Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
11/30/2021

Part II. Requirements for Certification

18VAC115-30-40. Prerequisites for certification by examination for substance abuse counselors.

A. Every applicant for certification as a substance abuse counselor by examination shall pass a written examination approved by the board. The board shall determine the passing score on the examination.

1. If an applicant fails to achieve a passing score within two years of board approval to sit for the examination, the applicant shall reapply according to regulations in effect at that time.

2. An applicant who has applied twice and has not passed the examination shall not be approved to retake the examination, unless the applicant can provide evidence of extenuating circumstances for failure to pass the examination within the four-year period.

B. Every applicant for examination for certification by the board shall:

1. Meet the educational and experience requirements prescribed in 18VAC115-30-50 and 18VAC115-30-60;

2. Submit the following to the board:

a. A completed application form;

b. Official transcript documenting coursework and attainment of a bachelor's or post-baccalaureate degree;

c. Official transcripts or certificates verifying completion of the didactic training requirement set forth in subsection B of 18VAC115-30-50;

d. Attestation of supervisor's education and experience as required under 18VAC115-30-60 if supervised experience was not previously approved by the board;

e. Verification of supervision forms documenting fulfillment of the experience requirements of 18VAC115-30-60;

f. Verification of any other health or mental health license or certificate ever held in Virginia or in another jurisdiction. In order to qualify for certification by examination, the applicant shall have no unresolved action against a license or certificate. The board will consider history of disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis;

g. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB);

h. The application processing and initial certification fee; and

i. Attestation of having read and understood the laws and regulations governing the practice of substance abuse counseling in Virginia.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 2.1, 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 16, Issue 13, eff. April 12, 2000; Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003; Volume 26, Issue 1, eff. October 14, 2009; Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. October 15, 2009; Volume 32, Issue 7, eff. January 15, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020

18VAC115-30-45. Prerequisites for certification by endorsement for substance abuse counselors.

Every applicant for certification by endorsement shall submit:

1. A completed application;

2. The application processing and initial certification fee;

3. Verification of all health or mental health licenses or certificates ever held in Virginia or in any other jurisdiction. In order to qualify for endorsement, the applicant shall have no unresolved action against a license or certificate. The board will consider history of disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis. The board will also determine whether any or all other professional licenses or certificates held in another jurisdiction are substantially equivalent to those sought in Virginia;

4. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB);

5. Attestation of having read and understood the regulations and laws governing the practice of substance abuse counseling in Virginia;

6. Further documentation of one of the following:

a. Active, unrestricted licensure or certification as a substance abuse counselor in another jurisdiction obtained by standards substantially equivalent to the education and experience requirements set forth in this chapter as verified directly from the out-of-state licensing agency or a copy of the regulations in effect at the time of initial licensure or certification; or

b. Verification of a current certification in good standing issued by NCC AP or other board-recognized national certification in substance abuse counseling obtained by educational and experience standards substantially equivalent to those set forth in this chapter; and

7. Verification of a passing score on an examination in the jurisdiction in which licensure or certification was obtained or on a board-approved national examination at the level for which the applicant is seeking certification in Virginia.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 7, eff. January 19, 2000; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003; Volume 26, Issue 1, eff. October 14, 2009; Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. October 15, 2009; Volume 32, Issue 7, eff. January 15, 2016; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020.

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 or post-baccalaureate degree; and

2. Have completed 240 clock hours of didactic training in substance abuse education from one of the following programs:

a. A regionally 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) Federal, state, or local governmental agencies; public school systems; or licensed health facilities.

(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 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 recognized by the board.

(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. Of the 240 hours of didactic training in substance abuse counseling, a minimum of 120 hours shall be completed prior to registration of supervision.

2. Each applicant shall have received a minimum of 16 clock hours in each of the following 13 areas:

a. Dynamics of human behavior;

b. Signs and symptoms of substance abuse;

c. Counseling theories and techniques;

d. Continuum of care and case management skills;

e. Recovery process and relapse prevention methods;

f. Professional orientation and ethics;

g. Pharmacology of abused substances;

h. Trauma and crisis intervention;

i. Co-occurring disorders;

j. Cultural competency;

k. Substance abuse counseling approaches and treatment planning;

l. Group counseling; and

m. Prevention, screening, and assessment of substance use and abuse.

