Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Wisconsin - WI

Individuals who earn substance abuse counselor certification in Wisconsin are licensed through the State of Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing (DRL), a state agency that ensures the safe and competent practice of professionals through the administration and enforcement of educational requirements and professional standards.

Substance abuse counselors in Wisconsin are recognized as licensed practitioners in the field upon completing specialized training and passing required testing.  Specifically, licensure requires the completion of:

  • 360 hours in substance abuse disorder counseling within a comprehensive program;
  • the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) counseling examination;
  • the open-book Substance Abuse Professional Statutes and Rules examination with a score of at least 76%; and
  • 4,000 hours of patient counseling experience within five years immediately preceding the date of application for licensure.

DRL permits an educational equivalency in an approved degree program to be substituted in part for the experience requirement if an individual has earned:

  • an associate degree, which will equate to 500 hours of experience;
  • a bachelor degree, which will equate to 1,000 hours of experience; or
  • either a master or doctoral degree, which will equate to 2,000 hours.

In addition, Wisconsin permits individuals to be licensed as substance abuse counselors in-training if they complete at least 100 hours of specialized training, either gain employment or volunteer at a treatment facility and earn a score of at least 76% on the Substance Abuse Professional Statutes and Rules examination.

With its need for substance abuse counselors rapidly increasing, Wisconsin is projected to grow the number of professionals in the field by 30% by 2016.

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