Substance Abuse Counseling Certification in Arkansas

Arkansans has two main levels of certification as well as a supervisory level. The two main levels are known as the Alcohol Drug Counselor (ADC) and the Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor (AADC). The supervisory level is beyond the scope of this article.

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You will need to complete the following steps to become certified in Arkansas:

  • Earn an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a Behavioral Science field with Counseling or Addiction Counseling greatly preferred. Other degrees that are acceptable for the lower level of certification are: Social Work, Sociology, Human Services or Psychology.
  • Complete a practicum.
  • Earn sufficient supervised work experience.
  • Pass a written examination.
  • Sign the ASACB code of ethics.
  • Apply for certification with the Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board.

Educational Requirements

  • You will need to have a certain amount of education in order to become certified at either level in Arkansas.
  • Earn at least 270 credit hours of related to the performance of IC&RC/AODA duties.
  • Having an Associate’s degree will lower your supervised work experience by 1000 hours, a Bachelor’s will lower it by 2,000 hours and with a Master’s or higher in a Human Services or Behavioral Science field you can lower it by 4,000 hours.
  • We recommend that you earn a Master’s degree in Counseling in order to reduce your ADC requirements and give you eligibility for AADC status which requires a Master’s degree.
  • In addition to a Master’s degree in an appropriate Behavioral Science or Human Services field the AADC title requires additional credits. 180 hours of credits specific to the performance domains: Clinical Evaluation, Treatment Planning, Referral, Service Co-ordination, Counseling, Client, Family and Community Education, Documentation, Professional and Ethical Responsibility.
  • The AADC title also requires 6 clock hours in Co-occurring disorders ethics.


A practicum is required for either level of licensure.

  • You will need a 300 hour supervised practicum that must take place within an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) facility. You must be supervised by a Clinical Supervisor (CS) or someone with a Master’s degree who is licensed as a Behavioral Healthcare provider in Arkansas.
  • The practicum will have to incorporate all of the knowledge and skills required for the IC&RC /AODA Twelve Core Functions. It will require a minimum of ten hours in each core function.
  • All of the practicum must be under direct supervision either one on one, group supervision or demonstration of the Twelve Core Functions.
  • All of the Twelve Core Functions are outlined in the ASACB Application and Standards manual.

Supervised Experience

Each level of certification requires a different amount of Substance Abuse Counseling related work experience.

  • For both the ADC and AADC certifications, you are required to have three years of experience equating to 6,000 hours of supervised work experience.
  • This is lowered by having an Associate’s degree which will lower your supervised work experience by 1000 hours, a Bachelor’s will lower it by 2,000 hours and with a Master’s or higher in a Human Services or Behavioral Science field you can lower it by 4,000 hours.
  • You will need to earn this experience under the supervision of a certified or licensed behavioral healthcare professional.
  • Experience will need to be documented per the
  • For the AADC certification you are required to have a Master’s degree which lowers the required supervised experience to 2,000 hours.

Written Examination

Arkansas requires a written examination as part of the certification process.

  • Pass the IC&RC Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) written examination.

Apply for Your Certification

The final step is to apply with the board for certification.

  • Sign the ASACB code of ethics.
  • You will want to print out pages 67-73 from the ASACB Application and Standards manual as this is the application.