As of recently, 13.3% of Alaska’s residents reported using at least one of these substances within the last month: Alcohol, marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, prescription drugs and cocaine. There is a serious problem here, and addictions counselors are desperately needed. Are you ready to learn how to become a substance abuse counselor in Alaska?
The Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification provides counselors with the required certification to practice within the state. There are 4 different levels of certification available. These are: Counselor Technician (CT), Chemical Dependency Counselor I (CDC I), Chemical Dependency Counselor II (CDC II), and Chemical Dependency Clinical Supervisor (CDCS).
Degree Requirements & Education
Unlike most states, Alaska offers the same opportunities for those with a degree and without. The only difference is that applicants without a degree will be required to complete more work experience hours than those that hold a degree.
The first level of certification, CT, without a degree, requires the applicant to complete 84 hours of education in these fields: Ethics, Confidentiality, Infectious Diseases & HIV, Intro to Addictive Behavior, Documentation, Crisis Intervention, Intro To Client Centered Counseling, Intro To Group Counseling, Working With Diverse Populations, Community Resources Use & Case Management, Recovery, Health, Wellness, and Balance. The CT with a degree only needs to take 20 hours of education. Those classes required are: Confidentiality, Infectious Diseases & HIV, and Intro to Addictive Behavior.
- CDC I without a degree requires the following classes: Psycho-physiology, Motivational Interviewing, DSM Practice, ASAM Practice, and Co-Occurring Disorders CDC I with a degree requires the applicant only complete the same required classes as the CT with a degree, listed above.
- CDC II without and with a degree must take all the courses for the CT and CDC I without a degree, and these classes in addition: Special Issues In Behavioral Health Services and Documentation Quality Assurance.
- CDCS with and without a degree will be required to take Principles of Practice & Supervision.
- CTs are not required to complete any practicum or experience requirements.
- CDC I without a degree needs 4,000 hours (about 2 years) of work experience in the addictions field. With a degree, the applicant needs to work 2,000 hours (1 year). 100 of these hours must be supervised practicum.
- CDC II without a degree needs 8,000 hours of work experience in the field. With a degree the applicant needs only 6,000 hours. Once again, a 100 hour practicum will be required.
- CDCS without a degree needs to complete 12,000 hours in the chemical dependency field. With a degree, the applicant needs only to complete 10,000 hours. 100 more hours of supervised practicum is also needed.
In order to apply, applicants will need to print the relevant form from the Board’s website. In addition to filling out the forms, the applicants will need to have 3 different references. Within the application are the required reference forms. For CDC I, CDC II, and CDCS, one of these references must be a supervisor. When the reference has filled out the sheets, they must directly mail them to the Board.
When submitting the application, it is important the applicants also submit a copy of their state ID and sign a background check disclosure sheet. The fee must also be mailed in with the application. The CT fee is $180, the CDC I fee is $195, the CDC II fee is $210, and the CDCS fee is $230.
The CT and CDC I certification does not have a required exam. CDC II and CDCS are able to take any of the following exams: NCAC I, NCAC II, and the MAC Exam. These exams are administered by the Board on behalf of National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).
All levels of certification will need to be renewed every 2 years. All counselors will need to complete 40 hours of continuing education which must include at least 3 hours in Ethics and Confidentiality. Each level requires a different recertification fee. They are as follows: the CT fee is $165, CDC I fee is $180, CDC II fee is $195, and the CDCS fee is $215.