In addition to the education required to get certified as an addictions counselor, there are also educational requirements to maintain your certification. Each state varies in their requirements, but most credentials need to be renewed every two years. You will need to complete a certain number of hours or CEUs (Continuing Education Units) during this period. (e.g., in Ohio you must complete 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years to maintain your credential.) You will need CEU’s for every credential that you have, however classes may apply to more than one credential (e.g., a class on co-occurring disorders will likely apply to your substance abuse certification as well as your co-occurring disorders credential.)
Sometimes the requirements to maintain your credentials may seem to be a nuisance, but here are just a few reasons that continuing education is important to you and to the profession of addiction treatment.
- It helps to ensure the quality of counselors and therefor the quality of treatment that is available.
- It allows you to continue to develop your skills as an addiction professional.
- It keeps you up to date on recent developments in the field as well as current trends.
- It can improve your credibility and the credibility of the profession.
- It can provide some valuable networking opportunities.
Most states will provide you with a list of approved classes and/or approved providers. It is a good idea to verify ahead of time that a class will qualify for your particular credential. Unless you are in a rural area, you can often find local classes. Many states now have their own addictions conference which will allow you to pick up a lot of your hours in a short period of time. The added benefit of the conferences is that it is an excellent opportunity to network. If, however, you are pressed for time or have difficulty working the classes into your schedule, there is the option of taking some online courses. Be sure to verify that online classes are accepted in your state. Most states will allow you to get your CEUs online, but some will place limits on the number of hours you can use during each certification period. Here are a few of the online providers that I have experience with.
- www.ALLCEUS.com – I have used them several times. They have really good prices and you can pay per CEU or pay one fee and get as many CEUs as you want for a whole year. They provide good material and their staff is very helpful.
- www.DLCAS.com – I have also used them a few times. They are a little more expensive, but they have a lot of options including that you can get all of the materials either online, on cd or as a hardcopy. They also have a sister site www.readytotest.com that has materials to help you prepare for the IC&RC exam and the NAADAC exam.
- Laban’s trainings – I haven’t used them in several years, but used them often before online classes were available. From my experience they would send the materials in the mail and you would mail it back to them once completed. I know that now, they will send the materials via email.
I am sure that there are more options available. I believe that there are even a few states that provide their own online training. I would love to hear your experiences and recommendations with online training.