National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) Opens Up Testing Requirements Allowing Qualified Professionals with Other National and State Credentials to More Easily Obtain its NCAC I, NCAC II, and MAC National Credentials

Starting in February 2019, the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) began accepting passing scores from addiction specific licensure or certification exams from state and other national certifying bodies for purposes of qualifying for its three main national credentials, the National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (NCAC I), the National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (NCAC II), and, the most widely recognized addiction treatment professional credential in the United States, the Master Addictions Counselor (MAC).

Access to quality, effective treatment and recovery services is critical to addressing our nation’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) crisis and the demand for SUD treatment professionals has never been higher. Licensure and credentialing requirements, however, vary greatly from state to state and serve as a barrier to entry, advancement, and retention for this key segment of the workforce. National credentials are an important way for addiction professionals to position themselves for career advancement, increased salary potential, and easier reimbursement processes. National credentials identify practitioners who are specialists in addiction assessment and treatment and demonstrate to clients, employers, and third-party payors the skills and competencies developed through years of addiction counselor training and work experience.

This NCC AP policy change is one way of quickly identifying professionals meeting uniform national standards, agreeing to a uniform national code of ethics, and demonstrating specific training, knowledge and practice experience. This change is designed to help identify and demonstrate addiction professionals’ skills, knowledge and competencies on the substance use disorders counselors’ career ladder allowing individuals to readily demonstrate their career development using the national credentials.

The National Certified Addiction Counselor Level I national credential is designed for counselors who are beginning in the profession. To qualify for the NCAC I, an individual who has obtained a state credential or license based on a basic or advanced level exam by another examining body would need to provide evidence of:

  1. A GED, High School Diploma, or higher degree;
  2. A current credential or license in good standing as a Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselor or Professional Counselor (social work, mental health, marriage & family, psychologist, medical doctor) issued by a state or credentialing authority;
  3. At least 6000 hours of supervised experience as a Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselor;
  4. At least 270 contact hours of education and training in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction or related counseling subjects, including at least six hours of ethics training and six hours of HIV/other pathogens training within the last six years; and
  5. A passing score on NCC AP’s NCAC Level I exam or a basic or advanced level SUD exam from a certifying/licensing entity.

The National Certified Addiction Counselor Level II national credential is designed for counselors who have accrued additional education and training and are prepared to practice with minimal supervision. To qualify for the NCAC II, an individual who has obtained a state credential or license based on an advanced level exam by another examining body would need to provide evidence of:

  1. A Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction and/or related counseling subjects (social work, mental health counseling, psychology) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
  2. A current credential or license in good standing as a Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselor or Professional Counselor (social work, mental health, marriage & family, psychologist, medical doctor) issued by a state or credentialing authority;
  3. At least 6000 hours of supervised experience as a Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselor;
  4. At least 450 contact hours of education and training in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction or related counseling subjects, including at least six hours of ethics training and six hours of HIV/other pathogens training within the last six years; and
  5. A passing score on NCC AP’s NCAC Level II exam or an advanced level SUD exam from a certifying/licensing entity.

The Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) national credential is designed for counselors who have obtained a higher-level degree and offer supervision to those with NCAC I and NCAC II credentials. To qualify for the MAC, an individual who has obtained a state credential or license based on an advanced level exam by another examining body would need to provide evidence of:

  1. A Master’s Degree or higher in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction and/or related counseling subjects (social work, mental health counseling, psychology) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.
  2. A current credential or license in good standing as a Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselor or Professional Counselor (social work, mental health, marriage & family, psychologist, medical doctor) issued by a state or credentialing authority;
  3. At least 6000 hours of supervised experience as a Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselor;
  4. At least 500 contact hours of education and training in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction or related counseling subjects, including at least six hours of ethics training and six hours of HIV/other pathogens training within the last six years; and
  5. A passing score on NCC AP’s MAC exam or an advanced level SUD exam from a certifying/licensing entity.

To learn more about NCC AP’s national credentials and the application processes, please visit https://www.naadac.org/types-eligibility and https://www.naadac.org/credential-faqs.

Education Level Basic Exam Advanced Exam Hours of Training Hours Supervised Qualified for NCAC I Qualified for NCAC II Qualified for MAC
GED; HS Diploma or higher X   270 hours 6,000 hours X    
Bachelor’s Degree* X   450 hours 6,000 hours X    
Bachelor’s Degree*   X 450 hours 6,000 hours   X  
Master’s Degree or higher* X   500 hours 6,000 hours X    
Master’s Degree or higher*   X 500 hours 6,000 hours X X X

* Substance Use Disorders/Addiction and/or related counseling subjects (social work, mental health counseling, psychology) from a regionally accredited institution of higher learning.

Posted by Caitlin Corbett at 12:38 PM
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