Certification FAQs


Certification FAQs



How do I become a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC)?

In order to volunteer, intern, or work in an Alcohol and Drug Treatment Facility, state law REQUIRES registration with a state certifying body (CCR, Section 13035 (f)).  If you are currently working or volunteering at a treatment center and are not registered, you are in violation and both you and your facility could face serious penalty.  Once you register, you have five years from the date of your initial registration to become fully certified. For more information on registering with CAADE, http://caade.org/registration-faqs

CAADE contends the two vital components of being a successful addiction counselor are education and experience.  The first step to becoming certified is completing a CAADE-approved program (or equivalent), currently offered at nearly fifty community colleges throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona.  To find your local CAADE College and for more information on the educational curriculum, click here.

Once you have completed the required coursework, the next step is to take and pass the CATC Exam.  Passing this nationally recognized exam verifies you have successfully mastered the educational requirements to be a minimally competent Addictions Counselor.   For more information about the CATC exam, click here.

The final step toward becoming a CATC is gaining experience in the field.  Along with being properly educated, becoming comfortable and confident treating clients with addiction requires witnessing and being part of real-life treatment.  This experience can be acquired through volunteer hours, as an intern, or as an employee.  For more information about the experiential requirements, click here.

When you have met the above requirements, simply submit proper documentation and payment to obtain your certification as a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor!  The application and further information about CATC certification can be found here: http://caade.org/certified-addictions-treatment-counselor. Remember, you must become certified within 5 years of registereing with any certifying organization. If you need to request an extension, complete the Hardship Request Application.


What is needed in order to complete the initial CATC application?

            You will need to complete the following:

  • Completed CATC Initial Application Form
  • Signed and Dated CAADE Code of Ethics
  • Signed and Dated Scope of Practice
  • Signed and Dated Code of Conduct
  • Proof of at least 2,240 hours of supervised clinical/field experience hours on CAADE Summary of Hours form.  This may include volunteer or paid experience in the field dating back to the first day you began attending your CAADE Addiction Studies program. (any hours worked prior to starting your ADS program will not be accepted). A signed letter from your supervisor(s) verifying the dates, hours, facility name(s), and experiential functions noted on your Summary of Hours formsSupervisors must be certified alcohol/drug treatment counselors or licensed professionals (MFT, LCSW, LPCC, MD)
  • Three (3) letters of character reference from three different individuals (NOT a family member or current employer)
  • Initial CATC fee and CAADE Membership/Registration, valid for two years.

If your membership is current, you can opt to pay the CATC Certification fee of $175 and renew your membership before it expires.  The non-member fee for 2 years of CATC Certification is $400.


How many supervised internship hours are needed for the initial CATC?

2,240 supervised hours of voluntary or paid fieldwork experience in a licensed drug/alcohol treatment center or facility (your practicum/fieldwork hours DO count toward the total 2,240).  Hours may include volunteer or paid experience in the field dating back to the first day you began attending your CAADE Addiction Studies program. (any hours worked prior to starting your ADS program will not be accepted). Supervisors must be certified alcohol/drug treatment counselors or licensed professionals (MFT, LCSW, LPCC, MD). These hours must be in the area of evaluation and assessment, treatment planning, pharmacology of alcohol and other drugs, cultural issues, models of intervention, family issues, legal and ethical issues, referrals, and/or record keeping.  

I am currently a CATC and would like to upgrade to a CATC I II, III, IV, V or N prior to my renewal date, what should I do?

If your CATC Certification is current and you would like to upgrade to a CATC I, II, III, IV, V or N until your renewal date, just send a copy of your certificate or degree from a regionally accredited college or university (AA degree or higher) and the appropriate CATC Upgrade Form along with the upgrade fee.  If you pay by credit card or PayPal, please include a copy of your receipt.  If you choose to include a check or money order, please make it payable to “CAADE.”



Click here for the list of requirements for each level of the CATC Tiered System. If you are already a CATC, you may upgrade based on the degree you have earned. If you are applying for initial CATC certification and have an AA degree or higher, having met the requirements, you may apply for the CATC which corresponds with your degree.

 If you were certified with another organization which does not require college or university degrees, but you hold a degree in a related field, you may apply for eligibility to sit for the CATC examination and become certified as a CATC I, II, III, IV, V, or N. 


What happened to the old CATC II with 6000 hours?

If you earned the original CATC II (CATC + 6000 supervised internship hours) you will retain your CATC II status and may continue to renew as a CATC II (until or unless you earn a higher degree from a regionally accredited college). However, as of January 1, 2012, all CATC II counselors must meet the AA/AS degree requirements. 


