Overview of Substance Abuse Counseling in New Jersey
Despite the state's best efforts to address the substance misuse crisis, New Jersey still experienced more drug-related deaths in 2021 and 2022 than it had in the state's history. As state officials, policymakers, and academics look to the future, all agree that multiple solutions are needed to face this complex and dynamic problem.
Among the more effective solutions are inpatient residential programs, detox centers, and outpatient treatment efforts. Licensed substance abuse professionals are needed to provide counseling and other services for people suffering from substance use disorders, which creates an ongoing need for graduates of substance abuse counseling degree programs.
Wondering which schools offer online counseling bachelor's degrees? Visit our ranked 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 New Jersey
What Can You Do With a Substance Use Counselor Degree in New Jersey?
After graduating with a traditional or online substance abuse counseling degree, you'll be equipped to pursue different career opportunities in New Jersey. For example, a bachelor's degree qualifies you for work as a community health worker or a health education specialist. In these roles, you'll probably be employed by a government agency or nonprofit organization where you may be responsible for running programs, devising educational campaigns, or raising funds.
If your goal is to offer substance use counseling in New Jersey, however, you cannot earn your bachelor's or master's degree entirely online. In this state, relatively few online courses can be counted toward the educational requirements for becoming a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) or a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC).
Should you decide to become a substance abuse counselor in New Jersey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the 11,790 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health therapists in this state earn a mean annual wage of $65,090. ProjectionsCentral expects the number of these positions to increase by 21.9% between 2020 and 2030.
How Do I Become a Substance Use Counselor in New Jersey?
If you're interested in becoming an alcohol and drug abuse counselor in New Jersey, you'll need to obtain your credentials from the state's Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiners' Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee. This agency provides clear documentation on substance abuse counseling credentialing in the state.
Aspiring New Jersey substance abuse counselors may apply for one of two levels of credentials— the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) or the Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC). There are two primary differences between the levels: CADCs do not need a master's degree, but they are only allowed to practice under the supervision of an approved supervisor. LCADCs need a master's degree and are allowed to practice independently.
To become a CADC, you'll need to complete 300 hours, or 20 college courses, focused on the 12 core functions of substance abuse counselors, such as screening, counseling, and recordkeeping. Many applicants earn a bachelor's degree to meet this requirement, but you do not have to earn a degree.
To obtain LCADC licensure, you'll need a master's degree in addiction counseling or a related field, and your transcripts must show that you've completed at least 270 hours, or 18 college courses, in substance abuse counseling.
For either credential, you'll also need 3,000 hours of supervised work experience, of which 300 hours need to be supervised clinical substance abuse counseling, and you'll need to have attended at least 30 alcohol and drug abuse self-help group meetings. Examples include Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Finally, you must pass the ADC Exam offered by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).
New Jersey's licensing board limits the number of online courses you can take when fulfilling the state's educational requirements. No more than three or four courses of the 18-20 courses required can be completed through distance learning. If you'd like to take some of your addiction counseling courses online, you may want to review our lists of substance abuse counseling master's programs and the most affordable substance abuse counseling master's programs.
Both types of substance abuse counseling credential need to be renewed every two years. To qualify for renewal, CADCs need to complete 60 hours of continuing education, but LCADCs need to complete only 40 hours of continuing education.
Does New Jersey Have Reciprocity for Substance Use Counselors?
As a member of the IC&RC, New Jersey offers reciprocity for some substance abuse counselors from other IC&RC member states. However, counselors must have earned the higher AADC level of certification to be allowed to transfer their credentials to New Jersey. If you meet these requirements and wish to offer in-person or online substance abuse counseling in New Jersey, you can begin the reciprocity process by contacting your state's licensing board.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in New Jersey?
The number of years it takes to become a substance abuse counselor in New Jersey depends on several factors. The first is education. It can take as many as four years to complete the required courses for CADC certification and an additional two to three years to complete the educational requirements for LCADC licensure. The second major requirement is supervised clinical experience, which may take two to three years to accumulate.