Your guide to getting certified as an Addictions Professional
Your guide to getting certified as an Addictions Professional

IC&RC and NAADAC Which one to Choose for your Career

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Susbtance abuse conselor certification

International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) can be defined as “IC&RC promotes public protection by setting standards and developing examinations for the credentialing and licensing of prevention, substance use treatment, and recovery professionals” according to the IC&RC website. They provide the information and education needed to pass the exam to become a certified substance abuse professional. The certification process varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and only members on the different boards are able to grant the actual certification. However, there are eight minimum standards to obtain a credential. Directly from their website they are as follows:

  • Alcohol & Drug Counselor (ADC)
  • Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (AADC)
  • Clinical Supervisor (CS)
  • Prevention Specialist (PS)
  • Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)
  • Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP)
  • Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate (CCDPD)
  • Peer Recovery (PR)

The Reciprocity process is a little more complicated. This process involves moving to a new jurisdiction and still being able to work as a substance abuse professional. As mentioned above each jurisdiction requires different credentials and therefore you must be sure that you meet all of the credentials that the jurisdiction you are re-locating to. One also has the option of holding an International certificate if you choose to do so. There are different requirements for obtaining this certification but this would allow for you to with International Member Boards. The IC&RC offers certification in the following seven areas:

Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC)
Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC)
Clinical Supervisor (CS)
Prevention Specialist (PS)
Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)
Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP/D)
Peer Recovery (PR)

With the substanceabuse problem on the up rise it would be a great time to get your credentials. According to the US Department of Labor Statistics the need for substance abuse professionals is one of the most in demand professions; 22% to be exact.
In order to obtain your certification you must pass an exam. The IC&RC states “IC&RC examinations are developed for exclusive use of IC&RC member boards to use as part of their jurisdictionally specific certification process.”. This basically means that each exam varies from place to place, as does the costs of the exams) and only the independent Member Boards determine which items on the exam. In addition, there are certain eligibility requirements that you must meet even before you take the exam. It is important to contact the local Member Board in your area if you are interested in becoming certified. There are several resources available for your reference to in order to prepare for the exam. Among them include study guides (many of which are free), practice tests and candidate guides which will help you to understand the above mentioned eight standards. For a list of free resources please visit:


NAADAC Counselor certification

The National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (Also known as NAADAC ) is another organization for substance abuse and addiction professionals. According to their website its vision and mission statements are: “NAADAC’s Mission is to lead, unify and empower addiction focused professionals to achieve excellence through education, advocacy, knowledge, standards of practice, ethics, professional development and research.” “NAADAC is the premier global organization of addiction focused professionals who enhance the health and recovery of individuals, families and communities.”

The NAADAC is affiliated with the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) and offers two different certification programs.

  • Recovery to Practice (RTP) Certificate
  • Conflict Resolution in Recovery Certificate

The first certification program focuses mainly on furthering your education on recovery amongst other things while the second certification program focuses more on the brain and how it affects the recovery process.
The NAADAC differs than the IC&RC organizations as it is not required to have the two above mentioned certifications. It also offers a membership program in five different categories with those being professional, associate, student, military, and retired. The membership provides multiple resources for those looking to further their education. You do not need to hold the NCC AP certificates to be a member of NAADAC. In addition to seventy hours of free webinars they also offer seventy-five free hours of continuing education as well as discounts on several items. For a full list of the benefits of joing please visit:


Which one to Choose?

The two organizations are extremely different than one another but each offer unique services. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, however, depending on the career path you choose it would best to research which organization will best fit your needs. If you are looking for certain certifications I would recommend the IC&RC but if you are looking to advance your knowledge in the substance abuse field then the NAADAC may be a better fit.
As of March 2013 there was talk about both organizations working together or even possibly merging however, there is no further information on this topic.

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Anthony Jay Dippre

I am a CATC 1 in California do I meet the requirements to transfer to New Mexico

Lynn Gilbert

I am a CADC in Nevada and moved to Florida. Did the IC&RC and NAADAC join together? I am trying to ge reciprocity. Thank you.

This webpage is completely inaccurate. To learn more about National Certification Commission for Addiction Professional (NCC AP)’s nine national certifications, please visit

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