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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have personal experience with chemical dependency 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 addiction, substance abuse 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 this certificate?
Many counselors will have clients with 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 MNLADC licensure?
Course content prepares students for the ICRC licensing exam and the NAADAC Level II licensing exam. For more information on licensing requirements, visit the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy website.

What are the licensing requirements for other states?
Each state has its own education and credentialing requirements for addictions counselors. To find out each state’s requirements, visit the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network (ATTC). The requirements for the LPCC are uniform across all 50 states.

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 program 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 guideliThe 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 a minimum of two years counseling experience.

  • The internship is with a licensed chemical dependency program or mental health program that provides services to those with substance use or co-occurring disorders.

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 meet the following minimum requirements to be considered:

  • Submit transcripts documenting a minimum of 18 academic credit hours of course work related to addictions counseling
  • Successful completion of prerequisite course: ADDS 5091 Assessment and Treatment Planning 

Is there a professional organization?
MAARCH is a professional association of chemical health agencies and individuals striving to raise awareness about the important issues surrounding chemical dependency and the power of recovery.

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?
Students may be admitted concurrently in both a certificate program and a degree program. Your credits earned through a certificate program may also be transferable to a graduate degree program at the University of Minnesota or another institution. Check with the appropriate degree program adviser to determine whether the credits will transfer.

Do I have to take the courses in order?
Most courses required for a certificate program need not be taken in any fixed order, though some program's courses are sequenced. Also, some 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 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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