I have an Associate’s degree (or higher) - can I become certified with CAADE?

If you have an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree from a regionally accredited college in addiction studies or a field related to addiction studies (psychology, sociology, human services, etc.) then you may meet the eligibility requirements for our exam.  Please submit an Equivalency Review Form to the CAADE office and include copies of all transcripts, certifications, and degrees. Please allow 2-4 weeks for the Certification Committee to review and respond. 


If I am deemed eligible for the CATC Exam, what is my next step?

The CAADE office will contact you regarding your eligibility for the exam.  If you are approved, please submit the registration form and CATC Exam application to the CAADE office.  Please see  http://caade.org/catc-exam  for further information on the CAADE exam. 

Once you have passed our exam, you have three (3) years to apply for initial certification with CAADE (NOTE: The Addiction Counselor Certification Regulations REQUIRE you to become certified within FIVE [5] YEARS from the date you first register with ANY certification organization).  In this time, you will need to have accrued 2,240 hours of supervised fieldwork in a licensed drug/alcohol treatment center or facility.  If these hours have already been completed, please apply for initial certification.  Please fill out the appropriate CATC II-V Initial Application based off the highest regionally accredited degree you currently hold.


I am currently certified with CAADE and I am due for renewal; I have an Associate’s degree (or higher) from a regionally accredited college in a related field- how can I upgrade to a CATC II through V and which form do I fill out?


I am currently certified with CAADE but am not due for renewal; I have an Associate’s degree (or higher) from a regionally accredited college in a related field- how can I upgrade to a CATC II through V?


How often do I need to renew my CATC?

Once you are officially certified, you must renew your CATC every two years per the California Code of Regulations Section 13055.

The purpose of recertification, or renewal of certification, is to enhance the quality of addiction counseling delivered to the public and to meet the requirements for recertification by the ACCBC. This is accomplished through continuing education courses; counseling skills (basic courses), including at the Masters level, may not be used for renewal. A total of 40 hours of continuing education must be documented as follows: at least 40 hours (including nine hours of counselor ethics) must be completed in workshops and seminars in continuing education units by a  CAADEapproved provider. Recertification is required every two years to conform to ACCBC requirements and in support of the industry’s best practices. The ACCBC reviews such policies on a bi-annual basis.

Certification will be granted for two (2) years, and will expire on the applicant’s CATC expiration date.

Certification is renewable upon completion of all board requirements for continuing education and submission of fees.

The ACCBC office may refuse to act on the application if there is evidence the individual violated the professional Code of Conduct; there is evidence of falsification of records; or a current suspension/revocation, as evidenced by the review process as required by state regulations is discovered.

Any certification denied, suspended or revoked by ACCBC Credentialing provides the applicant with the ability to request an appeal. Appeal requests must be submitted in writing to the CCAPP office within 30 days. See Disciplinary and Appeals Procedures section for further explanation of this process.

Any person who is certified by CAADE/ACCBC and fails to apply for renewal of certification has a period of one cycle (two years) to renew. Failure to do so will result in a lapsed certification.



How many and what type of continuing education hours/units (CEHs/CEUs) do I need to renew my CATC?

CATCs must obtain forty (40) TAP 21- specific CEHs/CEUs every two years per the California Code of Regulations Section 13055. Nine (9) of those hours must be in addiction-specific laws and ethics. CAADE requires that all CATCs must obtain CEHs/CEUs from CAADE approved CEU providers. Submission of false or fraudulent CEU certificates is an ethical violation and may result in sanctions, fines, suspension and/or cancellation of the counselor's CATC. See our website for a list of CAADE approved providers.


Do I need malpractice insurance?  

Addiction counselors working in the field should purchase liability insurance. You will especially appreciate having it in the event of a lawsuit. 
CAADE has researched various insurance companies. Here are a few options for you to investigate:

Counselor Liability Insurance Providers

Healthcare Providers Service Organization

159 E. County Line Road, Hatboro, PA 19040-1218

Phone: 1-800-982-9491        Fax: 1-800-739-8818

Webpage: www.hpso.com

National Board of Certified Counselors

Phone: 1-877-539-6372

Webpage: www.nbcc.lockton-ins.com/pl

The Van Wagner Group--National Association For Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Professional Liability Insurance Program

Phone: (888) 383-3512     Fax: (888) 525-9072

Webpage: www.vanwagnergroup.com/

E-mail: insurance@vanwagnergroup.com