The purpose of credentialing is to standardize the quality of addiction prevention, intervention, treatment and continuing care services. Through standardized testing, the Commission is able to set a benchmark for professionals and monitor the abilities of those who treat addictions. Because the NCC AP is connected to the profession and to those who are using the credential on a day-to-day basis, the tests are evaluated annually to ensure they address the latest information on treating addictive disorders.

Specifically, national and international credentialing is important for addiction professionals:

  • to focus on the individual counselor and to provide a formal indicator of the current knowledge and competence at the national and international level;
  • to provide a national and international standard that exceeds most U.S. state requirements and encourages professionals to continue to learn for the sake of their clients;
  • to establish, measure, and monitor the requirements for knowledge in the profession; and
  • to provide assistance to employers, health care providers, educators, government entities, labor unions, other practitioners, and the public in the identification of quality counselors who have met the national and international competency standards.

PLEASE NOTE: NCC AP Certification and NAADAC membership are distinct. Certification does not automatically make one a NAADAC member. For more information about the benefits of NAADAC membership, please click here.

Credentials Overview

The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) has instituted three foundational credentials for addiction counselors:

These credentials are suited to varying degrees of knowledge and formal training, based on the skill set of the substance use disorders professional. Each credential has a different set of standards to fit the testing populations. Movement through the credentials is possible, and each test shows how the counselor is a leader in the profession due to quality standards being met.

The NCC AP also offers opportunities for specialization credentials:

The NCC AP offers the following specialization endorsement:

Do you want to learn more about which credential is right for you? Click here to view the SAMHSA-NAADAC Addiction Professional Education & Career Ladder that can serve as a certifcation guide for addiction professionals.

All NCC AP Certification questions should be addressed to:

National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals
44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 301
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.741.7686 or 800.548.0497
[email protected]