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How To Become An Addiction Counselor In Florida

The Cap Certification Requirements

Understanding Addiction Counselor Certification

Formal education requirements

Bachelors degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Candidates with degrees in related social fields such as psychology, mental health, or family counseling may have lower experience and clinical supervision requirements later in the process.

Competency Training- Applicants must show that they have completed 350 hours of coursework covering nine areas of professional competence. They can apply college credits without time limit, but they must apply training hours performed within ten years of the date of application. The below-listed items describe the required competencies and training hours required for CAP certification.

  • Counseling requires 50 hours of coursework or equivalent
  • Clinical evaluation – 35 credit hours or equivalent
  • Treatment planning 20 hours of coursework
  • Case management and referral 10 credit hours or equivalent
  • Education 15 hours or equivalent in coursework
  • Professional and educational responsibilities 30 hours of coursework
  • Documentation 15 class credit hours or equivalent
  • Administrative supervision 15 hours or equivalent
  • Addiction and treatment knowledge 80 hours of coursework
  • Application to practice 80 hours of coursework or equivalent

The Masters Certified Addiction Professional Requirements

This important credential certifies the capability to assess, develop, and provide treatment services and treatment plans. They must have a masters degree or higher in substance abuse counseling or a closely related field of study. MCAP certified persons are qualified professionals within the meaning of Chapter 397, Florida Statutes. They have the legal authority to make substance abuse diagnosis for purposes of the Florida Medicaid Plan. MCAP holders can apply for the IC& RC ADC credential for use in other jurisdictions outside of Florida.

You can upgrade a CAP certification, transfer a qualified professional license to the MCAP program, and apply as a standard applicant. The certification requires proof of supervised training and educational achievement.

Become A Substance Abuse Counselor In Florida

To become an addiction counselor in Florida, its important to first hear the call to the profession. After all, addictions counseling is not like other jobs. These mental health professionals have a workplace that demands everything from them. They must have deep knowledge of psychology, the nature of addiction, counseling methods and theories, as well as other topics such as legal and ethical matters. If that weren’t enough, they should also be ready to put themselves on the line. They must have both strong personal boundaries and deep compassion and empathy for the addicts they treat. It’s also vital to have a non-judgmental attitude, as many addicts have done some things that many find distasteful.

Therefore, many find the profession to be a calling and a labor of love more than just a way to make a paycheck. Students who are considering the field should thus do some deep soul searching to discover whether or not the field is really for them. For some, they are called to addiction counseling as a result of having achieved sobriety themselves. It is very common for recovered addicts to have a strong desire to help their fellows who are still struggling. There are also those who have seen a friend or loved one achieve sobriety and are thus inspired to join the battle against substance abuse.

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What Do Substance Abuse Counselors Do

Substance abuse counselors are employed at government agencies, clinics, hospitals, outpatient treatment centers, nonprofits, and residential treatment programs. Most substance abuse counselors are trained to provide services based on 12 core functions.

Duties can vary based on place of employment, level of license or certification, or job description, but they typically include:

  • Providing patient screening
  • Performing a thorough client intake
  • Giving clients program orientation
  • Assessing patients therapeutic needs through one-on-one counseling sessions
  • Writing treatment plans to help clients meet their therapeutic goals
  • Counseling clients in individual and group settings
  • Providing regular case management to ensure clients access all the services they need to be successful
  • Offering crisis intervention when necessary
  • Educating clients and family members on substance abuse disorders
  • Referring clients to other providers when necessary
  • Maintaining client records

Renewing Addiction Counseling Certification

Married To An Addict

Certifications must be renewed every two years. Additionally, there are several requirements for continuing education credits that counselors must complete to renew their certifications. For each of the three NAADAC certifications, renewal requires 40 hours of continuing education every two years. Counselors must also provide their work history for the last two years.

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How To Become A Certified Addiction Counselor

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Addiction professionals are always in demand to close the treatment gap found in many communities across the United States. This review covers how to become a certified addiction counselor, including what education and experience are required.

What Is The Job Outlook For Counselors In Florida

The job outlook for counselors in Florida is promising with all types of counseling careers expected to grow above the national average through 2026.6 Projections from 2016-2026 suggest that the highest number of new positions will be available for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors as well as the highest number of average annual openings . The second-highest number of new positions are projected for Marriage and Family Therapists with 510 average annual openings across the state.6

References: 1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: 2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Marriage and Family Therapists: 3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors: 4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Rehabilitation Counselors: 5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Counselors, All Other: 6. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections 2016-2026:

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Earn The Degree Required For Your Counseling Practice Area

Most counseling careers require at least a masters degree in a related field for licensure. Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are required to have a masters degree with coursework in specific areas. A prospective school counselor must have an approved masters degree that covers topics relevant to guidance counseling and student welfare. The Florida Certification Board offers three substance abuse counselor licenses that require a minimum of a high school diploma all the way up to a relevant masters degree, depending on the type of licensure.

