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What does a Certified Addiction Counselor do?

The VITAL role of a counselor in addiction treatment

Many people in addiction recovery are aware the importance of the role of the counselor. A kindness. A phrase. An opening. Many of us can even remember the exact moment when a counselor helped us make a break through.

Counselors serve as guides to people suffering from addiction. They help addicts and alcoholics through the process of reclaiming life. Good addiction counselors can:

  • motivate the addicted person to take serious steps into making a serious change
  • help clients identify their triggers
  • offer encouragement and guidance
  • create a positive environment
  • aid in repairing broken relationships

But if you’re considering addiction counseling as a career, what can you expect? How much money will you need to pay…how much will you make?

Learn about counseling requirements first-hand

Here, we speak to Jeff Sayre, CAC and Court Liaison at Ocean Breeze Recovery. Their experience on the front line in addiction education is most valuable, and we are happy to have them participate in our Q&A session. Some of the questions we’ve have them answer include:

  1. What does a CAC actually do?
  2. What kind of skills and education are required to become a CAC?
  3. What kind of responsibilities does a CAC have?

Do you see yourself in this role? Are you a student motivated to make positive impact and shed a light in the lives of people struggling with addiction? If so, we’ve structured this interview for you.

Need more information at the end of the article? Please don’t hesitate to ask any additional questions in the comments section below. We try our best to provide you with a personal, prompt response.

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ADDICTION BLOG: First, can you tell us what is a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC)? What does a CAC do?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: A Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) designation is an intermediate substance abuse credential for those persons who work side-by-side with clinical supervisors and clinical staff to develop and implement client treatment plans, as well as provide specified substance abuse treatment services.

ADDICTION BLOG:  What are some examples of daily responsibilities within an addiction treatment setting?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: There are three (3) main responsibilities of a CAC in day-to-day addiction treatment settings.

1. Clinical Evaluation:  This responsibility is directly related to observing and providing feedback to the Clinical Supervisor and the Client as s/he performs tasks such as intake, orientation, screening and assessment(s) to determine appropriateness for placement and/or develop diagnostic impressions and treatment recommendations. ?

2. Treatment Planning:  This responsibility is directly related to observing and providing feedback to the Clinical Supervisor and the Client as he or she performs tasks such as developing and/or updating treatment plans, including mutually agreed upon needs, goals, measurable objectives, treatment methods and discharge criteria. ?

3. Case Management and Referral:  This responsibility is directly related to observing and providing feedback to the Clinical Supervisor and the Client as he or she performs tasks directly related to ensuring that client needs that cannot be met in the current treatment setting are addressed with other community resources in a manner that ensures ongoing continuity of care. ?

ADDICTION BLOG: Are CAC’s responsible for holding group therapy in a treatment setting? What about performing an intervention?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: Yes.

CAC responsibilities related to Group Therapy and interventions consist of observing and providing feedback to the client and/or group counseling to clients and family members. A CAC can also perform counseling-related services such as relapse prevention and recovery support and interventions where needed. ?

ADDICTION BLOG: How much client contact does a CAC have in an addiction rehab setting?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: The CAC’s are (typically 40 hours per week) in constant daily contact with the clients in the addiction rehab setting.

ADDICTION BLOG: How many hours per day does a CAC work?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: Typically, the workday is 8 hours. However, as we at Ocean Breeze are a “Client Centered” treatment center, the Counselors are “on call” for any immediate client issues.

ADDICTION BLOG: Do CAC’s work in both inpatient and outpatient rehab settings?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: Yes.

CACs work with both Inpatient (Residential Treatment) and Outpatient (Outpatient Treatment) settings. Counseling modalities include:

  • Evidence-based Practices
  • Building Therapeutic Relationships Individual, Group and/or Family Counseling
  • Crisis Intervention and/or Verbal De-escalation
  • Spirituality and/or Pastoral Counseling
  • Anger Management
  • Relapse Prevention

ADDICTION BLOG: Do you have to have a university degree to become a CAC and what kinds of skills are required? How much does training cost?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: The minimum education requirements to become a CAC are a High School Diploma or GED. Certified Addiction Counselors must complete and document a minimum of 250 hours (CEU’s) of “Specific” Addiction Training, with a minimum number of training hours in each performance domain as follows:

  • Clinical Evaluation: 25 hours
  • Treatment Planning: 15 hours
  • Counseling: 30 hours
  • Case Management and Referral: 10 hours
  • Client, Family and Community Education: 10 hours
  • Documentation: 10 hours
  • Ethical and Professional Responsibilities: 30 hours
  • Understanding Addiction/Treatment Knowledge: 60 hours**
  • Application to Practice/Professional Readiness: 60 hours*&**

The cost of training is typically $10.00 per credit.

ADDICTION BLOG: What is the average salary of a CAC?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: The National Average for an entry level CAC is 35-40k

ADDICTION BLOG: How is a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) different from a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP)?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: The Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) designation is an intermediate substance abuse credential for those persons who work side-by-side with clinical supervisors and clinical staff to develop and implement client treatment plans, as well as provide specified substance abuse treatment services.  The CAC requires a minimum of a high school diploma or general equivalency degree.

A Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) designation is a clinical supervisor level substance abuse credential for those persons who have demonstrated competency in the performance domains of Clinical Evaluation; Treatment Planning; Counseling; Case Management and Referral; Client, Family and Community Education; Documentation; and Ethical and Professional Responsibilities. Individuals holding the CAP are recognized/hold the practice rights of a “qualified professional” per Chapter 397, Florida Statute.

ADDICTION BLOG: Is there anything you would like to add?

OCEAN BREEZE RECOVERY: Ocean Breeze Recovery University is an Approved Education Provider through the Florida Certification Board (FCB) and the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC). Ocean Breeze Recovery University is uniquely positioned to help our Certified Addiction Counselor and Certified Addiction Professional students succeed.

We are a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) School and a DCF-licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Center. CAP Students receive relevant and cutting edge education.
Ocean Breeze Recovery University’s Certified Addiction Professional development program is a process that involves developing leadership at the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) and the Certified Addiction Professional (CAP) level. Students learn to mentor, coach, inspire and motivate others. They also are instructed to build teams, provide structure, create cohesion and resolve conflict. Curriculum includes building organizational culture, facilitating individual and organizational growth and change.

Students also gain knowledge of the cognitive process of conceptualizing, analyzing, applying information and evaluating addictive behavior. By utilizing their critical thinking skills, students make sound decisions and solve problems on a regular basis. Students become familiar with a variety of theoretical models of clinical supervision, including but not limited to psychotherapy, developmental, multicultural, integrative and blended models.

You can check out more at: http://oceanbreezerecovery.org/profession-education/

 

Photo credit: LBL

Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “What does a Certified Addiction Counselor do?
anna
7:22 am August 16th, 2015

WA state where I live, has much higher standards and requirements for addiction counselors then most other states. I am so glad I have all the training and education to perform well in this field and that Iam consider a professional clinician. We need 2500 hours in order to take the National CDP test.
Its a challenging field to work in but very rewarding and also fun as one build realtionship w. clients and start to see the changes we all want and wait to observe.

11:19 am August 17th, 2015

Hello Anna. Thank you for sharing your feedback and for being a dedicated professional.

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