Want to Become An Addiction Professional? 

NAADAC can help you help others.

The addiction profession workforce is estimated at more than 100,000 individuals that include counselors, educators, and other addiction-focused health care professionals who specialize in addiction prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery support, and education.

Most addiction professionals are employed in the following industries: outpatient care centers; residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities; individual and family services; local government; general medical and surgical hospitals; psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals; and private practice. Many other addiction professionals work in prisons, probation or parole agencies, juvenile detention facilities, halfway houses, detox centers and employee assistance programs.

In brief, individuals who wish to become an addiction professional must possess a certain level of education, experience and supervision of skills and knowledge related to addiction counseling, prevention and intervention. There are many opportunities for individuals of all ages and levels of experience.


Getting Started

  • Become a member of NAADAC. Joining the addiction profession as a member of NAADAC exercises your voice in shaping the professional identity and keeps you abreast of happenings within the addiction profession. Learn more about NAADAC membership benefits and to join.
  • Volunteer within the addiction profession. Observing the various roles of addiction professionals will help determine your specific interests and goals. Use SAMHSA's Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator to find potential volunteer locations.
  • Work to meet the licensing/certification requirements of your state. There are numerous entry points into the addiction profession that varies by state and combination of education, experience and supervision. Locate the contact information for your state licensing/certification boards.
  • Achieve national-level addiction certification. Through the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP), many opportunities are available for professionals who already possess addiction certification/licensure in their state. View full list of NCC AP offerings and requirements.
  • Gain specialized endorsements, qualifications and certificates to demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill. NAADAC has a variety of specializations designed to highlight an addiction professional's focus on particular services or populations. View full list of advanced offerings and requirements.
  • Go to college. Addiction professionals who possess a college degree or advanced degree open the door to more advanced opportunities. Browse the list of NASAC-approved academic institutions and ATTC's Directory of Addiction Study Programs.
  • Stay current on addiction-related best practices, skills and news. NAADAC offers a large catalog of online education, independent study courses and face-to-face trainings. Browse through NAADAC-produced education and NAADAC's Master Calendar of educational opportunities close to home.
  • Obtain addiction-related employment. Whether a seasoned professional or student looking for a practicuum site, search NAADAC's Career Center for job openings in your area and resources to develop professionally.

Contact NAADAC at [email protected] or 703.741.7486 if you have any questions.