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LADC Licensing Requirements & Academic Training Questions

  • What is required to become a licensed Alcohol and drug Counselor?
    The standard method requires applicants to document completion of a bachelor's degree, 270 clock hours (18 semester credits) of specific alcohol and drug counseling course work, and an 880 hour alcohol and drug counseling practicum. Applicants must also show that they have passed a written comprehensive exam. Although no longer offered, applicants can show a passing score on a written and oral exam or a passing score on a written exam (not comprehensive) and 2,000 hours of supervised practice acceptable to the Board. All the education requirements (degree, course work, and practicum) must be completed through an accredited school and documented on an official transcript. There are two other licensure methods available. Please click here for more information.

  • What specific courses are needed to become an LADC?
    (i) an overview of the transdisciplinary foundations of alcohol and drug counseling, including theories of chemical dependency, the continuum of care, and the process of change;
    (ii) pharmacology of substance abuse disorders and the dynamics of addiction, including medication-assisted therapy;
    (iii) professional and ethical responsibilities;
    (iv) multicultural aspects of chemical dependency;
    (v) co-occurring disorders; and
    (vi) the core functions defined in section 148F.01, subdivision 10:

    Subd. 10. Core functions. "Core functions" means the following services provided in alcohol and drug treatment:
    (1) "screening" means the process by which a client is determined appropriate and eligible for admission to a particular program;
    (2) "intake" means the administrative and initial assessment procedures for admission to a program;
    (3) "orientation" means describing to the client the general nature and goals of the program; rules governing client conduct and infractions that can lead to disciplinary action or discharge from the program; in a nonresidential program, the hours during which services are available; treatment costs to be borne by the client, if any; and client's rights;
    (4) "assessment" means those procedures by which a counselor identifies and evaluates an individual's strengths, weaknesses, problems, and needs to develop a treatment plan or make recommendations for level of care placement;
    (5) "treatment planning" means the process by which the counselor and the client identify and rank problems needing resolution; establish agreed upon immediate and long-term goals; and decide on a treatment process and the sources to be utilized;
    (6) "counseling" means the utilization of special skills to assist individuals, families, or groups in achieving objectives through exploration of a problem and its ramifications; examination of attitudes and feelings; consideration of alternative solutions; and decision making;
    (7) "case management" means activities that bring services, agencies, resources, or people together within a planned framework of action toward the achievement of established goals;
    (8) "crisis intervention" means those services which respond to an alcohol or other drug user's needs during acute emotional or physical distress;
    (9) "client education" means the provision of information to clients who are receiving or seeking counseling concerning alcohol and other drug abuse and the available services and resources;
    (10) "referral" means identifying the needs of the client which cannot be met by the counselor or agency and assisting the client to utilize the support systems and available community resources;
    (11) "reports and record keeping" means charting the results of the assessment and treatment plan and writing reports, progress notes, discharge summaries, and other client-related data; and
    (12) "consultation with other professionals regarding client treatment and services" means communicating with other professionals in regard to client treatment and services to assure comprehensive, quality care for the client.
  • Why are the 12 core functions so critical in training of an ADC?

    The 12 core functions are based on a well-researched description (a job analysis) of the activities ADCs actually perform when working. The core functions are included in the Minnesota licensing law. More recently, the Addiction Technology Transfer Centers National Curriculum Committee of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice in a document referred to as TAP 21. Though TAP 21 may gradually replace the 12 core functions as a reference to ADC practice activities, TAP 21 incorporates the 12 core functions and reorganizes the competency areas. The content and job functions of chemical dependency counselors remain unchanged.

  • Where can I obtain training to meet the licensing requirements for ADCs?

    A number of schools and programs in the region offer alcohol and drug counseling courses that have met licensing requirements. Click here for a list of programs. 



  • Do I have to take course work in Minnesota to meet the ADC licensing requirements?
    No. Academic course work may be completed at any U.S. accredited, program, college or university. Course work does have to meet the specific course work requirements. If you complete course work in another state, we strongly recommend that you keep copies of your syllabi and submit copies with your application.  
  • Are there any online courses I can take to satisfy the ADC academic requirements?
    Any accredited schools with ADC academic programs can create and offer such courses. You may wish to contact schools that interest you to ask if they offer or plan to offer courses online.  (Online courses available for continuing education credits do not meet licensing requirements.) 
  • If a person has taken related counseling, social work, psychology and etc. courses, will BBHT count them toward meeting ADC licensing requirements?
    The review of courses by the Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy occurs when an ADC license application is submitted. In addition to transcripts, course syllabi or course descriptions are often needed to make a determination as to whether the course meets statutory subject matter requirements.  However, you may be able to get a preliminary indication by consulting with the contact person at one of the training programs listed on our website under the "Licensing" tab. Generally, if one of these training programs accepts your course as a substitute for one of its required courses, that is an indication, but not a guarantee, that the Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy will also accept it.
  • Is there any special consideration given to persons with a master's or doctoral degree in other mental health fields?
    At present, the ADC licensing education requirements do not recognize other mental health majors or degrees beyond the bachelor's level. Rather, the statute focuses on subject matter requirements that must be covered in academic course work. Also, other clinical experience, past work experience and informal training may be “transcripted” by some educational programs, with each program making its own decisions about what standards to apply. The ADC licensing law has never referenced related counseling disciplines and degrees in its requirements.
  • Is it possible for someone to complete their practicum at the same time they are finishing their academic requirements?

    It is up to the school. Completing the required course work first gives an individual the background in learning and provides a conceptual structure for the practicum experience.  You should check with your school, or schools you are interested in, to verify their policy. 

  • Can someone complete one practicum for two disciplines at the same time?

