Human Services Guide

Substance Abuse Counseling Certification in Virginia

There are two levels of certification in Virginia for Substance Abuse Counselors. One level is for training purposes and is known as the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Assistant (CSAC-A). The full level of certification is known as the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC)

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CSAC-A Requirements

  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • You must have a High School Diploma or GED. A Bachelor’s degree in Addiction Counseling is recommended.
  • You must sign the state Code of Ethics.
  • You will need to complete 220 hours of didactic training. This training must include 10 hours in each of the following: Dynamics of Human Behavior, Symptoms of Substance Abuse, Treatment approaches, Continuum of Care and Case Management Skills, Recovery process and relapse prevention models, Ethics, Professional Identity, Crisis intervention.
  • You must also have 20 hours of training in each of the following: Substance abuse Counseling treatment and planning, Group Counseling.
  • You will need to complete 180 hours of experiential training.
  • You must pass the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Assistant Examination.
  • You can find the necessary forms to become a CSAC-A here.

CSAC Requirements

  • In addition to meeting all requirements for the CSAC-A above you must also meet the following requirements:
  • Earn a Bachelor’s of Substance Abuse Counseling degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.
  • You need 2,000 hours of supervised work experience.
  • You must have 100 hours of direct face-to-face supervision with at least 2 hours of supervision each week.
  • Pass the Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Examination.
  • You can find the necessary forms to become a CSAC here.