Texas Substance Abuse Counselor Training

Substance abuse counselors can help play a pivotal role in improving the quality of life for those struggling with addictions with alcohol or drugs. The role of addiction specialist is not only to provide professional counseling, but to support and help those in need to maintain their lives in recovery.

In Texas, individuals working with those suffering from chemical dependency may provide services in the following areas, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Outpatient treatment programs
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Detoxification services
  • Prevention programs
  • Correctional facilities treatment

Substance abuse counselors in Texas are actually referred to by other titles -- depending on their position -- including licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC) and counselor intern (CI).

Licensing requirements for chemical dependency counselors in Texas

The Texas Department of Health Services regulates the licensing of professional substance abuse counselors in the state. Licensing and educational requirements vary by position.

Counselor Intern (CI). Individuals interested in the CI license must be at least 18 years of age and complete the following to be eligible:

  1. Possess a high school diploma or its equivalent
  2. Complete 270 hours of classroom study in chemical dependency curricula with passing grades
  3. Finish 300 hours of supervised practicum of field work
  4. Complete and pass a criminal history background check
  5. Sign an ethical standards agreement

Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). An LCDC must met the minimum requirements of the counselor intern, as well as the following:

  1. Complete an associate, bachelor's or master's degree
  2. Complete at least 4,000 hours of supervised experience
  3. Complete and pass a written examination for chemical dependency counselors
  4. Submit two letters of recommendations from other LCDCs

Other requirements may be necessary to complete prior to receiving a CI or LCDC license in the state of Texas. Be sure to review guidelines from the Texas Department of Health before applying.

Degree programs in drug and alcohol abuse counseling

Prospective students considering becoming a licensed chemical dependency counselor in Texas may select from multiple educational avenues, including associate, bachelor's or master's degrees. For example, students can complete an Associate of Applied Science in chemical dependence counseling or a Bachelor of Science in drug and substance abuse counseling.

Although curriculum varies by both degree level and program, example topics of study may include the following:

  • Individual counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Small group counseling
  • Pharmacology
  • Drugs and social behavior

Advanced substance abuse counseling certification

After earning their LCDC license in Texas, professional counselors may choose to pursue a number of voluntary, advanced substance abuse counselor certifications from organizations such as the Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals (TCBAP). The TCBAP offers certification in the following areas:

  • Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC)
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor (ADC)
  • Advanced Certified Prevention Specialist (ACPS)
  • Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS)
  • Associate Prevention Specialist (APS)
  • Certified Chemical Dependency Specialist (CCDS)
  • Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC)
  • Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP)
  • Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS)
  • Peer Mentor/Peer Recovery Coach (PM/PRC)
  • Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS)

In addition to state-level certifications, national and international certifications are available from groups such as the NAADAC, Association for Addiction Professionals or the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium/Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (ICRC). For example, the NAADC offers voluntary certifications to become a National Certified Addiction Counselor (Levels 1 and 2), a Master Addiction Counselor (MAC), Nicotine Dependence Specialist (NDS) and more.

Salary and job projections for licensed chemical dependency counselors in Texas

In 2013, according to salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), the national average earnings for substance abuse and behavioral disorders counselors was more than $41,000. The average annual salary in Texas was slightly lower in 2013, coming in at more than $38,000. Throughout the state, location impacted earnings, with the San Antonio metro area bringing in the highest average salary for substance abuse counselors in the state:

Texas Metro

2013 Average Salary

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX


Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX


Tyler, TX


Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX


Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX


Corpus Christi, TX


Fort Worth-Arlington, TX


El Paso, TX


Longview, TX


Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX


College Station-Bryan, TX


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013 Metropolitan Occupational and Wage Estimates - Texas

Employment growth for these positions is expected to remain strong between 2012 and 2022, with state projections of 29 percent for new position growth during that time.


US Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.hhs.gov/partnerships/resources/fbci_counselor_standards.pdf

ATTC, Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, http://www.attcnetwork.org/home/

Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 National Occupational and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211011.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013 State Occupational and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

East Carolina University, http://catalog.ecu.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=6&poid=1240&returnto=380

NAADAC, Application Packet, http://www.naadac.org/assets/1959/alabama_cert_application_packet.pdf

NAADAC, Association for Addiction Professionals, http://www.naadac.org/

National University, http://www.nu.edu/OurPrograms/CollegeOfLettersAndSciences/Psychology/Programs/AssociateofScienceinAlcoholandDrugAbuseCounseling.html

Projections Central, Long-Term Occupational Projections, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

University of Cincinnati, http://cech.uc.edu/programs/substance_abuse_counseling/programs.html?cid=18BS-SACN

Texas Department of State Health Services, https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lcdc/

Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals, http://www.tcbap.org/

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