Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 18. Professional and Occupational Licensing
Agency 115. Board of Counseling
Chapter 30. Regulations Governing the Certification of Substance Abuse Counselors and Substance Abuse Counseling Assistants

18VAC115-30-50. Educational Requirements for Substance Abuse Counselors.

A. An applicant for examination for certification as a substance abuse counselor shall:

1. Have a bachelor's degree; and

2. Have completed 400 clock hours of substance abuse education from one of the following programs:

a. An accredited university or college; or

b. Seminars and workshops that meet the requirements of subsection B of this section and are offered or approved by one of the following:

(1) The American Association of Marriage and Family Counselors and its state affiliates.

(2) The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and its state affiliates.

(3) The American Association of State Counseling Boards.

(4) The American Counseling Association and its state and local affiliates.

(5) The American Psychological Association and its state affiliates.

(6) The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.

(7) NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals and its state and local affiliates.

(8) National Association of Social Workers.

(9) National Board for Certified Counselors.

(10) A national behavioral health organization or certification body.

(11) Individuals or organizations that have been approved as continuing competency sponsors by the American Association of State Counseling Boards or a counseling board in another state.

B. Substance abuse education.

1. The education will include 220 hours spent in receiving didactic training in substance abuse counseling. Each applicant shall have received a minimum of 10 clock hours in each of the following eight areas:

a. Understanding the dynamics of human behavior;

b. Signs and symptoms of substance abuse;

c. Treatment approaches;

d. Continuum of care and case management skills;

e. Recovery process and relapse prevention methods;

f. Ethics;

g. Professional identity in the provision of substance abuse services; and

h. Crisis intervention.

In addition, each applicant shall have at least 20 hours in each of the following two areas:

(i) Substance abuse counseling treatment planning and substance abuse research; and

(ii) Group counseling.

2. The education shall also consist of 180 hours of experience performing the following tasks with substance abuse clients:

a. Screening clients to determine eligibility and appropriateness for admission to a particular program;

b. Intake of clients by performing the administrative and initial assessment tasks necessary for admission to a program;

c. Orientation of new clients to program's rules, goals, procedures, services, costs and the rights of the client;

d. Assessment of client's strengths, weaknesses, problems, and needs for the development of a treatment plan;

e. Treatment planning with the client to identify and rank problems to be addressed, establish goals, and agree on treatment processes;

f. Counseling the client utilizing specialized skills in both individual and group approaches to achieve treatment goals and objectives;

g. Case management activities that bring services, agencies, people and resources together in a planned framework of action to achieve established goals;

h. Crisis intervention responses to clients' needs during acute mental, emotional or physical distress;

i. Education of clients by providing information about drug abuse and available services and resources;

j. Referral of clients in order to meet identified needs unable to be met by the counselor and assisting the client in effectively utilizing those resources;

k. Reporting and charting information about client's assessment, treatment plan, progress, discharge summaries and other client-related data; and

l. Consultation with other professionals to assure comprehensive quality care for the client.

Each of these tasks shall be performed for at least eight hours under supervision and shall be verified as a part of the application by the supervisor.

C. Groups and classes attended as a part of a therapy or treatment program will not be accepted as any part of the educational experience.

Statutory Authority

§§ 54.1-2400 and 54.1-3505 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 2.2, eff. May 8, 1991; amended, Volume 10, Issue 14, eff. May 4, 1994; Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003; Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. October 15, 2009.

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