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

18VAC115-30-60. Experience requirements for substance abuse counselors.

A. Registration. Supervision in Virginia shall be registered and approved by the board prior to the beginning of supervised experience in order to be counted toward certification. Supervision will not be accepted if it does not meet the requirements set forth in subsections B and C of this section. To register supervision for board approval prior to obtaining the supervised experience, an applicant shall submit in one package:

1. A supervisory contract;

2. Attestation of the supervisor's education and experience as required under subsections C and D of this section;

3. The registration fee;

4. An official transcript documenting attainment of a bachelor's or post-baccalaureate degree; and

5. Evidence of completion of at least 120 hours of didactic education as required by 18VAC115-30-50 B.

B. Experience requirements.

1. An applicant for certification as a substance abuse counselor shall have had 2,000 hours of supervised experience in the practice of substance abuse counseling services.

2. The supervised experience shall include a minimum of one hour and a maximum of four hours per 40 hours of work experience between the supervisor and the applicant to total 100 hours within the required experience. No more than half of these hours may be satisfied with group supervision. One hour of group supervision will be deemed equivalent to one hour of individual supervision.

3. The supervised experience shall be completed in not less than 12 months and not more than 60 months.

a. Supervisees who began a supervised experience before February 19, 2020, shall complete the supervised experience by February 19, 2025.

b. An individual who does not complete the supervised experience within 60 months may request an extension and shall submit evidence to the board demonstrating the extenuating circumstances that prevented completion of the supervised experience within the required timeframe.

4. Supervised experience obtained more than 10 years from February 19, 2020, shall not be accepted for certification by examination. The board may make an exception for an applicant who has been providing substance abuse counseling for a minimum of 2,000 hours within the past 60 months and who can submit evidence of such experience.

5. During the supervised experience, supervisees shall use their names and the title "supervisee" in all written communications. Clients shall be informed in writing of the supervisee's status and the supervisor's name, professional address, and phone number. Supervisees shall not directly bill for their services or represent themselves as independent or autonomous practitioners.

6. The supervised experience shall consist of 160 hours of experience performing the following tasks with substance abuse clients. Each of the following tasks shall be performed for at least eight hours under supervision as verified by the supervisor on an application for certification:

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 a client's 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 a 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.

C. Supervisor qualifications. A board-approved clinical supervisor shall hold an active, unrestricted license or certification and shall be:

1. A licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner;

2. A licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical psychologist, licensed clinical social worker, licensed marriage and family therapist, medical doctor, or registered nurse who has either:

a. A board-recognized national certification in substance abuse counseling obtained by standards substantially equivalent to those set forth in this chapter;

b. A certification as a substance abuse counselor issued by this board; or

c. A minimum of one year of experience in substance abuse counseling and at least 100 hours of didactic training covering the areas outlined in 18VAC115-30-50 B 2 a through 2 m; or

3. A substance abuse counselor certified by the Virginia Board of Counseling who has two years of experience as a Virginia board-certified substance abuse counselor.

D. Supervisor training. In order to be approved by the board after February 19, 2021, a clinical supervisor shall obtain professional training in supervision consisting of three credit hours or four quarter hours in graduate-level coursework in supervision or at least 20 hours of continuing education in supervision offered by a provider approved under 18VAC115-30-50.

E. Supervisory responsibilities.

1. Supervisors shall assume responsibility for the professional activities of the supervisee under their supervision.

2. Supervisors shall not provide supervision for activities for which supervisees have not had appropriate education.

3. Supervisors shall provide supervision only for those substance abuse counseling services that they are qualified to render.

4. At the time of the application for certification by examination, the board-approved supervisor shall document minimal competencies in the areas in 18VAC115-30-60 B 6, the total hours of supervision, and any needs for additional supervision or training. The supervisor shall document successful completion of the applicant's supervised experience on the Verification of Supervision Form and shall maintain documentation for five years post supervision.

5. Supervision by any individual whose relationship to the supervisee compromises the objectivity of the supervisor is prohibited.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 2.3, eff. May 8, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 14, eff. May 4, 1994; Volume 13, Issue 25, eff. August 7, 1997; Volume 16, Issue 7, eff. January 19, 2000; Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003; Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. October 15, 2009; Volume 32, Issue 7, eff. January 15, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020; Volume 38, Issue 10, eff. February 17, 2022.

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