Get Certified

This situation best describes me:

I was formerly certified with the ACCBC, I am valid with another DHCS approved certifying organization (CO) and want to reinstate my ACCBC certification.

I was formerly certified with the ACCBC, my certification is now expired, and I want to renew my ACCBC certification.

I have never been certified with the ACCBC, I am valid with my current CO and want to transfer my certification to the ACCBC. (Please read the transfer and reinstatement policy in a new tab) Click here for the equivalency application page.

I have met the CATC eligibility requirements – including passing the CATC Exam – and I am ready to become initially certified with the ACCBC. Please review the CATC Certification Eligibility Requirements (read below for requirements).

CATC Certification Eligibility

All candidates for certification must meet all eligibility requirements established by the ACCBC in effect at the time of application for certification. Candidates cannot earn certification without passing the certification exam.

Eligibility Requirements

The following steps must be completed to earn CATC (I, II, III, IV, V, N) initial certification:

1. Education:

Option 1: Completion of a Community College or any accredited (post-secondary institution) Alcohol and Drug Studies (ADS)/Addiction Studies program that is at least 30 semester units in length and that is designed to meet Federal TAP 21 guidelines. (for a list of approved programs, please refer to of-colleges-career-track-programs/accreditedaodprograms/)

Option 2: Completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in one of the following areas of study: Addiction Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Counseling, Human Services, Criminal Justice, or other related behavioral health or behavioral science degree


Completion of the following addiction coursework either as part of, or in addition to, the applicant’s degree:

  • 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)
  • Fieldwork or direct experience with AOD clients

2. EXAM: Passing score of at least 70% on the CATC Exam, as evidenced by the CATC Examination Score Report, which is a hard copy document given to candidates immediately following the CATC exam. Submit the Exam Eligibility Application before registering with Psi to take the test.

3. EXPERIENCE: Proof of at least 2,240 hours of supervised clinical/field experience hours on the ACCBC Summary of Hours form, which is available on the ACCBC website at

Supervised experience requirements:

  1. Experience may include may include paid and/or unpaid work experience providing counseling services in an AOD facility dating back to the first day of registration with a DHCS approved certifying organization, or enrollment in an AOD/ADS program. Hours worked prior to registration and/or enrollment in an AOD/ADS program will not be accepted.
  2. Work must be in a DHCS licensed and/or certified drug/alcohol treatment center or facility. Practicum/fieldwork hours do count toward the total 2,240 clinically supervised work experience hours, but must meet the requirements listed on the Summary of Hours Form. Hours cannot be counted during any period your AOD registration was lapsed or expired.
  3. 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:

  • Proof of at least 2,240 hours of supervised clinical/field experience hours on the ACCBC Summary of Hours form signed by you and your certified or licensed supervisor.
  • A clinical supervisor must be either certified as an AOD counselor or a licensed professional in good standing in the state of California. Licensed professional means a physician licensed by the Medical Board of California (MD); or a psychologist licensed by the Board of Psychology; or a clinical social worker (LCSW) or marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or licensed professional clinical counselors (LPCC) licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, or an intern registered with the California Board of Psychology or the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (AMFT, ACSW, APCC). Accepted AOD Counselor credentials are the Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC, I, II, III, IV, V), Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor (LAADC), Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor II (CADC II), and Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CAODC).

4. APPLICATION: Submission of a complete Initial CATC (I, II, III, IV, V, N) Certification Application (

Please refer to the ACCBC Application Processing Time Policy for processing time information, and the ACCBC Application and Document Submission Policy regarding application submission (please see page 66 regarding the aforementioned policies).

5. REFERENCES: Three (3) letters of character reference from three (3) different individuals. Reference letters must be typed and in formal letter format; emails will not be accepted in lieu of letters. Letters must include signature of author with author’s contact information

Letters must be from three different individuals and may not be written family members.

6. FEE: Payment of non-refundable Initial CATC (I, II, III, IV, V, N) Certification fee (please refer to Fee Schedule for fees). CAADE membership is not required for certification.

Education Equivalency Evaluation

With respect to meeting California Code of Regulations requirements for Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification, and recognizing 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 post-secondary institution.

The Education Equivalency Evaluation process is used to independently evaluate the education received by an applicant in order to verify that it meets the educational requirements set by the ACCBC for CATC Certification. If an Education Equivalency Application is approved, the applicant may move forward in the certification process by applying to take the CATC Exam, and upon successful passing of the CATC Exam, can then apply for Initial CATC Certification.

The following steps must be completed to earn equivalency CATC certification: (all forms available online at:

Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California

5230 Clark Ave, Suite #1

Lakewood, CA, 90712

Ph: (800) 991-2997    Email:    Website: