CAC Clinical Training Program

The BHA has the authority for setting competency training standards for the addiction counselor workforce. Certification and licensure in Colorado requires a combination of specialized training and clinically supervised work experience in the addiction field. Additionally, the BHA periodically reviews the addiction counselor certification and licensure rules and revises them when needed to reflect current research, treatment methods and competencies needed for the workforce. The BHA and the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) work together to provide the path to certification and licensure for aspiring addiction counselors in Colorado.
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The BHA and the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) work together to provide the path to certification and licensure for aspiring addiction counselors in Colorado.

Learn more about certification and licensure

The BHA also approves trainers for the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) required training classes and the curriculum for these classes. 
 
DORA regulates addiction counselors in Colorado and is responsible for the following activities related to counselor certification and licensure:

  • Establishing fees for certification and licensing of addiction counselors
  • Processing applications for certification or licensure using the Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules as a guide
  • Issuing and renewing certificates or licenses that meet statutory requirements
  • Initiating investigations with regard to complaints against any individual who is providing a service that requires regulation by DORA
  • Issuing various forms of discipline regarding violations of the Colorado Mental Health Practice Act.
  • Implementing the Continuing Professional Development legislation passed in 2009 that mandates continuing professional development learning plans for mental health professionals.

For information and/or application regarding addiction counselor certification or licensure, please contact:

DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies)
State Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners
1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
Denver, CO 80202
P 303.894.7800

Become a Licensed Addiction Counselor

A Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) is a true behavioral health clinician who can provide co-occurring services
Substance use treatment is in the scope of practice for licensed behavioral health clinicians but there’s little focus on addiction training
Becoming a LAC means potential for job promotion and higher compensation

Correcting Common Myths:
  • It IS acceptable for students and new professionals post-graduation to work towards an addictions credential (CAS, LAC) while also working concurrently towards an additional behavioral health credential (LPC, LMFT, LCSW, PSY).
  • A student in a clinical behavioral health Masters program CAN earn clinically supervised work experience hours towards an addiction credential, if they are supervised by a CAS or LAC while accumulating their internship or practicum hours.
  • It takes 18 months to get your Licensed Addiction Counselor clinically supervised work experience hours.
Eligible Master’s/Doctoral Degrees for Dual Credential:
  • Community Counseling
  • Human Services Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Human Psychology    Clinical Social Work
  • Psychiatric Nursing/Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Addictionologist – Addiction Medicine
  • Behavioral Health Sciences or qualified equivalent
Contact

For more information about becoming a licensed addiction counselor, please contact:

Mary McMahon, CAC Clinical Training Program Manager
Behavioral Health Administration
mary.mcmahon@state.co.us | 303.656.7968

Training of Trainers for Core Curriculum

The CAC Clinical Training Program, TOT for the Core Curriculum: Addiction Counseling Skills, Case Conceptualization and Documentation, and Principles of Addiction will provide participants with the necessary curricula and competencies to become BHA Approved Trainers for the three (3) core curriculum trainings. Trainers for the Core Curriculum are approved through successful completion of the TOT, being offered January 12-13, 2023 and August 24-25, 2023 via zoom. To attend the TOT, download the 2023 Approved TOT for Core Curriculum Application.

Intern and Trainee Documents for Programs & Agencies

The BHA has developed sample documents to be utilized by programs and agencies who want to work with interns and trainees desiring to gain clinically supervised work experience hours to be applied toward a certified addiction counselor application. The three documents are an intern/trainee application, a site agreement, and a supervision contract. Contact mary.mcmahon@state.co.us for these documents.

Counselor Training Requirements for CAT, CAS, and LAC
CAC Training Program Handbook for Addiction Counselors

Download the CAC Handbook

Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules
Addiction Counselor Certification and Licensure Rules
BHA Approved Trainer Handbook

Download the BHA Approved Trainer for CAC Training Classes

Download the BHA Approved Trainer Application

Training Facilities

Download a list of CAC Clinical Program Training Facilities

Core Competencies for CAC Required Training Classes
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Strategies for Self-Improvement & Change (SSC) Training

The State of Colorado is sponsoring a series of training courses in the Strategies for Self-Improvement and Change curriculum. This curriculum is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral treatment model for substance-abusing adult offenders.

The Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Treatment Strategies for Self-Improvement and Change (SSC) series is a 3-day training. To attend the course, download the 2022-2023 SSC training locations and an application.