Substance Abuse Counselor Specialties

AllCEUs Addiction Counselor Certification Training Programs

Students specialize in a topic by selecting a concentration for their studies. Keep in mind that schools offer a unique set of concentrations, and some colleges and universities do not offer concentrations at all. Programs that do not offer concentrations often allow students to tailor their studies with a minor.

Examples of ideal concentrations for prospective substance abuse counselors include alcoholism, adolescent addiction, and mental health. Individuals pursuing a concentration in alcohol addiction learn about topics like genetic predisposition and the physical effects of alcohol.

Students focusing on adolescent addiction learn about how drugs and alcohol impact a developing brain. A mental health concentration emphasizes how substances detrimentally affect mental health and how some mental health disorders lead to substance abuse.

Individuals can also specialize in a topic by earning a certification from a professional organization.

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The Certified Addiction Counselor Cac Certification Requirements

Certified Addiction Counselors must have a high school diploma or equivalent. The college education levels reduce the training and work experience requirements.

The certified addiction counselor CAC level requires a High School education or equivalent. Many applicants have associates or bachelors degrees, and the system reduces their work experience, supervised training, and competency training hours based on their level of formal education.

Certified Recovery Support Specialist Requirements

The Support Specialist is an ideal vehicle for gaining entry level into the filed. It is appropriate for recovered addicts and those with personal experience in drug or alcohol addictions such as family members of recovered addicts. Recovered addicts are an essential part of treatment, particularly in group settings. Counselors offer information and apply approved techniques to promote recovery. Recovered addicts can speak with a voice of authenticity that can reach many recovering addicts. Support specialists support the work of professionals and counselors.

  • The CRSS education requirement is a minimum of high school diploma or GED. The certificate requires 75 hours of training in the core competency of Alcohol and Drug treatment.
  • 1,000 hours of supervised work experience on Alcohol and drug treatment with 100 hours of direct supervision.
  • Pass the Florida Support Specialist Exam
  • Perform 10 CEU each year for renewal

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What Is A About A Certified Addiction Counselor

The CAC designation is an intermediate substance abuse credential for those persons who work side-by side with clinical staff to develop and implement client treatment plans, as well as provide specified substance abuse treatment services. The CAC requires a minimum of a high school diploma or general equivalency degree. Experience hours are prorated for applicants with an AA or AS degree. The CAC is the reciprocal level for individuals holding the IC& RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential.

If you are interested in pursing a career as a Certified Addiction Counselor in Florida, Sober College School of Addiction Studies can help. Learn more about our online substance use counselor certification program, give our admissions team a call at 424.229.4179, or send us a message to learn more.

Master’s Degree In Addiction Counseling

How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor In Florida ...

This level of academic achievement is enough to qualify an addiction professional for Florida’s top addiction counseling credential, the master’s level certified addiction professional . While many will earn a master’s degree in addiction counseling, that is not a necessity. The MCAP is available to professionals with a wide range of degrees.

In Florida, MCAPs can have master’s degrees such as those in clinical psychology, clinical social work, or divinity with a concentration in counseling, among others. While the state maintains a list of accepted master’s degrees, it might be possible for those whose graduate degrees fall outside of that group may still petition to sit for the examination. For instance, those who have master’s degrees in occupational therapy may be able to take additional courses and thus satisfy the Florida Certification Board. Students should keep in mind that any master’s degree should be from a fully accredited institution recognized by the Florida Board.

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What Are The Examination Requirements To Become A Counselor In Florida

In order to become a Florida Counselor, you must complete the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam, NCMHCE successfully to become licensed. The examination requirements also state that there is a registration fee of $195.00 that you need to send in along with a registration form.

If you are an out of state applicant and already have your license in that state, you will need to apply for the licensure by endorsement. This type of licensure is for individuals who do not have documentation that the supervised experience was met.

Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in the state of Florida, refer to the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling.

What Does A Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor Do

However, each state requires substance abuse counselors in private practice to be licensed, which requires a masters degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised work experience. An online substance abuse counseling degree program offers flexibility for students who are also working professionals.

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What Substance Use Disorder Counselors Do

The addiction professionals core work is to treat and support patients in their recovery. For each new patient, the process often starts with a comprehensive evaluation of health status, background, living environment, and the specific nature of the addiction.

The counselor builds a complete treatment plan that takes into account both the patient and his or her family members and significant others. The counselor monitors the patients progress and evaluates treatment outcomes, referring patients, as needed, to appropriate agencies and support services such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Counselors also work with the wider community to increase awareness about substance use disorders.

