Overview of Substance Use Counseling in Maryland
The state of Maryland, like every state in the U.S., is facing a serious drug addiction problem. Recent statistics show that fentanyl, cocaine, alcohol, and prescription opioids cause the highest number of drug overdose deaths in the state, which have increased from 11.7 per 100,000 people in 2011 to 42.8 per 100,000 in 2021.
To address the issue, the governor's office is partnering with the Maryland Department of Health, the Opioid Operational Command Center, and other state and local agencies. They have identified eight key areas around the state that need stronger law enforcement and expanded access to recovery services. Together, these agencies plan to open more treatment facilities in Maryland and hire trained professionals to provide addiction counseling.
Discover more options for earning an online bachelor's degree by reviewing our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling programs, the most affordable online substance abuse counseling programs, and the best online counseling programs.
FAQs About Substance Use Counseling Degrees in Maryland
What Can You Do With a Substance Use Counselor Degree in Maryland?
Maryland residents who've earned traditional or online substance abuse counseling degrees are prepared to follow several career paths in the field of addiction counseling. With a bachelor's degree, you can become a Certified Associate Counselor-Alcohol and Drug (CAC-AD), providing addiction counseling in treatment facilities under the supervision of more experienced addiction counselors. With a master's degree or doctorate, you can become a Licensed Graduate Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LGADC) and eventually a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Maryland earn a mean annual wage of $61,090. There are approximately 6,570 of these professionals currently working in the state, but ProjectionsCentral is projecting the number of substance abuse counseling jobs in Maryland to increase by 23.3% through 2030.
Other employment opportunities in the field include nonclinical roles, such as community health worker or health education specialist. In these jobs, you can help prevent and treat substance misuse through various types of community programs. After several years of experience, you may be able to advance to higher-paying leadership roles in health or community service agencies.
How Do I Become a Substance Use Counselor in Maryland?
If you plan to become a substance use counselor in the state of Maryland, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the Maryland Department of Health Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. In this state, there are four levels of substance abuse counseling certification:
- Certified Supervised Counselor-Alcohol and Drug (CSC-AD)
- Certified Associate Counselor-Alcohol and Drug (CAC-AD)
- Licensed Graduate Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LGADC)
- Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC)
CSC-ADs are limited to providing alcohol and drug counseling in an agency or facility under the supervision of a board-approved supervisor. To become a CSC-AD, you must earn an associate degree, including an internship and specific coursework on addiction counseling, assessment, case management, and other similar subjects. You must also pass the NCAC I exam sponsored by the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) and the Maryland law exam.
In addition to offering addiction counseling services, CAC-ADs are permitted to supervise fellow CAC-ADs and other trainees. Becoming a CAC-AD requires earning a bachelor's degree in addiction counseling or a similar clinical field, including specific counseling coursework, and completing an internship. You must also have 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, and you'll need passing scores on the NCAC II exam and the Maryland law exam.
LGADC certification is a transitional level of licensure for addiction counselors who have earned a master's degree or doctorate in substance abuse counseling but are still in the process of accumulating the required number of hours to become an LCADC. To become an LGADC, you must pass both the MAC exam and the Maryland law exam. LGADCs cannot supervise others.
At the highest level of certification, LCADCs are licensed to practice independently, offering the full range of addiction counseling services. To become an LCADC, you must have a master's or doctoral degree in a clinical health and human services counseling field. You must also pass the MAC exam and the Maryland law exam.
In all cases, you must graduate from a college or university that has earned institutional accreditation. You can find fully accredited online bachelor's programs on our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling bachelor's degrees and the most affordable online substance abuse counseling bachelor's degrees. For accredited online master's programs, review our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling master's degrees and the most affordable online substance abuse counseling master's degrees.
To continue providing substance abuse counseling in Maryland, you'll need to renew your certification every two years. You'll also need to complete a required number of continuing education hours, which varies depending on your level of certification.
Does Maryland Have Reciprocity for Substance Use Counselors?
Yes, Maryland offers reciprocity for substance use counselors. Licensed professionals in good standing from other states may be able to transfer their credentials to a comparable level of certification in the state. If you want to offer in-person or online substance abuse counseling in Maryland, you can submit an out-of-state board application to the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists.
What's the Difference Between LADC and CADC in Maryland?
In Maryland, the two primary levels of substance abuse counseling certification are the CAC-AD and the LCADC. CAC-ADs need a bachelor's degree in addiction counseling, and they can only provide addiction counseling services in agencies and treatment facilities under the supervision of LCADCs. On the other hand, LCADCs need a master's degree or doctorate in counseling. They can work independently, providing the full spectrum of addiction counseling services in any type of facility.