Substance abuse counselors receive their certification from New York’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). There are four different levels of certifications available. One certification is the trainee certification, Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee (CASAC-T) which is required for the applicant to obtain prior to applying for the final certification, and Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). The following requirements are the same for both CASAC-T and
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CASAC levels of certification:
- Applicant must be at least 18 years old
- Must have a High School Diploma or a High School Equivalency (HSE)
- Be able to write and read in English efficiently at a minimum level
- Pass a background check upon application and turn in fingerprints
- OASAS 350-hour standardized training certificate OR academic transcripts showing the applicant completed the approved courses
Once the trainee completes the required education and experience for CASAC 1, they can further their education and experience to upgrade to the other CASAC certifications. The other certifications are: CASAC 2 and CASAC Advanced Level.
The first step in achieving the CASAC credential is first becoming a CASAC-T. This designation shows that the applicant is working towards becoming a fully certified CASAC. There are two different ways that the applicant can qualify for the trainee designation. The first is to achieve 350 documented education and training hours approved by OASAS. The other option is to have 4,000 work experience hours (or in some cases a master’s degree will substitute for the 4,000 hours) plus 85 clock hours of education and training experience. It is important to note that one college credit is equivalent to 15 clock hours. The required classes are:
- At least 4 hours in tobacco and nicotine dependence
- Basic Knowledge: Physical and Pharmacological Effects
- Overview of the Addictions Field
- Diversity of Intervention and Treatment Approaches
- Introduction to Diagnostic Criteria
- Knowledge of 12 Step and Mutual Aid Groups
- Toxicology Testing/Screening.
The applicant’s application will remain open for five years from initial registration. When applying, the applicant will be charged a $100 processing fee. Upon receiving the CASAC-T, the applicant has the five year time period to meet all necessary requirements for the CASAC. This designation is only given out once. If an applicant’s certification expires, they must reapply once more and submit another $100 processing fee. Under some circumstances the trainee may be granted a 3 year extension.
CASAC Level 1
At this point, the trainee will have satisfied the remaining requirements in experience and education. The experience required to become CASAC 1 is 6,000 documented hours of work experience.
Educational Requirements Level 2 and Advanced
- The CASAC 2 applicant must hold at least an associate’s degree with a focus in the field of behavioral health
- The CASAC Advanced applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree in any major field of study
- The CASAC Advanced applicant will need the Clinical Supervision Foundations I and II” completion certificate for 30 hours of additional training
- Find and take Clinical Supervision Foundations I online here: Clinical Supervision Foundations I and Clinical Supervision Foundations II here: Clinical Supervision Foundations II
Experience Requirements CASAC Level 2 and Advanced
The experience required to become CASAC 1 is 6,000 documented hours of work experience. No further work experience is required for level 2. However for the CASAC Advanced level, the applicant must complete an additional 4,000 documented hours of work experience in an OASAS approved setting. Therefore the workplace must be either a OASAS treatment center or hold a valid OASAS operating certificate.
Application & Upgrades
- The application may be found here, and is used for all levels of certifications. CASAC Application
- When a CASAC is ready to upgrade to the next level of certification, they do not need to pay further dues. They only need to turn in the proper documentation necessary and a new application.
- Applicants should mail in their filled out applications to: NYS OASAS Attn: Credentialing Unit 1450 Western Avenue Albany, New York 12203-3526
The applicant will need to take the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) Exam administered by IC&RC. There will be a one time exam fee for the computer based test of $245. Applicants who do not pass the exam will be able to retake the exam every 90 days.