In short, effective substance use disorder counselors employ a wide range of skills and methods to aid patients in their recovery. If this challenging but rewarding work interests you, consider becoming an addiction counselor.

Prepare for the Exam Pursue Certification

The University of Florida online Graduate Certificate in Addiction and Recovery is designed to help prepare students to pursue state, national, and international credentials by equipping them with the knowledge and competencies needed for success on the required exams.

Article last updated 2014

  • Classes offered fall, spring & summer

  • Complete A Bachelors Degree In Addiction Studies Behavioral Social Science Psychology Or Another Field

    Overview of Screening | Addiction Counselor Exam Review

    Because a masters degree is a requirement for a licensure counselor, pursuing a bachelors degree in substance abuse and/or addiction studies or a related field sets the groundwork for rehabilitation counseling students. Coursework for undergraduate studies in these fields will typically include the evaluation of human development, counseling foundation, theories of personality, foundations of addictions, and introduction to psychology.

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    Florida Counseling Career And Salary Information

    There are 36,170 counselors currently working in Florida in many different types of counselor jobs.1-5 Florida is home to the third-highest number of Marriage and Family Therapists and Counselors, All Others and the fourth-highest number of Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors in the country.2,3,5 The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Palm Beach metropolitan area specifically offers many job opportunities for prospective counselors. It is ranked fifth in the country for Counselors, All Others jobs , sixth for Marriage and Family Therapist jobs , seventh for Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor jobs , and tenth for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselor jobs .1-3,5


    Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1-5

    Certified Addiction Specialists Alternatives

    For those that may have qualified or were interested in the Certified Addiction Specialist program, the Academy for Addiction Professionals offers training for two alternate certifications.

    • Certified Recovery Support Specialist : This certification requires a GED or high school diploma, 1000 hours of direct industry experience and 75 hours of training . While the CRSS does not carry the same weight as the CAS, it is a useful entry-level program for suture counselors. Visit our Certified Recovery Support Specialist page for more detailed information.
    • Certified Addiction Counselor : The Certified Addiction Counselor is one step above the former Certified Addiction Specialist. A GED / high school diploma or higher is required. 250 hours of training are requires as well. Those with an associates / vocational degree or higher will have a lower work experience and direct supervision time requirement compared to those with a GED at 6000 and 300 hours respectively. Visit our Certified Addiction Counselor page for more detailed information.

    We encourage you to contact us, or the Florida Certification Board directly, to learn more about the options available to you now that the CAS is no longer being offered. We look forward to welcoming you into a rapidly growing industry where the talents of clinicians and techs at all stages of their careers are highly prized.

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    What Does A Substance Abuse Counselor Do What Is The Role Of An Addiction Counselor

    A typical client who has been abusing substances may find their addiction to include alcohol, illegal drugs such as amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, or prescription medications. Substance abuse is a dependency on any mood-altering substance. As defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individuals life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.

    Without treating the addiction or engaging in recovery activities, the addiction can progress, resulting in disability or premature death.

    While there are similarities of behavior across all types of substance abuse, an experienced substance abuse/addiction counselor knows to carefully treat each client as an individual with a unique history, personality traits, and pattern of abuse. Treatment plans are personalized based on a range of factors and may include individual or group therapy, as part of a comprehensive inpatient or outpatient treatment plan.

    Substance Abuse Counselor Professional Organizations

    Substance Abuse Counselor

    Joining a professional organization allows substance abuse counselors to network and stay informed on current industry advancements. Most professional organizations host national conferences and publish informative newsletters. These organizations also provide continuing education hours that help counselors meet licensing renewal requirements. The following list contains professional organizations for addiction counselors:

    • NAATP offers resources like an addiction industry directory, a code of ethics, and an exclusive job center. This organization provides unique training such as member roundtables. NAATP provides awards and recognizes outstanding members.

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    Substance Use Disorder Counselor Job Description

    The work of substance use disorder counselors is important and complex.

    Patients, whether seeking treatment voluntarily or because of a court mandate, come to counselors at a moment of great vulnerability. Stigma surrounding substance use disorders can make it hard for patients to acknowledge that they need help and hard for them to reflect on the factors contributing to their circumstances. Thats why well-trained counselors who have compassion and patience are key to effective treatment.

    To ensure safe practice and the health of their patients, addiction professionals must be knowledgeable about the biological, social and psychological factors associated with substance use disorders. They also must cultivate qualities that are invaluable for putting their patients at ease: Empathy, communication skills, the ability to listen, patience, and a genuine interest in the well-being of the patient.

    If you desire to build those competencies and attributes, a career in the growing field of substance use disorder counseling may be right for you.

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