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Colorado Prevention Certification


The Colorado Association of Alcohol and Drug Service Providers (The Colorado Providers Association) is a statewide trade association of alcohol and drug Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, Recovery Support and Research provider executives.  Our mission is to cultivate leadership, mobilize resources and promote the effective use, integration and coordination of alcohol and drug services.  COPA believes that Colorado’s Prevention workforce has many opportunities in the future and must be ready with the credentials to lead therefore we are offering the Colorado Prevention certification.




  • Gain greater professional recognition
  • Confirm proficiency
  • Enhance standing and reputation 
  • Promote prevention and prevention best practices



Today’s communities face a myriad of challenges – violence, drug abuse, crime, illness – but those problems, and the long-term damage they can cause, can be prevented, with appropriate education and intervention.


The Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2010, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) “8 Strategic Initiatives,” and the 2009 National Drug Control Strategy have placed prevention in the forefront of health care reform efforts across the country.  Local, state and national organizations are struggling to keep up with the tremendous demand for new prevention professionals.


Credentialing provides much needed standardization to the still-evolving profession of Prevention.



Colorado competency-based Prevention Specialist (PS) credential offers a consistent standard of knowledgeable and well-qualified individuals practicing prevention in our communities.


For Funders:  Credentialed prevention staff ensures that programs and their funders are delivering on their mission of ensuring public safety and well-being.


For Individuals: Becoming credentialed demonstrates competency by having professional expertise and qualifications verified by an independent evaluator.



The International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium, in keeping with its traditions of establishing high-quality practice standards for substance abuse counselors and clinical supervisor; IC&RC provides leadership in developing professional practice standards for Prevention Specialist.  The credential is recognized worldwide as the gold standard for competency in the field; it offers reciprocity and is written into the U.S. state and national practice regulations and insurance legislation.


Prevention Specialist is one of the fastest growing credentials in the field of addiction-related behavioral health care.  There are now more than 50 U.S. states, territories and countries that offer reciprocal prevention credential.



In the spring of 2011, COPA became the Colorado IC&RC Prevention Certification Board and will be offering Prevention Certification.




Certified Prevention Specialist Minimum Requirements:


  • Experience:  2000 hours of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) prevention work experience.
  • Education:  100 hours of prevention-specific education.  50 hours of this education must be ATOD specific and of that 32 hours must be the Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Training (SAPST).  Six hours must be specific to Prevention Ethics.
  • Supervision:  120 hours specific to the domains, with a minimum of 10 hours in each domain.  The domains are (1) Planning & Evaluation, (2) Education & Skill Development. (3) Community Organization, (4) Public Policy & Environmental Change, and (5) Professional Growth & responsibility.
  • Examination:  Applicant must pass the IC&RC Written Prevention Specialist Examination.
  • Code of Ethics:  Applicants must sign a prevention specific code of ethics statement of affirmation statement.
  • Recertification:  40 hours of continuing education earned every two years.