West Virginia Substance Abuse Certification

Addiction Studies Resources, West Virginia

How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor In West Virginia

Are you wondering how to become a substance abuse counselor in West Virginia? Who provides licensure? The West Virginia Certification Board for Addiction & Prevention Professionals (WVCBAPP) provides certification to addiction counselors within the state. The Board offers 2 different levels of certification. These levels of certification are Alcohol & Drug Counselor (ADC) and Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (AADC).

Degree Requirements & Education

The ADC certification only requires the applicant to have a high school diploma. A college degree is not required, however a degree may substitute for required supervision hours. The AADC certification requires the applicant to hold a Master’s Degree.

The ADC applicants will be required to complete 300 clock hours of education and/or training. 70 hours must be substance abuse counseling related. AADC applicants will also be required to complete 300 clock hours of education and/or training. 180 of these hours must be substance abuse counseling related. For both ADC and AADC applicants, 6 hours in professional ethics is required. One 3 hour college course is equivalent to 45 clock hours of education/training. Official transcripts must be mailed in a sealed envelope to the Board to be accepted.

Work Experience Requirements & Supervision

The ADC applicants must work 6,000 hours or 36 months in the field of substance abuse counseling. The ADC must have 6 years of general work experience, 3 years must be substance abuse counseling specific. AADC applicants will need to also complete 6,000 hours or 36 months of work experience in the field of substance abuse counseling. This work all must be addiction specific. No more than 2,000 hours should be completed within 12 months. At least 10 hours should be documented in each of the 4 domains:

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


Applications should be mailed in to WEST VIRGINIA CERTIFICATION BOARD FOR ADDICTION AND PREVENTION PROFESSIONALS, 436 12th Street, Suite C DUNBAR, WV 25064. Applications must be typed and printed off. A valid government issued photo ID copy must be sent in with the application. The applicant and their supervisor will both be required to fill out and sign the supervision form within the application. The application must be notarized. Applicants must also sign and agree to the Ethics page within the application. There is a $75 application fee for both the ADC and AADC certification. Those that wish to upgrade from ADC to AADC only must pay a $25 fee. The Board recommends that applicants pay the required fees over Paypal. However, the Board does accept money orders and cashier’s checks. Initial applications as well as renewal applications can be downloaded from this page: WVCBAPP Applications.

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The Board will review all applications and inform the applicant if they are missing any necessary items. Additional late fees may apply for missing items. All applicants have 2 years from the date of application approval to take the required exam.


The Board is a member of the IC&RC. Exams are administered by the Board on behalf of the IC&RC. The ADC applicants will take the ADC Exam. The AADC applicants will take the AADC Exam. These are multiple choice exams.

After the Board has processed the application, the applicant will receive an email informing the applicant whether their application was approved or not. If the application was approved, the Board will pre-register the applicant to take the computer-based test. The applicant will need to then pay the Board an exam fee. The applicants may find candidate guides, study material, and online practice exams for a fee available here: IC&RC Exam Prep.


Counselors must renew their credentials every 2 years to keep an active certification. Recertification applications must be turned in no later than August 30th of the year of expiration. Reminders are sent by the Board via email in the month of June the year of expiration. To qualify for renewal, counselors must take 40 hours of continuing education. 6 hours must be addiction specific. Another 6 hours must be addiction ethics specific. If the hours are solely “ethics” specific, these hours will not meet the requirements. Proof of continuing education must be submitted with renewal applications. This can be a certificate of completion, transcripts, or other means of documentation. If counselors do not postmark their recertification applications by August 30th, there will be a $75 late fee. If the application is not received on time, the counselor’s credential will become inactive until renewal. Recertification applications are available on the link listed under “Application.”