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Requirements for CAC Certification

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In order to qualify for the Certified Alcoholism Counselor (CAC) level, a counselor must meet the following criteria:


In order to meet the work experience requirement, the applicant must document 4,000 hours (equal to 2 years full time) providing alcohol/drug counseling services under clinical supervision. Supervised work experience may be paid or voluntary experience as a counselor who provides direct counseling services to clients with a diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependency. A minimum of six (6) months must be obtained in one faculty, under one supervisor.

Practicum experience, in order to be considered eligible for the experience requirement, must be of such nature that the counselor has his/her own clients and case load and be responsible for maintenance of case records. No more than 1,000 hours practicum/internship experience can be used to meet the work experience requirement.

The applicant must have a minimum of 180 clock hours of continuing education training related to the substance abuse field. The 180 clock hours must be comprised of a minimum of 70 hours in counseling techniques training, a minimum of 70 hours of alcohol/drug specific studies, and 6 hours of ethics training pertaining to the substance abuse field. The remaining hours can fall within behavioral science areas.

(NOTE: Practicums/Field Placements are not considered in meeting the Education Requirements; however, they will be considered under the sections of Experience and Supervised Practical Training.)

MBSACC recommends that training in the following areas could helpful in taking the written exams:

  • In Alcohol/Drug Specific- Nicotine dependence training
  • In Counseling Techniques- Cross-cultural Counseling
  • In Behavioral Sciences- AIDS/HIV trainings

The alcohol/drug specific education and the ethic training must have been completed within the past ten (10) years. For trainings and non-credit courses in the categories of counseling techniques and

behavioral sciences, the applicant may go back as much as (20) years. For academics (credit bearing) courses in counseling techniques and behavioral sciences there in no time limit provided a grade of C (or higher) was received.

NOTE: See Continuing Education Credit Guidelines for specific criteria regarding documentation of education/ training.


The applicant must submit documentation of having received at least 220 clock hours of supervision in performing the twelve counselor core functions, with no single function being performed for fewer than ten hours. The core functions are:

  • Screening
  • Intake
  • Orientation
  • Assessment
  • Treatment Planning
  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Client Education
  • Referral
  • Reports/ Record Keeping
  • Consultation w/ Other Professionals

Supervised Practical Training includes activities designed to provide training in specific counselor functions. This section requires documentation of the time spent in face-to-face supervision, not the time spent performing the function. Individual, group/team supervision and formal case presentations all apply.


CAC Certification is contingent upon passing the IC&RC National Written Examination. Additional information on the exam is provided to the applicant once the official application has been reviewed and approved. After being notified of having passed the written exam, CAC Certification is issued upon submittal of the Certification Fee by the applicant

The CAC Certification is not a reciprocal level certification. In order to pursue a higher (reciprocal) level of Certification after becoming CAC Certified, the CAC Certified counselor must meet the Upgrade Requirements in effect at that time. Please be cautioned that certain CEU restrictions may apply when upgrading to a higher level and are described in more detail in the Upgrade Requirements information packet. The information packet is available upon request (at no charge) from the Certification Office.

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