    Yes, if the academic institution agrees, and the practicum site is a program with a chemical dependency focus. You may also have to meet practicum requirements for the other discipline as, for example, social work, counseling, marriage and family therapy, or psychology education requirements differ. 

LADC Examination Questions

LADC Work and Practice Questions

  • To what extent can someone with a temporary permit work and function as an alcohol and drug counselor? Do they have to have supervisors in sessions with them or just have the supervisor on site?

    A person who has completed all educational requirements may apply for a temporary permit, and when granted may practice alcohol and drug counseling under the supervision of a licensed alcohol and drug counselor or other licensed professional exempt from licensure. The degree of supervision required is not specified in statute, but as the supervisor assumes responsibility and liability for the actions of persons under supervision, the degree of  supervision should be appropriate to the skill, experience and demonstrated competencies of the temporary permit holder.

  • How can a person qualify for a temporary permit?
    The standard method requires applications to document completion of an associates degree or the equivalent (64 semester credits), 270 clock hours (18 semester credits) of specific alcohol and drug counseling course work, and an 880 hour alcohol and drug counseling practicum. All of these requirements must be completed through an accredited school and documented on an official transcript. You do not need to have passed an exam to qualify for a temporary permit. 

  • Can a psychologist, social worker or the other licensed health care professional supervise persons with a temporary permit?
    Yes, if they are qualified to do so.  Minnesota Statutes, section 148F.035,  allows temporary permit holders to be supervised by an LADC or other licensed professional exempt from licensure.  
  • What are the qualifications for a CD technician, and what can they do?

    According to Minnesota Statutes section 148F.045, an alcohol and drug counselor technician can perform the first three core functions (screening, intake, and orientation) without a license. The alcohol and drug counselor technician must be under the direct supervision of a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. 

  • Can Alcohol and Drug Counselors diagnose?
    Minnesota Statutes section 148F.01, subd. 18 (Practice of Alcohol and Drug Counseling) states the following:

    "Practice of alcohol and drug counseling" means the observation, description, evaluation, interpretation, and modification of human behavior by the application of core functions as it relates to the harmful or pathological use or abuse of alcohol or other drugs. The practice of alcohol and drug counseling includes, but is not limited to, the following activities, regardless of whether the counselor receives compensation for the activities:

    (1) assisting clients who use alcohol or drugs, evaluating that use, and recognizing dependency if it exists;

    (2) assisting clients with alcohol or other drug problems to gain insight and motivation aimed at resolving those problems;

    (3) providing experienced professional guidance, assistance, and support for the client's efforts to develop and maintain a responsible functional lifestyle;

    (4) recognizing problems outside the scope of the counselor's training, skill, or competence and referring the client to other appropriate professional services;

    (5) diagnosing the level of alcohol or other drug use involvement to determine the level of care;

    (6) individual planning to prevent a return to harmful alcohol or chemical use;

    (7) alcohol and other drug abuse education for clients;

    (8) consultation with other professionals;

    (9) gaining diversity awareness through ongoing training and education; and

    (10) providing the services in clauses (1) to (9), as needed, to family members or others who are directly affected by someone using alcohol or other drugs.

LADC License Application Process and Review Questions

  • How long does it take to become license?
    When all education, practicum and examination requirements are completed, and the applicant submits a completed application for licensure, the application undergoes a review process.  The amount of time it takes to issue a license is dependent upon applicants providing necessary and requested information in a timely and accurate manner, and is also dependent upon whether other agencies provide the board with requested documentation in a timely manner.

  • I have a criminal history or previous mental health issue. Will this background prevent me from getting an ADC license?

    All applicants undergo a background check, including a criminal history check, as required by law. All applicants are required to answer a series of background questions on their application. Applicants are urged to fully disclose information regarding their background. A criminal history does not automatically preclude licensure, and each applicant’s case is assessed on its own merits. Some of the factors included in a decision whether to issue a license are: severity of the crime; length of time since conviction, circumstances in an applicant’s life at the time of the crime, sobriety at the time of both application and commission of the crime; and success in treatment. Applicants with issues of mental health or boundaries in relationships may be asked to undergo a psychological evaluation conducted by an expert consultant selected by BBHT. 

LADC Reciprocity Questions

  • I am a licensed ADC in the State of "X." Can I apply by reciprocity for a Minnesota ADC license?

    You may apply by reciprocity but your license will not qualify you for a Minnesota license unless the requirements you met to obtain your license in the other state are substantially similar to the current requirements for an ADC license in Minnesota. Minnesota does not have any “reciprocity agreements” in place with any other jurisdictions. Reciprocity applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Application and Licensure Committee (ALC) of the Board. 

  • I have a reciprocal certification. Can I get a Minnesota license with my certification?
    If you hold a national certification as an alcohol and drug counselor from another jurisdiction, you may be eligible for licensure by reciprocity if the requirements to obtain that certification are substantially similar to the current requirements for licensure in Minnesota.

LADC Other Questions

  • What other major ADC organizations related to chemical dependency are there in Minnesota?
    The Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery in Chemical Health (M.A.R.R.C.H.) is the statewide professional association for alcohol and drug counselors. The International Consortium on Reciprocity and Certification (I.C.R.C.) is an international organization that designs testing and provides certification credentials. Its local affiliate for the geographic area of Minnesota is the Minnesota Certification Board (M.C.B.) and for American Indian tribes in the Upper Midwest is Upper Midwest Indian Council on Addictive Disorders (U.M.I.C.A.D.). The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (N.A.A.D.A.C.) Certification Commission is a national organization that designs testing and provides certification. The Minnesota Council of Addiction Studies Education (MnC.A.S.E.) is the local affiliate of a national association of addiction educators. Health professionals sometimes connect with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (A.S.A.M.).