Equivalency Certification

Equivalency evaluation for students who attended non-accredited academic institutions

With respect to California State requirements and the value of work experience, and to create a pathway for all demographics who wish to become certified addiction treatment counselors, the ACCBC has developed an equivalency and career track policy for candidates who have not completed their Alcohol and Drug/Addiction Studies coursework at an accredited Community College or postsecondary institution.

Requirements for applying for the CATC Credential without attending a Community College or regionally accredited (post-secondary institution) Alcohol and Drug Studies/Addiction Studies program are described below.

The following steps must be completed to earn CATC certification through equivalent training:

1. Submission of a complete Equivalency Evaluation form.

2. APPLICATION: Submission of a complete Initial CATC I application that includes:

a. Signed and Dated ACCBC Code of Ethics

b. Signed and Dated Scope of Practice

c. Signed and Dated Code of Conduct

3. EXPERIENCE: Proof of at least 3,000 hours of supervised clinical/field experience hours on ACCBC Summary of Hours form. Applicants who have not attended a Community College or any accredited (post-secondary institution) Alcohol and Drug Studies /Addiction Studies program will be required to show competency and skills which would be consistent with 3,000 of work experience.

Supervised experience requirements:

a. Experience may include volunteer or paid experience in the field dating back to the first day the applicant began attending Alcohol and Drug/Addiction Studies (ADS) program.

b. Work must be in a licensed drug/alcohol treatment center or facility. Practicum/fieldwork hours DO count toward the total 3,000.

c. Experience hours must be in evaluation and assessment, treatment planning, pharmacology of alcohol and other drugs, cultural issues, models of intervention, family issues, legal and ethical issues, referrals, and/or record keeping.

Evidence of experience requires:

d. Proof of at least 3000 hours of supervised clinical/field experience hours on the ACCBC  Summary of Hours form  signed by you and your supervisor.

e. Supervisors must be certified alcohol/drug treatment counselors or licensed professionals (LMFT, LCSW, LPCC, MD).


a. 21 semester units of addiction specific coursework: Drugs and Society OR Physiological Effects of Drugs and Alcohol, Family & Addiction, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery (Treatment of Substance Abuse—clinical focus), Co-Occurring Disorders, Group Counseling (experiential), Ethics (specific to addiction counseling).

b. 9 semester units of prior learning (academic credit given for previous life/work experience) or elective courses can be submitted for evaluation.

c. 255 practicum hours (internship experience)

Education will be evaluated by California State Board of Education Standards. Candidates will need to provide; transcripts from academic institutions, course outlines and syllabi for each class, prior learning projects for academic credit and practicum fieldwork/internship documentation.

5. FEE: Payment of initial non-refundable CATC fee. CAADE membership is not required for certification.

6. EXAM: Passing score on the CATC examination.

Fill out online initial equivalency certification application form, pay fee online (see ACCBC payment page at accbc.org, coming soon) or either fax, email, or mail initial equivalency certification application form (and payment payable to CAADE/ACCBC) to:

Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California

5230 Clark Ave, Suite #1

Lakewood, CA, 90712


Ph: (800) 991-2997 Fax: 562-275-3150.  Email: office@accbc.org    Website: www.accbc.org