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The Association for Addiction Professionals

NDS

NICOTINE DEPENDENCE SPECIALIST (NDS)

 

A voluntary national credential that provides foundational knowledge of nicotine addiction, develops skills and strategies for nicotine addiction counseling and examines related recovery and wellness issues.

 

Why should you obtain the NDS Certification?

  • Position yourself for career advancement and increased salary potential.
  • Distinguish yourself as a practitioner who has specialized in nicotine dependence assessment and treatment. 
  • Position yourself for career advancement and increased salary potential.
  • Demonstrate to clients, employers, and 3rd party payors your commitment to quality care by verifying through certification the skills and competencies you have developed through years of work experience. 
  • The NDS credential reflects a commitment of the highest ethical standards for Substance Use Disorder/Addiction professionals. 
  • The U.S. Department of Labor expects the demand for Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselors to grow by 22% by 2024.  

Eligibility Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree or higher in a healing art (i.e., substance use or mental health disorders, nursing, respiratory therapy, or pharmacology etc.) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
  • Current credential or license in a healing art (i.e., substance use or mental health disorders, nursing, respiratory therapy, or pharmacology, etc.) issued by a state or credentialing authority.
  • At least three years full-time or 6,000 hours of employment in a health care profession (i.e., substance use or mental health disorders, nursing, respiratory therapy, or pharmacology, etc.).
  • At least 270 contact hours of education and training in healing art. Must include at least 40 hours of nicotine-specific education, six hours of ethics training, and six hours of HIV/AIDS-specific training within the last six years. At least 50% of training hours must be face-to-face.
  • Passing score on NDS examination within four years of the application.

Application Requirements

  • Copy of Bachelor's Degree or higher transcript from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
  • Evidence of current credential or license in a healing art (i.e., substance use or mental health disorders, nursing, respiratory therapy, or pharmacology etc.) issued by a state or credentialing authority.
  • Evidence of three years full-time or 6,000 hours of employment in a healing art (i.e., substance use or mental health disorders, nursing, respiratory therapy, or pharmacology etc.).
  • Evidence of 270 contact hours of education and training in a healing art. Must include at least 40 hours of nicotine-specific education, six hours of ethics training, and six hours of HIV/AIDS-specific training within the last six years. At least 50% of training hours must be face-to-face.
  • Submission of a signed statement that the candidate has read and adheres to the NAADAC/NCC AP Code of Ethics.
  • Payment of non-refundable application/certification fee.

Certification Costs

Examination Details & Fees

The written national credentialing examination is tailored to test the applicant on his or her projected knowledge based on experience, education and training.  The following skill groups are evaluated in the examination, and an applicant for national certification should be well versed in each of these topic areas:

  1. treatment admission (screening, intake and orientation)
  2. clinical assessment
  3. ongoing treatment planning
  4. counseling services (individual, group, family, crisis intervention and client education)
  5. documentation
  6. case management
  7. discharge and continuing care
  8. legal, ethical and professional growth issues

The Certification Examination for Nicotine Dependence Specialists (NDS) consists of 200 multiple-choice, objective questions with a total testing time of three hours.  The examination tests candidates’ knowledge in the areas of nicotine dependence (30%), counseling (20%), and intervention planning (50%).

Testing Schedule

All NCC AP examinations are now available throughout the month at a date and location convenient for you! You now have more flexibility and opportunity to get your national credential than ever before. Locate a Testing Center in Your Area

Test Preparation Materials

Re-Credentialing Requirements

  • Evidence of a current state-issued credential/license in a helping profession (i.e., substance use disorder, nursing, respiratory therapy, or pharmacology).
  • 40 hours of continuing education every three years (20 hours must be Nicotine-specific and 20 hours of other behavioral health-related topics).
  • Submission of a signed statement that the candidate has read and subscribes to the NAADAC/NCC AP Code of Ethics.
  • Provide work history for the three years prior to renewal.
  • Payment of non-refundable application/re-credentialing fee ($175 for NAADAC members; $275 for non-members). See full list of costs and fees