Human Services Guide
       
 

Substance Abuse Counseling Certification in Colorado

Colorado has four main levels of certification, three at the certification level and one licensed level. The four levels are known as: the Colorado Addiction Counselor I (CAC-I), Colorado Addiction Counselor II (CAC-II), Colorado Addiction Counselor III (CAC-I) and the Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC). The first three levels require the completion of education as well as a practicum and supervised experience. The LAC level requires a Master’s degree in a Behavioral Science if from another state, or a combination of a degree as well as supervised experience.

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For the CAC-I Level

  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • 1000 hours of clinically supervised work experience completed in a minimum of six months.
  • You will need experience in at least 3 of the following: Orientation, Admin Intake, Admin discharge, Service coordination, Case documentation and Client, Family or Community Education.
  • You will need direct supervision of 3 hours per month from a CAC-III or LAC.

For the CAC-II Level

  • Complete all parts of CAC-I above.
  • 2000 hours of clinically supervised work experience completed in a minimum of 12 months.
  • You will need experience in at least 6 of the following: Clinical Evaluation, Clinical Intake; Treatment Planning; Care coordination with linkage and referral; Co-Facilitation of individual, family or group counseling; Case management and Client, Family or Community Education; Documentation for clinical record.
  • You will need direct supervision of 3 hours per month from a CAC-III or LAC.
  • Pass a national Addiction Counselor examination determined by the Department.
  • If you hold a Master’s or Doctorate you may apply for equivalency with the Department to reduce your supervised experience component.

For the CAC-III Level

  • Complete all parts of CAC-II above unless you have a Master’s or Ph.D. in a Behavioral Science in which case this requirement can be waived.
  • Must possess a Bachelor’s degree in a behavioral science for an accredited university.
  • 2000 hours of clinically supervised work experience completed in a minimum of 12 months. This is in addition to the CAC-II requirements above.
  • You will need to show experience in all of the following: Clinical Evaluation, Clinical Intake; Treatment Planning; Care coordination with linkage and referral; Co-Facilitation of individual, family or group counseling; Case management and Client, Family or Community Education; Documentation for clinical record.
  • You will need direct supervision of 2 hours per month from a CAC-III or LAC.
  • Pass a national Addiction Counselor examination determined by the Department.

For the LAC Level

  • Meet all requirements of the CAC-III above.
  • Have a Master’s or Ph.D. in a Behavioral Science discipline from a regionally accredited university.
  • Pass a national Addiction Counselor examination determined by the Department.

Applying for Certification

Once you have completed the requirements for the level of certification or licensure you seek the next step is to apply for your certificate.
  • Apply with the Colorado State Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners. You can find all the relevant forms here.