Are All The Counselors In a PA Drug Rehab Certified?

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When seeking treatment for a drug addiction, you want to get the best care possible. It’s important to understand the qualification level of the professionals that you’re working with.

In Pennsylvania, substance abuse counselors must go through a licensing process. All of the counselors in state-funded rehabilitation centers are licensed by the state of Pennsylvania. Private treatment centers hire only people who have received their license in substance abuse counseling. You can contact the admissions office or counseling services of your potential treatment center to ask about the certification levels of their counselors.

It’s important for substance abuse counselors to receive their certification before working in the field. This certification shows that they’ve received the relevant education and experience for their chosen profession. Because substance abuse counselors take responsibility for their client’s mental health and the trajectory of their treatment, they must have the background to make informed decisions.

When you enroll in a treatment program at a rehabilitation center, you may have more than one counselor. You’ll also have access to doctors and therapists. All of these people will work together to create a treatment plan that suits your individual needs best. Every person struggling with addiction has a unique story, so a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.

Outpatient Treatment

Depending on your treatment plan, you might continue to see your counselor after you complete treatment. If your counselor doesn’t offer outpatient services, they’ll most likely refer you to another outpatient counselor that they trust. After inpatient treatment, outpatient counseling and therapy is an essential part of relapse prevention and mental health maintenance.

Outpatient treatment centers also require their substance abuse counselors to receive their license. It is illegal to be a practicing substance abuse counselor without a license. This is another way that quality of treatment is ensured.

Addiction Counselor Certification Requirements

It’s important to note that there is a difference between a licensed substance abuse counselor and a certified substance abuse counselor. Certified applicants may be able to receive their certification with a high school diploma or a GED, provided they have relevant field experience. Licensed applicants might be required to have an advanced degree.

Licensed drug and alcohol counselors are referred to as LADC. LADC requirements vary from state to state, while CADC requirements adhere to a national standard.

Pennsylvania is a state with two levels of certification for substance abuse counselors. CADC stands for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, while CAADC stands for Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

CADC Requirements

In order to become a CADC, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have at least a Bachelor’s degree in some kind of behavioral science
  • You must have logged at least 4,000 hours over a span of two years in supervised employment
  • At least 51% of your logged hours must have been directly in contact with clients
  • You must have been directly supervised for at least 300 hours
  • You must have received at least 300 hours of education in addiction counseling
  • At least 100 of those hours must have been in drug abuse and alcohol-related courses
  • You must have taken at least six hours of classes related to professional responsibilities and ethics
  • You must have taken at least six hours of classes about communicable diseases
  • You need to sign the ethics code
  • You need to pass the written examination

LADC Requirements

In order to become an LADC, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a Master’s degree in some kind of behavioral science; it’s strongly recommended to have an Addiction Counseling degree
  • At least 2,000 hours of professional employment must be logged
  • At least 51% of those hours must have been directly in contact with clients
  • You must have at least 300 hours being directly supervised in your work environment
  • You must have at least 180 hours in drug abuse and alcohol-related courses
  • You must have taken at least six hours of classes regarding professional responsibilities and ethics
  • You must have taken at least six hours of classes about communicable diseases
  • You need to sign the ethics code
  • You need to pass the Master’s level exam

Compare and Contrast

In Pennsylvania, the biggest difference between an LADC and CADC is the education level. LADC counselors have a Master’s degree while CADC counselors are only required to have a Bachelor’s degree or relevant work experience.

Both licensing and certification require a great deal of study. To independently practice, counselors must have thousands of hours of work experience and have completed hundreds of hours of relevant courses. Because it’s illegal to practice without a certification or license, you can rest assured that all the counselors in your rehab center are experienced and knowledgeable about their profession.

Your counselors will be responsible for your individual therapy and treatment plan. They may also be responsible for family therapy, in which families can learn to create positive environments and heal past issues with the guidance of a professional. While in treatment, counseling will be one of the most important focuses of your recovery. Your doctors will monitor the physical aspects of your addiction, but your counselors will help you learn the coping mechanisms that keep you from relapsing.

Regardless of the rehab center you choose, you’ll be in good hands. If you don’t “click” with the first counselor you meet, oftentimes rehab centers will let you switch to a different counselor. You’ll also be able to choose a counselor you like best when you seek outpatient services.

There’s no time like the present to take the first step toward recovery. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer questions and offer help. Call 888-380-0342 to find out what resources and treatment options are available to you.

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