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Career Pathway for the Substance Use Disorder Treatment Field

 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), through its Behavioral Health Barometer, monitors the mental health and substance abuse treatment trends in the United States.  The results from their 2017 study* showed that: 

  • 7.2% (or 19.7 million people aged 12 and older had a substance use disorder in the past year
  • only 4.2% of people with an alcohol use disorder received treatment
  • only 13% of people with an illicit drug use disorder received treatment

The great divide between those who need treatment and those who receive treatment is further compounded by the shortage of workers to provide needed treatment services. 

  • By 2025, the demand for treatment will exceed the supply of substance abuse counselors by 13% (HRSA, 2015)**
  • By 2026, the projected job growth for substance abuse counselors is 23%, higher than for other jobs (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019)***

There are many career opportunities and paths for those who are interested in working with people with substance use disorders (SUDs).  NAADAC: The Association for Addiction Professionals published the document, “Workforce Issues for the Addiction Profession.”  This document provides a summary of the scopes of practice and career ladder for substance use disorders.

Each job position in the substance use disorder career ladder is important to assisting and supporting people as they move through the recovery process.  The job positions vary regarding the educational or training, certification or licensure, work, and examination requirements.

The Illinois Department of Human Services' Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) and Governors State University's College of Health and Human Services' Addiction Studies and Behavioral Health Program present a subsidized 40-hour training program focused on recovery coaching/mentoring as part of a recovery-oriented system of care for individuals and families dealing with alcohol and/or substance abuse. The Recovery Coaching Training Program meets the Illinois foundational knowledge requirements for certification, and is open to all Illinois residents.
 

Career Ladder for Substance Use Disorder Workers

Table 1. Peer Recovery Support or Coaching Specialists

Certification or Licensure

Minimum Degree Requirements

Education or Training Hours

Supervised Experience

Work or Personal Experience

Exam

Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS)

 

High School or GED

100 clock hours: 40 hours CPRS-specific; 16 hours professional ethic/responsibilities; 44 core functions

100 clock hours in CPRS domains

2000 clock hours

IC&RC Peer Recovery Exam

Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS)

High School or GED

100 clock hours: 40 hours CRSS-specific; 6 hours professional & ethical responsibilities; 54 hours core functions

100 clock hours in CRSS domains

2000 clock hours

CRSS Exam

National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist (NCPRSS)

 

High School or GED

60 clock hours: 48 hours NCPRSS-specific; 6 hours professional ethics; 6 hours HIV & other pathogens 

200 clock hours in peer recovery support environment

At least 2 years of recovery from lived-experience in substance use and/or co-occurring mental health disorders

NCC AP’s NCPRSS Exam

 

 

Table 2. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Counselor

Certification or Licensure

Minimum Degree Requirements

Education or Training Hours

Supervised Experience

Work or Personal Experience

Exam

Certified Associate SUD Counselor (CAAP)

 

High School or GED

 

Supervision or mentoring by a qualified treatment professional

Employed or volunteer in an alcohol or other drug abuse profession

CAAP Exam

Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC)

 

High School or GED

225 clock hours: 100 hours AOD specific; 6 hours Professional ethics and responsibility; 119 hours performance domains

150 hours

4,000 hours of paid AOD qualified work experience

 (With Bachelor’s degree 2,000 hours; with Associate’s degree 3,000 hours)

CADC Examination

Certified Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CAADC)

 

Master’s degree in a Behavioral Health Science with a clinical application

300 hours

2,000 hours

180 clock hours to include: 6 hours Professional Ethics and Responsibility; 45 hours AOD treatment for women & families; 45 hours of AOD treatment for adolescents & families

ICRC Advanced AADC Examination

Certified Supervisor Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (CSADC)

 

High School or GED

300 hours

10,000 hours with 4,000 hours as AOD clinical supervisor

350 clock hours: 190 hours AOD-specific; 6 hours Professional ethics and responsibility; 30 hours Clinical supervision; 124 hours Performance domains

ICRC Supervisor (CS) Examination



 


 *Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Barometer: United States, Volume 5: Indicators as measured through the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. HHS Publication No. SMA–19–Baro-17-US. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019.

**Source: Health Resources and Services Administration/National Center for Health Workforce Analysis; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Office of Policy, Planning, and Innovation. 2015. National Projections of Supply and Demand for Behavioral Health Practitioners: 2013-2025. Rockville, Maryland

***Source:  Retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook 6/24/19

 


 

 

 

This project is supported in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery, as part of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant award (3B08TI010018-18).