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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have personal experience with substance abuse disorders or treatment to become an addictions counselor?
No. Employers are seeking individuals with advanced education and training in the science and practice of chemical addiction and counseling. Previous personal experience with substance abuse disorders or treatment does not make a person more qualified, competent, or skilled at being an effective counselor than someone who has not had personal experience with chemical dependency.

Can I work as an addictions counselor if I have had chemical dependency treatment myself?
Yes. Most agencies and clinics require a minimum of two years of sobriety prior to being hired and prior to an internship placement. All licensing applicants will be required to sign a statement verifying a minimum of two years of sobriety. Similarly, the state may deny, revoke, or suspend a license if an individual has "habitually overindulged in the use of or the dependence on alcohol within the past two years" and/or has engaged in the use of any controlled substance within the past two years.

Who will benefit from the service provider certificate?
All counselors will have clients experiencing problems related to substance abuse and chemical dependency. All counselors would benefit from having expertise in this area.

When can I take the written exam for the MLADC licensure?
Course content prepares students for the ICRC and NAADAC licensing exam. Completing the course work prior to taking the licensing exam increases the likelihood of successfully passing the exam. For more information on licensing requirements, visit the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (BBHT) website.

Will the certificate meet the Wisconsin Substance Abuse Counselor requirements?
The Addiction Studies Certificate is approved by the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing as a comprehensive 360-hour substance abuse counselor program. Our service provider track satisfies the educational requirements for the Substance Abuse Counselor credential.

What does the internship entail?
Minnesota Statues for licensure require an 880 internship focused on alcohol and drug counseling activities. The internship must meet the following guidelines:

  • the student is supervised by a person with at least a bachelor's degree, is licensed as an alcohol and drug counselor or an allied licensed professional such as an LPCC or LICSW, with two years of direct counseling experience;
  • the internship is with a licensed chemical dependency program or mental health program that provides services to clients with substance abuse or co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorder; and
  • the internship must provide experience in each of the 12 core functions.

Please review the Internship Manual before or during your first class in the certificate program.

What if I am only interested in taking the internship courses?
Decisions about admitting students for the internship only will be made by the faculty committee on a case-by-case basis. Individuals seeking this option must submit transcripts documenting a minimum of 18 academic credit hours of course work related to addictions counseling with a C or better.

Can I include this certificate in a degree program?
Your credits earned through this certificate program may be transferable to a degree program at the University of Minnesota or another institution. Check with the appropriate degree program adviser to determine if the credits will transfer. We have designed an Addiction Studies Degree Completion Program through the Inter-College Program.

Is there a professional organization?
Yes, students and professionals can join professional organizations at the state and national level. The Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MAARCH) is a professional association that "exists to be the collective voice for members providing the continuum of chemical health services in Minnesota." At a national level, students and professionals can join the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). NAADAC is "the largest membership organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to the legislative, occupational, and educational priorities of addiction service professionals."

Why is it important that I apply for admission into the program?
You may take one or two courses in this certificate program before applying for official admission. However, you should apply for admission in the program as soon as possible because, as an admitted certificate student, you will:

  • be assured that all of your course work will count toward the certificate. Sometimes requirements change;
  • receive relevant updates about the program;
  • have access to academic advising;
  • have an opportunity to register earlier than a student who is not admitted;
  • not be assessed the University of Minnesota Student Services fee if you are admitted to a certificate program and not admitted to a degree program;
  • be assured that the tuition you pay for a course is the approved certificate tuition rate.

How long will it take for me to complete the program?
Students have four years to complete a certificate. If additional time is needed, you may petition for an extension.

Can I include this certificate in a degree program?
Your credits earned through this certificate program may be transferable to a degree program. Check with the appropriate degree program adviser to determine if the credits will transfer.

Do I have to take the courses in order?
Most courses required for certificate programs need not be taken in any fixed order, though some courses are sequenced. Also, some 4000- and 5000-level classes have prerequisite course work. Prior to taking such classes, you must complete the stated prerequisite course work or be given permission by the instructor to register.

Where can I learn more about employment opportunities with this certificate?
Informal interviews with professors, supervisors, or professionals working in your career of interest are very effective ways to find out more about the field and about necessary skills, experience, qualifications, and how the certificate can best work for you. In addition, the College of Continuing Education offers career and lifework planning services including individual consultations, workshops, and career-related assessments that can help you explore career options.

Can previous credits I have earned elsewhere be used towards the certificate requirements?
With approval, transfer course work completed at the University of Minnesota or any other accredited institution can make up 40 percent of the certificate requirements. At least 60 percent of the credits for the completion of the certificate must be earned after admission to the certificate and must be completed at the University of Minnesota.


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