Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC)

Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)

Some people who struggle with substance use disorders may have begun using as a way to self-medicate in response to trauma, grief, depression or other issues, and require specialized mental health support and treatment to help them recover. Alcohol and drug counselors provide therapy and counseling to people who experience addiction as well as other related behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help the client recover from addiction or to change problematic behaviors. CDACs provide counsel and support to patients, educate families in the best ways to help in the recovery process, and work with both inpatient clients and those participating in outpatient programs. 

Who are Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors? Alcohol and drug counselors, also called substance abuse counselors, chemical dependency counselors and addiction counselors are patient, empathetic, and have a strong desire to help others overcome challenges and succeed. They typically work in substance abuse treatment facilities, such as outpatient clinics and residential treatment centers and may work with clients one-on-one and in group settings. They may also work in hospitals, mental health clinics, or private practice. Many incorporate the principles of Twelve Step Facilitation, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and other evidence-based methods to inform their practice. They teach clients how to manage their addiction and provide them with strategies to help with recovery. Furthermore, they help clients rebuild professional relationships, improve their personal relationships, and find ways to discuss their addiction or other problems with family and friends.

Learn More about the Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC) Requirements

Applicants must live and/or work at least 51% of the time within the state of New Mexico.

Work Experience
Three (3) years/6000 hours of supervised work experience specific to the
AODA domains

An associate degree in behavioral science may substitute for 1000 hours;

A bachelors degree in behavioral science may substitute for 2000 hours;

A masters degree in behavioral science may substitute for 4000 hours

Five (5) years
All addiction specific training/workshops/education must be completed within 5 years of application submission.

A high school diploma or equivalent is required and verification must be submitted. 270 hours specific to the CDAC domains (see below). Six hours must be specific to counselor ethics. Remaining hours must be addiction, counseling, or behavioral health training. College/University credits from an applicable ATOD prevention-related course may be applied.

  • ​One semester credit of relevant college course is equivalent to 15 contact hours
  • Three semester credits are equivalent to 45 clock hours.
  • One quarter credit is equivalent to 10 clock hours.
  • An official transcript from the college/university is required.

Verification of 300 hours of supervision specific to the domains; to include the 12 core functions with a minimum of ten hours in each core function area.

Domains are as follows:

  • Screening, Assessment, and Engagement
  • Treatment Planning, Collaboration, and Referral
  • Counseling
  • Professional and Ethical Responsibilities

Applicant must provide three (3) letters of recommendation from a supervisor, peer, or an outside agency. These letters must be sent with the application and should document the character, professionalism, and competency of the applicant.

Application Review Fee: $55
ADA Exam Fee: $160
Re-Testing Fee: $160
*Fees are non-refundable