how to become a certified addiction counselor in connecticut

How to Become a Certified Addiction Counselor in Connecticut

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder that affects millions of people in the United States. This condition is characterized by compulsive behaviors and an unhealthy, persistent relationship between a person and object or activity. Common addictions include drug addiction, alcohol addiction, and gambling addiction – to name a few.

While addiction carries a stigma – in which many people believe it a bad choice or moral failing – the reality is that addiction is a disease, much like diabetes or hypertension. It can affect anyone, of any age or background. As such, addiction requires specialized care and attention. It requires ongoing counseling and therapy. And that is where certified addiction counselors come into play.

Certified addiction counselors work with people who are struggling with substance abuse and other addictive behaviors. These professionals offer advice, education, and support for addicted individuals and their families, as well as teach them coping mechanisms to handle difficult triggers, symptoms, and stress. Addiction counselors carry out very important work, helping their clients recover and rebuild meaningful lives.

If you are looking for a career with purpose, and would like to help vulnerable people or populations, becoming an addiction counselor is a unique and rewarding option. Read on to learn how to become an addiction counselor today, and which steps you need to take.

Key Steps to Becoming an Addiction Counselor

The education and training requirements needed to become an addiction counselor vary, depending on the state in which you’d like to work. In general, however, there are some basic steps needed to enter this profession, no matter where you live. These include:

  1. Earning a college degree. Many addiction counselors hold a bachelor’s degree, but you can become an addiction counselor with a high school diploma, associate degree, or master’s, too, depending on your state and employer’s requirements. For aspiring addiction counselors, common fields of undergraduate study include (but are not limited to) psychology, social work, and public health.
  2. Completing relevant coursework. It is highly recommended that you complete specific coursework in addiction counseling, in part with your college education. Some colleges and universities offer specialized curricula in this exact field. At Goodwin University, for example, you can complete the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) certificate program. This certificate may supplement an already-earned college degree, or can be completed without any prior college education.
  3. Becoming licensed or certified. Most states require addiction counselors to become licensed or certified, and this is typically done through a state board examination. Be sure to research your state’s specific requirements – most often, you’ll find that some education and experiential hours are needed to be eligible.

How to Become an Addiction Counselor in Connecticut

Goodwin University is located in Connecticut, and is dedicated to preparing aspiring addiction counselors for a successful career in the field. Our program will teach you about the causes, the effects, and the treatment of addictive disorders, as well as equip you with the skills needed to work with people affected by addiction. Ultimately, our program is designed to prepare you to earn your state Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) certification through the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB).

But what exactly does the Connecticut Certification Board require, for you to become an addiction counselor from start to finish? Here’s a look at the specific steps you must take in Connecticut:

  1. Complete 300 hours of supervised, practical training in alcohol and drug counseling.
  2. Complete three years of supervised, paid work experience (or an unpaid internship) that entailed working directly with alcohol and drug dependent clients.
  3. Complete 360 hours of approved education, with at least 240 hours related to the knowledge and skill base associated with addiction counseling.
  4. Complete the CCB-administered examination to become state-certified (i.e. the International Certification Examination for Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Counselors of the IC&RC/AODA).
  5. Submit proof of successful completion for all of the above, plus a completed application online, to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

The Certified Addiction Counseling program at Goodwin University offers a pathway to become an addiction counselor in the state of Connecticut by fulfilling all the necessary educational requirements needed to take the CAC exam. In part with the program, students will complete an on-site internship experience in the field of addiction counseling, helping to check off the 300 hour fieldwork requirement.

However, as noted above, aspiring addiction counselors will still need work experience before becoming eligible to practice as a Certified Addiction Counselor. Specifically, beyond the 300 hours of fieldwork needed to complete our CAC program:

  • Non-degree holding students must complete 6,000 hours (approximately three years working full-time) of substance abuse counseling work experience.
  • Associate degree holders can earn CAC certification after completing 5,000 hours of substance abuse counseling work experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree holders can earn CAC certification after completing 4,000 hours of substance abuse counseling work experience.
  • Master’s degree holders can earn CAC certification after completing 3,000 hours of substance abuse counseling work experience.

As you can see, the experiential requirement to become a Certified Addiction Counselor in Connecticut is reduced, with the more education you’ve earned.

Become an Addiction Counselor in CT

Becoming a Certified Addiction Counselor is a great way to help those in need. And, amidst a growing drug epidemic across the United States, it’s clear that now is the time to get involved. The CDC reported that in 2021, the number of drug overdoses in the nation were six times higher than those in 1999. Opioid-related overdoses and addictions are largely to blame for this growing crisis in America.

While addiction is a chronic condition, it can be effectively treated and managed. Addiction counselors can make an important – and potentially life-saving – impact on those who are struggling. Consider becoming an addiction counselor today by starting your college career at Goodwin University. Our CAC certificate program offers a combination of in-field and classroom experience, and is taught by industry experts in mental health, psychology, and social work. The addiction counseling curriculum at Goodwin can be completed entirely online, with the exception of the internship, where you will gain valuable, practical experience in the field.

Ready to learn more? Contact us at 800-889-3282 today, or visit us online to request more information.