to process the renewal.