Rhode Island Substance Counselor Certification

How To Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Rhode Island

Have you been wondering how to become a substance abuse counselor in Rhode Island? Look no further. Addiction counselors in Rhode Island are provided certification by the Rhode Island Certification Board (RICB). The Board offers 3 different levels of certification. These are: Provisional Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PADC), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC).

Degree Requirements & Education

The PADC and CADC certifications only require the applicant to hold a high school diploma or GED. CAADC applicants must have a Master’s Degree in a behavioral health field.

The PADC certification requires that the applicant complete 140 total hours of education related to substance abuse counseling. The CADC applicant must take 300 hours of formal education. 120 of these hours must be substance abuse counseling specific. CAADC applicants are required to only complete 180 hours of education. All applicants will need to take 6 hours of each of the following classes: Professional Ethics & Responsibilities, Confidentiality Laws, Communicable Diseases, and Medication Assisted Treatment.

Work Experience Requirements & Supervision

The PADC certification requires the applicant to complete at least 2,000 hours of supervised work experience. They must obtain 150 hours of direct supervised work experience with 10 hours in each domain. The domains are: Screening, Assessment, & Engagement, Treatment Planning, Collaboration, & Referral, Counseling, and Professional & Ethical Responsibilities. The required hours for CADC applicants varies depending on the level of education achieved. If the applicant holds a(n):

  • High School Diploma the applicant must work 6,000 hours with 300 hours of direct supervision
  • Associate’s Degree the applicant must work 5,000 hours with 250 hours of direct supervision
  • Bachelor’s Degree the applicant must work 4,000 hours with 200 hours of direct supervision
  • Master’s Degree the applicant must work 2,000 hours with 100 hours of direct supervision
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Those who are looking to achieve their CAADC will need to complete 2,000 hours of work experience in the substance abuse counseling field with just 100 hours of direct supervision.


Applications can be mailed to RICB, 298 S. Progress Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17109, faxed to 717-540-4458, or emailed (PDF files only) to [email protected]. Because faxing is not always reliable, applicants should call and make sure their application was received by the Board. Official transcripts must be mailed directly to the Board from the educational institution. Applicants must be employed at the time of application and submit a summary of their current work duties. The employer should provide this short summary for the Board. This document must be signed and dated by the employer. If the applicant has been accused of committing a felony, the applicant should write a letter explaining the circumstances for the Board and turn it in at the time of application. Allow the Board 5-10 business days before inquiring about the status of the application.

Application fees vary depending on the level of certification. Application fees may be paid by credit card, money order, or check. Half of the application fee is refundable if the application is denied.

  • PADC- $200 Application Fee
  • CADC- $350 Application Fee
  • CAADC- $350 Application Fee ($250 if upgrading from CADC)


  • PADC Application
  • CADC Application
  • CAADC Application


All exams are administered by the IC&RC. The PADC certification does not require applicants to pass an exam. The CADC certification does require that the applicants pass the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) Exam. The CAADC certification requires the applicant to pass the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) Exam. The IC&RC provides study material on their website such as candidate guides and online practice exams (for a fee): IC&RC Exam Prep. If the applicant must cancel their exam for whatever reason, there is a $150 cancellation fee. If the applicant needs to retest, there is also a $150 retest fee.

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Since the PADC is entry level, the certification expires after 2 years and cannot be renewed. The PADC is expected to upgrade to CADC or CAADC within the 2 year time period. If the PADC does not upgrade, they will have to reapply for PADC certification. The CADC and CAADC certifications must be renewed every 2 years. Recertification applications must be submitted no later than 3 months before the expiration of the certification. CADCs and CAADCs must take 40 hours of continuing education in order to qualify for renewal. 30 hours must be substance abuse counseling specific and 3 hours must be in ethics. Counselors are not required to turn in proof of completing the continuing education. The Board issues random audits upon renewal applications. Only when the counselor’s application is audited will they be required to provide certificates of completion for the continuing education to the Board. The renewal fee is $150. Recertification Application