CSAC Certification in Hawaii

Certified Substance Abuse Counselors are educated and qualified to provide assessment, counseling, case management and client education to persons suffering with substance abuse or dependency issues.

To learn about the national average salary received by a Substance Abuse Counselor click here.

There is currently a critical shortage of Certified Substance Abuse Counselors in the Pacific Islands, with career opportunities in private and public treatment and prevention agencies, private practice, schools, and the judicial system.

The Hawai’i State Department of Health requires 270-hours of approved classroom training to become certified. Registered Nurses (RNs) will need 270 hours for the CSAC certification. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) will need 180 hours. PhDs and MDs will need 50 hours. Final determination of educational hours needed is solely at the discretion of each state’s addiction board.

Here’s what you would need to do to become a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor:

1. Visit the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) of the Hawaii Dept. of Health website.


Bookmark this page and become familiar with all the information on it. ADAD is responsible for providing your certification, not PAHA. We will offer you the courses, and provide a certificate for each course successfully completed, but we do not issue the certification.

Click here for the ADAD website.



2. Download the application to become a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor from the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division website.


Before you begin, you will want to fill out an application to become a CSAC, and send this in to ADAD to open a file.

Click here for the application instructions.

Click here to download the application.



3. Have your transcripts sent directly to ADAD from any previous colleges.


Be sure to send them the transcripts for all the college courses you have taken at any institution. ADAD will write you back and tell you what courses you have already taken that qualify for certification and which ones you still need to take.

Send your transcripts to:
Hawaii Department of Health
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division
601 Kamokila Blvd. Room 360
Kapolei, Hawai’i, 96707



4. Enroll for the Courses your need through PAHA.

Remember you can take up to 50% of the 270 clock hours through on-line learning, which is 23 of our 6-hour courses.

Be sure to enroll in the courses within the category Courses required by HI Dept of Health Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. Final determination of hours required will be made by ADAD. Other states’ addiction boards have their own requirements.

If you are ready to begin enrollment click here.



5. Complete your face-to-face classes.

The remainder of your 270 hours must be completed through face-to-face classes. These classes can be obtained at a number of approved community colleges, universities, as well as through our face-to-face PAHA classes. Click here to download the schedule.

Once again, you will want to double-check with ADAD to be sure the institution you want to take your courses through is approved. PAHA is an ADAD approved provider.



6. Complete 3 years of supervised work experience.

Complete 6000 hours of clinically supervised work experience (including the supervised practical training) providing alcohol/drug abuse treatment counseling services to alcohol and other drug abuse clients. PAHA does not currently provide a service to match students with this clinical component.

Click here for the ADAD requirements for the 6000 hours.




7. Turn in your final transcripts, certificates, and confirmation of your work experience to ADAD.


After you have completed all on-line courses, face-to-face courses, and 6000 hours of work experience, you will be eligible to take the written examination. Be sure to turn in all transcripts, code of ethics statement, fees, certificates and confirmation of your work experience by the ADAD Deadline.




8. Take the written examination, offered 4 times per year.

Be sure to apply for the test by the ADAD deadline. Currently the written exam for substance abuse counselors is offered in September, December, March, and June in Honolulu.

Click here for the current deadlines and testing dates.



9. Become a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor!

After you complete the required work experience hours and any additional requirements set forth by your local addictions board, AND pass the written exam, you will be eligible for CSAC certification.

After obtaining your state certification, you can apply for national or international reciprocity.

Click here for more information about how to become a National Certified Addiction Counselor (NCAC I) through NAADAC.




If you are ready to tour our on-line academy, sample a free course, or begin enrollment click here.