Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Illinois - IL
By Susan Maphis, allied health world contributing writer
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Anyone interested in becoming a substance abuse counselor in Illinois should familiarize himself or herself with the information disseminated by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Certification Association (IAODACA). The IAODACA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the public and enhance the professional opportunities of chemical dependency professionals by setting standards for substance abuse counselors. Certification is not necessary to work in the area of substance abuse counseling in Illinois. However, certification signals to employers and clients that a counselor has met certain requirements with respect to education and training and has demonstrated competence in the field.
Education and training are of paramount importance for aspiring substance abuse counselors. In order to become a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor in Illinois, a candidate must complete at least 225 hours of educational training in subject areas that specifically relate to the practice and understanding of substance abuse counseling and 150 hours of clinical work in a supervised setting. In addition, a candidate must complete at least 2000 hours worth of paid work experience relevant to substance abuse counseling in the four years immediately preceding filing the application for certification. Finally, the candidate must pass the written certification exam for the state of Illinois. Illinois substance abuse counselors with the proper credentials will be qualified to work at a number of fine healthcare institutions throughout the state, including John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.