A State by State Counselor Guide

Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Requirements in New Hampshire

New Hampshire substance abuse counselors are under the jurisdiction of a governmental authority, the Board of Licensing for Alcohol and Other Drug Use Professionals. They hold licensing as Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (LADCs) and Master Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors (MLADCs). Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors have degrees at at least the associate's level. Master Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors have education at at least the master's level. This gives them a greater scope of practice. New Hampshire MLADCs treat co-existing disorders as well as substance abuse issues.

Certified Recovery Support Worker is a lower classification with a more narrow scope of practice; this level of practice may be obtained by the non-degreed substance abuse workers. The New Hampshire Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors Association notes that work done for licensure at one level is often applicable toward licensure at a higher level (http://www.nhadaca.org/how-do-i-become-a-drug-and-alcohol-professional/).

Licensees at all levels must meet certain basic requirements. They must be able to read and write English. They must clear background checks.

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LADC Requirements

The LADC credential can be attained with a degree at the associate's level; having a higher degree means a slightly shorter pre-licensure supervised practice period. A candidate at the associate's level will need a degree in addiction studies, substance abuse counseling, or other equivalent course of study. A candidate at the bachelor’s level may have a degree in either of these disciplines or in social work, psychology, clinical mental health, or human services. Again, an equivalent field can be considered.

The LADC will need 270 hours of drug and alcohol education and 300 hours of practical training. These are typical requirements nationwide. The New Hampshire Board of Licensing for Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Professionals is a member of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium.

Education must focus on particular areas of competency. Included within the 270 hour requirement is a requirement for six hours each of ethics training and HIV/AIDS training (as they relate to substance abuse).

A bachelor's level candidate will need 4,000 hours of supervised practice -- this is on a par with what is required by most IC&RC boards around the nation. An associate's level candidate will need 6,000 hours -- this is slightly higher than the standard set by many boards.

The candidate must take the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) examination, offered by the IC&RC.

MLADC Requirements

New Hampshire sets the standards for its highest substance abuse counseling license somewhat above the standard of many states, requiring not only a master's degree but fully 60 semester hours of graduate coursework. (Individuals who completed shorter master's programs may have the opportunity to make up the difference.)

The prospective MLADC will need at least 270 hours of education that specifically relates to alcohol and drug counseling. It may be included as part of the qualifying degree. The candidate will also need 300 hours of practical training under supervision. Again, this may be part of the academic program.

Among the options are programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Students who complete CACREP programs can expect to meet the 60 credit hour requirement while pursuing specialized study in substance abuse counseling (http://www.cacrep.org/for-students/).

The prospective MLADC will meet a supervised practice requirement. The length of the work period may vary. According to state law, a prospective MLADC must have 3,000 hours of supervised practice. A qualifying license granted by the New Hampshire Board of Mental Health Practice, though, may be credited as 1,500 hours.Rules were proposed in 2016 that could increase the minimum number of practice hours.

An MLADC must take two tests: the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) examination and the Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP) examination. A candidate who holds a New Hampshire mental health license, however, need take only the AADC. Both examinations are under the banner of the IC&RC.

The Application and Examination Process

Application packets are available on the Board website (http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bdas/licensing.htm). An applicant will complete a number of steps and provide documentation from multiple third parties.

Approved applicants are pre-registered for the required examination. Pre-registration is not the same thing as scheduling. Scheduling is handled on an individual basis through the company that handles the computer-based testing.

The candidate will need to submit a written case study. This will focus on an actual client from a closed case file; the supervisor will sign an accompanying statement. Detailed instructions are included in the application packet.

The supervisor will submit a confidential evaluation. References will be required as well.

The Board will require official transcripts. Non-academic education can be verified by certificates of attendance or letters from the supervisor. Course descriptions are required in cases where trainings that have not been approved.

License and application fees total $110 at the LADC level, $300 at the MLADC level.

Fingerprinting is a required part of the application process. Fingerprints can be made at any of multiple State Police locations; some now use LiveScan technology. Scheduling must be carried out in advance. The required authorization form can be found in the application packet.

Out-of-State Substance Abuse Counselors

Out-of-state substance abuse counselors can be endorsed into New Hampshire if requirements are found to be at least substantially equivalent. Anyone who has held a substance abuse counseling license in another state must submit license verification, regardless of whether the credential is current.

License Renewal

There is a two-year renewal period. Licensees must document continuing education.

Additional Information

Licensing information is available from the New Hampshire Board of Licensing for Alcohol and Other Drug Use Professionals (http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bdas/licensing.htm). The Office of Professional Licensure and Certification can be reached by telephone at (603)-271-6761 or by email at 'NHLADC at nh.gov'.

Applicants should be aware that rules change periodically. Currently, there are proposed rule changes that would affect recovery support workers.

The New Hampshire Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors Association (http://nhadaca.org/) is an additional professional resource.