CSAC/CADC Certification in Hawai’i and other states

Certified Substance Abuse Counselors are educated and qualified to provide assessment, counseling, case management and client education to persons suffering with substance use  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 Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division requires 300-hours of approved substance use disorder (SUD) specific education to qualify to become certified.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), Licensed Clinical SWs, LMFTs, and LMHs will need 100 hours of approved substance use disorder (SUD) specific education to become eligible for CSAC/CADC certification.

Licensed Psychologists with PhDs and MDs will need 50 hours of approved substance use disorder (SUD) to become eligible for CSAC/CADC certification.

Final determination of amount and approval of SUD-specific educational hours is solely at the discretion of each state’s addiction board.

Here’s what you need to do to become a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor(CSAC/CADC):

1. Visit the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) of the Hawai’i 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 offer the approved courses and provide a certificate for each course successfully completed, but we cannot issue the CSAC/CADC certification or license, a credential that is governed by individual state boards and/or other regulatory agencues.

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 must fill out an application to become a CSAC and send it in to ADAD to open a certification file.

Click here for the application instructions.

Click here to download the application.

3. Have your official transcripts sent directly to ADAD from any previous colleges or training programs.

Be sure to send them the transcripts for all the college courses you have taken at any institution. ADAD will respsond by informing you any courses you have already taken that qualify for certification and detrmine which courses you will still need to take.

Send your transcripts to:
Hawai’i 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.

You can take up to 50% of the 50-300 clock hours via on-line learning, or 25 of our 6-hour courses.

Enroll in the courses within the category Courses required by Hawai’i Department of Health Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD).

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 or live streaming classes.

300 hours must be completed through face-to-face or live streaming classes. These classes can be obtained at a number of approved community colleges, universities, as well as through our face-to-face PAHA or Live-Streaming classes. Click here to download the schedule.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Hawaii Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) has recently approved live-stream courses in place of face-to-face courses due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. PAHA now offers live-streaming online courses.

For certification requirements, 50% of courses may be taken online through self-study and still meet ADAD’s standards. The remaining 50% of courses were previously required to be face-to-face classroom courses. Our Live-Streaming Courses now meet the requirement for Face-to-Face Courses.

All coursework reflects the new DSM-V TR diagnostic                                                                                                                                        criteria.

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 and NAADAC approved provider.

6. Complete 6  months to 3 years of supervised work experience (depending upon level of educational and professional experience), as determined by ADAD or your state’s addictions board.

Complete 1000 to 6000 hours of clinically supervised work experience (including 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 but may do so in the future.

Please contact the ADAD for current requirements for the 1000-6000 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/zoom courses, and 1000-6000 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.

Please contact Hawai’i ADAD or your state addictions board to register for your test.

Click here for more information.

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/CADC certification.

After obtaining your state certification, you may qualify for national or international reciprocity through ICRC.

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

Substance Use Professionals – Certification

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