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, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 14, eff. May 4, 1994; Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003; Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. October 15, 2009; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020.

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.

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.

18VAC115-30-61. Prerequisites for certification by examination for substance abuse counseling assistants.

A. Every applicant for certification as a substance abuse counseling assistant shall pass a written examination approved by the board. The board shall determine the passing score on the examination.

1. If an applicant fails to achieve a passing score within two years of board approval to sit for the examination, the applicant shall reapply according to regulations in effect at that time.

2. An applicant who has applied twice and has not passed the examination shall not be approved to retake the examination, unless the applicant can provide evidence of extenuating circumstances for failure to pass the examination within the four-year period.

B. Every applicant for examination for certification by the board shall:

1. Meet the educational and experience requirements prescribed in 18VAC115-30-62 and 18VAC115-30-63; and

2. Submit the following to the board within the timeframe established by the board:

a. A completed application form;

b. Official transcript documenting attainment of a high school diploma, a general education development (GED) certificate, or a post-secondary degree;

c. The application processing and initial certification fee;

d. Verification of all health or mental health licenses or certificates ever held in Virginia or in any other jurisdiction. In order to qualify for certification, the applicant shall have no unresolved action against a license or certificate. The board will consider the history of disciplinary action on a case-by-case basis; and

e. A current report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB).

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003; amended, Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. October 15, 2009; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020.

18VAC115-30-62. Educational requirements for substance abuse counseling assistants.

A. An applicant for certification as a substance abuse counseling assistant shall:

1. Have obtained a high school diploma, a general educational development (GED) certificate, or a post-secondary degree; and

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

a. A regionally accredited university or college; or

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

(1) Federal, state, or local governmental agencies; public school systems; or licensed health facilities.

(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 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 recognized by the board.

(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. The education will include 120 hours spent in receiving didactic training in substance abuse counseling. Each applicant shall have received a minimum of eight clock hours in each of the following 13 areas:

a. Understanding the dynamics of human behavior;

b. Signs and symptoms of substance abuse;

c. Counseling theories and techniques;

d. Case management skills and continuum of care;

e. Recovery process and relapse prevention methods;

f. Professional orientation and ethics;

g. Cultural competency;

h. Trauma and crisis intervention;

i. Pharmacology of abused substances;

j. Co-occurring disorders;

k. Substance abuse counseling approaches and treatment planning;

l. Group counseling; and

m. Prevention, screening, and assessment of substance use and abuse.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003; amended, Virginia Register Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. October 15, 2009; Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020.

18VAC115-30-63. Experience requirements for substance abuse counseling assistants.

A. In addition to the didactic training required in 18VAC115-30-62, the education shall include 180 hours of experience in a practicum or internship consistent with § 54.1-3507.2 C of the Code of Virginia performing the following tasks with substance abuse clients while under supervision:

1. Screening clients and gathering information used in making the determination for the need for additional professional assistance;

2. Intake of clients by performing the administrative tasks necessary for admission to a program;

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

4. Assisting the client in identifying and ranking problems to be addressed, establishing goals, and agreeing on treatment processes;

5. Implementation of a substance abuse treatment plan as directed by the supervisor;

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

7. Assistance in identifying appropriate crisis intervention responses to a client's needs during acute mental, emotional, or physical distress;

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

9. Facilitating the client's utilization of available support systems and community resources to meet needs identified in clinical valuation or treatment planning;

10. Reporting and charting information about the client's treatment, progress, and other client-related data; and

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

B. 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 shall 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 Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020.

18VAC115-30-70. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 2.4, eff. May 8, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 14, eff. May 4, 1994; Volume 16, Issue 7, eff. January 19, 2000; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 18, eff. June 18, 2003.

18VAC115-30-80. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 2.5, eff. May 8, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 14, eff. May 4, 1994; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 7, eff. January 19, 2000.

18VAC115-30-90. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 3.1, 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; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 11, eff. February 19, 2020.

18VAC115-30-100. (Repealed.)

Historical Notes

Derived from VR560-01-03 § 3.2, eff. May 8, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 10, Issue 14, eff. May 4, 1994; repealed, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 7, eff. January 19, 2000.

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