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What does the phrase “CAC rules” mean?
Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules.



What is DORA?
The Department of Regulatory Agencies.



What is OBH?
The Division of Behavioral Health within the Colorado Department of Human Services.  Read about the roles of DBH and DORA in the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors available on from DBH.



What does it take to become a Certified or Licensed Addiction Counselor?  
Completion of Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) approved:

  •  Training and education
  •  Clinically supervised work experience
  •  National examination for CAC II, CAC III and LAC



What are the two pathways to certification and licensure for addiction counselors?

  • Pathway I is for those individuals who hold a high school diploma or equivalent and those who hold a bachelor’s  degree in the behavioral health sciences. 
  • Pathway 2 is for those individuals who hold a clinical masters or doctoral degree.



What are the four levels of credentialing for addiction professionals?

  •  CAC I - Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I
  •  CAC II - Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II
  •  CAC III - Certified Addiction Counselor, Level III
  •  LAC - Licensed Addiction Counselor (Masters Level)



Where do I find the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules?
Find the rules on the DORA website: www.dora.state.co.us/mental-health/cac/licensing.htm



Do the training classes already taken expire if I do not submit an application within a certain amount of time?
Yes, all training classes for any level of certification will expire five years from the date of the class if no application is submitted to DORA.



What are the CAC Requirements?
The requirements for certification for a CAC I, II or III and licensure as a LAC are found in both the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules and the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors found on the Office of Behavioral Health website.  Both documents are needed for a complete overview of the requirements



What qualifies as work experience hours for certification?
Work experience is defined as paid or unpaid, clinically supervised, addiction specific counseling and related activities. This experience does not have to be obtained while working in a OBH licensed program, but the nature of the work experience must fit the description of addiction counselor competencies.  The work experience must also receive the required number of direct clinical supervision hours per month. In cases where your position was not specifically in an addiction treatment setting, yet a significant percentage of your work dealt with substance use disorders, that percentage of hours may count towards the work requirement, providing it meets the above criteria.



What if I am not working full time, how many supervision hours do I need per month?
Supervision hours may be prorated according to the number of hours worked, but may not be less than one hour per month.

  •  A counselor-in-training needs 3 hours of supervision per month for full time work (40-hour week).
  •  The same person would need 1.5 hours per month for a 20-hour week.
  •  The same person would need 1 hour per month for a 13-hour week.
  •  The same person would need 1 hour per month for an 8-hour week.



How do I document my work experience hours and the hours of supervision that have been provided to me by a qualified supervisor?
All work experience hours shall be documented on the DORA Work Verification Form (WVF) found in the original CAC application.



Can work hours from another state count towards your CAC hours?
Yes, if those hours are documented on the DORA Work Verification Form and the hours were supervised by someone with a credential that is the equivalent to a CAC III or LAC.  It will be necessary to submit the supervisor’s resume showing the appropriate addiction counseling experience and training and document the number of hours worked and the number of hours of supervision received.



Can I count as work experience hours, those hours I spend receiving treatment services?
No, the CAC rules prohibit accumulating any work experience hours while receiving primary substance use disorder treatment services as a client.



What are the DORA database listing requirements for those seeking  certification as an addiction counselor?

Please refer to the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors for further information found on the OBH website.



Where can I find the application for certification or licensure? 

The application and related documents can be downloaded from the DORA website: http://www.dora.state.co.us/mental-health/index.htm



Where can I find OBH approved traning classes for certification?

See the list of traning facilities on the OBH and DORA websites.



Where can I find an approved CAC supervisor?
By contacting any OBH licensed treatment program or those training centers that offer CAC classes.  OBH and DORA do not keep an approved supervisor list.



I just paid for my certification and now I have to pay a renewal fee. Why?
All new applicants who are issued a certification/license within 120 days of the upcoming renewal expiration date will be issued a certification/license with the subsequent expiration date. For example, certifications/licenses issued between  May 1, 2011 and August 31, 2011 will reflect a certification/license expiration date of August 31, 2013. Certifications/licenses issued prior to May 1, 2011 will reflect an expiration date of August 31, 2011 and must renew in the upcoming renewal period.
All Addiction Counselor certifications and licenses expire on August 31 of odd-numbered years and must be renewed to continue practicing.



Do I need to complete the jurisprudence exam with every application?
The general rule is that each time an application is submitted to DORA, the most current Jurisprudence exam must also be submitted.  However, if the examination has been taken, AND the applicant is already certified, no Jurisprudence exam is required with the upgrade application PROVIDED that the current version of the exam is the same version taken and passed previously.  Please see the bottom of the exam itself to find the version numbers and check with the most current version posted on the DORA website.



How many times can I take the mail-in Jurisprudence Examination?
The mail-in Jurisprudence examination may be taken as often as you need until it is successfully passed. The examination is designed to test your knowledge about routine and complex practice scenarios. It is open-book to encourage the development of personal resources to address practice questions.  The purpose of the exam is to acquaint the applicant with the law that regulates the practice of psychotherapy in Colorado and encourage ethical practice.



What resources do I need to complete the Jurisprudence examination?
The CAC I required class in ethics includes jurisprudence and is a good overview of information needed for successfully taking the exam.  Additional information is available at www.dora.state.co.us/mental-health/jurisresources.htm.



What is NAADAC and SACC?
NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, is the largest membership organization serving addiction counselors, educators and other addiction-focused health care professionals, who specialize in addiction prevention, treatment, recovery support and education. For more information visit www.naadac.org.

SACC is The Society of Addiction Counselors of Colorado, an affiliate of NAADAC. SACC is an association of concerned professionals seeking to improve the quality of substance abuse and other addiction treatment services through education, training, and advocacy in Colorado. When you join NAADAC in Colorado you automatically become a member of SACC. For more information visit www.sacc.cc.



What are the NAADAC national exams?
These examinations include the NCAC I, NCAC II and MAC exams. In accordance with the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules (Revised 09-01-10), one of these national exams is required for certification for both a CAC II and CAC III. See the CAC Handbook for Addiction Counselors for further information available from OBH.



How do applicants apply to take one of the NAADAC exams?
Applications and fees must be made through the Society of Addiction Counselors of Colorado (SACC). To register for an upcoming exam, visit www.sacc.cc.



Is national certification automatically gained when taking and passing one of the NAADAC exams?
No, you may take the exam only for a state requirement as is the case in Colorado, or follow a separate process if seeking a national credential from NAADAC. The fees are different for these two actions as are the requirements. Visit the NAADAC website at www.naadac.org for further information or call NAADAC at (800) 548-0497.



I let my CAC lapse, now what do I need to do to reinstate it?
Please see the DORA website for the reinstatement application. http://www.dora.state.co.us/mental-health/cac/CACreinstatement.pdf




Do I need special training to facilitate DUI groups?
There is no formal certification program to facilitate DUI Level I Education and DUI Level II Education and Therapy groups, however a CAC II or above is required to facilitate these groups. Group facilitators must take the specialized training for the chosen manualized curriculum being offered.



How do counselors become approved domestic violence providers?
Call the Domestic Violence Board at (303) 239-4528, or visit their website at http://www.dcj.state.co.us/odvsom/.



Does the Office of Behavioral Health approve training centers that offer classes for certification?






 Last Updated: 03/15/2011