Addiction Counselor Certification, New Jersey

How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor In New Jersey

The Addiction Professionals Certification Board of New Jersey (APCBNJ) offers two different credentials to substance abuse counselors practicing in the state of New Jersey. According to New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, 5,000 new counselors are needed annually. These credentials are the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC). The main difference between the two certifications is that one is simply a certification, and the other is a license that allows independent practice. With a certification, you must practice under supervision.

Both credentials will require:

  • The applicant must attend 30 alcohol and drug abuse self-help meetings. At least 5 of these meetings should be Alcoholics Anonymous. The applicant will also need to attend at least 5 Narcotics Anonymous meetings. The remaining 15 meetings may be with any group(s) the applicant chooses.
  • The applicant will need 300 supervised hours of drug and alcohol training which will cover all 12 core functions of the CADC. These core functions are: Screening, Intake, Orientation, Treatment Planning, Counseling (individual, group, and family), Assessment, Crisis intervention, Client education, Referral, Consultation, and Record keeping
  • 270 hours of alcohol and drug education. These classes may be part of a college or university program if the provider is approved by the board. You can look here at pre-approved schools and programs: Approved Providers. Otherwise they will be achieved through board approved programs. For each domain, there are 9 classes, and each class is 6 hours. The classes required will be listed below.
Addiction recovery
Addiction recovery and psychological family education
Biochemical/medical client education
Biomedical and sociocultural family education
Biopsychosocial assessment Community and professional education
Community involvement
Community resources
Compulsive gambling
Crisis intervention
Community resources
Cultural competency
Diagnostic summariess
Differential diagnosis
Dimensions of recovery
Ethical standards
Family counseling
Compulsive gambling
HIV positive resources
Individual counseling focused on addiction
Introduction to counseling
Legal aspects
Personal growth
Professional growth
Psychological client education
Psychopharmacology/physiology of addiction
Sociocultural client education
  • The qualified clinical supervisor must provide the applicant with a copy of their own certification. The supervisor’s certification will need to be turned in with the CADC applicant’s application
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Degree Requirements

The CADC only requires that the applicant have a high school diploma or equivalent. However for the LCADC the applicant must have a master’s degree or a doctorate in an addictions related field.

CADC Internship & LCADC Work Requirements

Prior to application for the CADC, the applicant must document 3,000 hours of supervised work experience in a substance abuse counseling environment. The applicant may only work 1,500 hours a year maximum. The applicant must work all necessary hours with a 5 year time span before applying. This time may be paid or voluntary.

The LCADC applicants are not required to have more work experience than the CADC. They are only required to have at least a master’s degree to qualify for LCADC application.


CADC and LCADC applicants will use the same application to apply. There is an application fee of $75. Access the forms here: Application

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After the application is approved by the board, the applicant will take the written and oral test given by the IC&RC. This will be the ADC (alcohol and drug counselor) exam. There is a fee of $216.30 when registering online. They will schedule their exam with a board member. Exams are given in Middlesex County. Typically, no one is exempt from taking the exam. The applicant will only be eligible for an exam exemption if they hold a clinical license already in the state of New Jersey. Exam study guides and candidate guides can be found here: IC&RC Study Materials. You may also take practice exams online for a fee as well in the above link.

When going to take your oral and written exam, be prepared to show your ID and the test registration letter from IC&RC’s testing company.

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