Overview of Online Substance Use Counseling in Iowa
As compared to other states, Iowa is one of the few bright spots in the ongoing national drug addiction epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2021, the state had the third lowest drug overdose mortality rate. In 2023, Iowa had one of the lowest rates of illicit drug use.
Yet, despite these promising signs, opioids and other drugs still pose a significant public health threat, so state and local government officials in Iowa have taken significant steps to address drug misuse. For the sake of efficiency, they have consolidated all prevention and treatment initiatives under the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Substance Abuse. Specifically, the bureau oversees programs, develops training efforts, and secures grant funding.
Across the state, treatment facilities provide medication-assisted treatment, family services, and substance use counseling in Iowa. These facilities rely on licensed counseling professionals to offer support and assistance to those who struggle with substance misuse.
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FAQs About Substance Use Counseling Degrees in Iowa
What Can You Do With a Substance Use Counselor Degree in Iowa?
Working as a licensed professional providing substance abuse counseling in Iowa is just one of several career options available to graduates of in-person and online substance abuse counseling degree programs. Although you don't need a degree to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) or International Alcohol and Drug Counselor (IADC) in this state, it will minimize the other requirements you'll need to meet.
Of course, there are also nonclinical roles available that will allow you to support people suffering from substance use disorder. Two common options are to become a community health worker or a health education specialist. These individuals usually work for local or state government agencies or nonprofit organizations where they are involved in running public education and treatment programs.
How Do I Become a Substance Use Counselor in Iowa?
The Iowa Board of Certification (IBC) is the governing body for professional licensure for substance use counseling in Iowa. The board publishes a comprehensive online handbook that explains how to become a substance use counselor, certification requirements, and application procedures.
Iowa has four levels of substance abuse counseling certification:
- Temporary Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (tCADC)
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)
- International Alcohol and Drug Counselor (IADC)
- International Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (IAADC)
The tCADC certification level is for students and recent graduates who are just starting their careers as substance use counselors. To be approved, you'll need to meet the same education and experience requirements as CADC applicants, but you only need to pass the ADC exam sponsored by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC). The certification lasts for two years, during which time you must meet the other experience and training requirements for either the CADC, IADC, or IAADC levels.
If you're applying for CADC certification, you do not necessarily need to hold a bachelor's degree, but you will need some education and/or direct work experience to qualify. One option is to have 24 semester hours of college credit in substance abuse counseling, an additional 150 hours of training, and 1,000 hours of supervised experience. The other option is to have 150 hours of training and 3,000 hours of supervised experience. In addition to these requirements, you'll need to pass the Supervisor's Counselor Evaluation and the IC&RC ADC exam.
The IADC also does not require a specific college degree, but you must have 300 hours of education in the Alcohol and Drug Knowledge and Skill Competencies. The number of required hours of work experience varies depending on your level of education. You'll also need to pass the Supervisor's Counselor Evaluation and the IC&RC ADC exam.
Only the IAADC level requires a master's degree, along with 2,000 hours of experience, 300 hours of supervised experience, a passing score on the Supervisor's Counselor Evaluation, and a passing score on the IC&RC AADC exam. If you haven't yet earned a master's degree, you may be interested in the accredited options on our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling master's programs and the most affordable online substance abuse counseling master's programs.
Regardless of which of these last three certifications you hold, you'll need to renew your license every two years, which requires the completion of 40 hours of continuing education.
Does Iowa Have Reciprocity for Substance Use Counselors?
Yes, Iowa does have reciprocity for some substance use counselors. Professionals from other states who hold IADC or IAADC certification through the IC&RC may be able to transfer their counseling credentials to Iowa, just as IADC and IAADC counselors in Iowa may be able to transfer to other states. If you're a licensed counselor in good standing and you want to offer in-person or online substance abuse counseling in the state, you can initiate the reciprocity process through the IC&RC. Note, however, that you must live and work in Iowa at least 51% of the time to practice here.
How Much Does a Substance Use Counselor Make in Iowa?
Specific salary data for the four levels of substance abuse counselors in Iowa is unavailable. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the 2,790 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the state earn a mean annual salary of $56,460. The job outlook for this occupation is strong, with ProjectionsCentral predicting a 30.8% increase in the number of substance abuse counseling jobs in Iowa through 2030.