Rising demand for addiction treatment, thanks to expanded insurance access, has led to a greater need for qualified addiction treatment professionals. Credentialing agencies play an important role in ensuring quality care, by setting and monitoring education and experience standards for addiction professionals.
What is the CAP certification?
In Florida, the nonprofit Florida Certification Board is the only organization that provides certification for addiction professionals. Under state law, Board-administered credentials such as the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) qualify individuals to work in a clinical setting. While training and certification requirements for substance abuse counselors and other addiction professionals vary from state to state, the CAP credential can open new professional opportunities for eligible candidates in the field of addiction.
What does it take to earn the CAP certification?
To earn the CAP credential, applicants need to meet the following requirements:
- Formal Education
Candidates must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. If a candidate’s undergraduate degree is in the addiction-related fields of social work, psychology, human services, mental health counseling, or marriage and family counseling, that could reduce the amount of additional experience and clinical supervision required for certification.
- Content-Specific Training
CAP candidates must complete 350 hours of coursework in nine areas of competency within the 10 years leading up to certification.
- Related Work Experience
The amount of work experience required for CAP certification varies depending on the highest degree earned. Bachelor’s or non-related master’s degree holders must complete 6,000 hours of direct, addiction-specific experience. Candidates with related master’s degrees need to complete 4,000 hours.
- On-the-job Supervision
CAP certification requires experience, under supervision, in an addiction treatment setting. The experience must meet the certification board’s standards of practice, and be carefully documented. Bachelor’s degree holders require 300 hours of supervision, whereas related-master’s degree holders require 200 hours.
- Letters of Recommendation
Certification requires three letters of recommendation from people well-qualified to assess the candidate’s professional abilities, level of experience, and commitment to ethical practice.
- Background Check
Applicants are required to comply with a background check and agree to adhere to the Florida Certification Board’s Code of Ethics.
- Written Exam
Candidates must pass a rigorous examination, which covers key areas of competency required for effectiveness as an addiction professional. Students also may take the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) exam offered by the International Credentialing and Reciprocity Consortium, fulfilling a broader level of certification that can be applied across state lines.
- Continuing Education
After having earned the CAP credential, addiction professionals are required to complete 20 hours of continuing education each year to maintain it.
Consider a course of study with addiction experts, to help you prepare for CAP certification — explore the University of Florida’s online Graduate Certificate in Addiction & Recovery.