CASAC Certification

Become a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor as part of your MSW.

If you’re passionate about helping individuals overcome alcohol and substance abuse problems, choose the online joint MSW and Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) program at Wurzweiler. This career serves those in need. It requires a strong ethical grounding, rigorous training and a firm commitment to helping clients recover from drug or alcohol dependency. The rewards include the satisfaction of profoundly touching lives: helping vulnerable people while addressing a growing social need.

Your Expertise is Essential

The demand for addiction specialists is expected to grow 22% by 2031. In 2019, 19.3 million people over the age of 18 struggled with a substance use disorder. Of those, 9.5 million also had a diagnosed mental illness.1, 2

Help them through the healing process. Earn Wurzweiler’s CASAC certification by completing three targeted electives, one course on psychosocial pathology and two advanced clinical practice courses.

  • If you choose your specialization path before taking any electives, your CASAC certification will not require extra coursework
  • Students in the Advanced Standing program who choose CASAC certification must take an extra three-credit elective to complete the specialization
  • Field placement hours may count toward the practice hours needed for the full CASAC credential
Woman standing and sharing with seated members of group counseling

Committed to Supporting Your Success

The Wurzweiler online MSW program delivers a robust combination of theoretical and practical education, with personalized guidance from the faculty experts who lead our highly ranked, CSWE-accredited on-campus program. With focused courses for alcohol and substance abuse certification, you’ll be empowered to connect your passion for service with your professional purpose.

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Employment for Substance Abuse Counselors

As a substance abuse counselor, you’ll work with addicted and at-risk individuals and people who are in recovery. You may also help addicts’ family members cope with their loved ones’ chemically dependent behaviors. By helping people with addiction through the healing process, you’ll improve community safety by reducing criminal domestic violence and impaired driver traffic incidents.

Non-licensed substance abuse counselors can work as advocates and mentors for clients but, in order to protect the public and individuals with chemical dependencies, they’re not allowed to diagnose or devise counseling treatments. They generally work under the supervision of licensed counselors, helping clients to:

  • Maintain healthy routines
  • Find and maintain employment
  • Build their support networks

Explore Career Outcomes

Substance abuse counselors work in:

  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers
  • Residential mental health and substance abuse centers
  • Family services agencies
  • Schools and after-school programs
  • Hospitals and care facilities
  • State and local government

Empower Yourself with the Right Credentials

Credentialing and licensing standards exist to help ensure that substance abuse counselors are ethical, well-informed and competent.

In most states, a substance abuse counselor certification is required for licensure, which opens the door to higher pay and more practice opportunities. An MSW is essential for obtaining your license, and, in social work as in most professions, greater experience leads to higher salaries.

Wurzweiler’s online joint MSW and CASAC program aligns with the standards of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), preparing you with the ethical grounding and academic training prerequisite for New York’s CASAC credential or similar credential in your home state.

Six people seated in a circle participating in group counseling

Expand Your Ability to Help Other People

A license such as the CASAC credential enables social workers to work in clinical settings, with expanded capabilities that include:

  • Diagnostic assessment
  • Evaluation
  • Intervention
  • Referral
  • Substance use disorder counseling

In addition, any substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselor who wants to go into private practice must be licensed. Some states issue blanket licenses for clinical social workers, while others have specialized licensing such as the CASAC.

By completing substance abuse counselor certification, you’ll demonstrate your knowledge of social work principles and practices. With certification, you can secure counseling assignments that will help you complete the supervised fieldwork hours required for credentialing or licensure.

The Substance Abuse Counselor Certification Program

Wurzweiler’s CASAC course sequence covers the assessment, evaluation and diagnosis of addictions using case studies that provide comparative knowledge of substance abuse, alcohol abuse, compulsive gambling and sexual compulsion.

As a student in the CASAC certification track, you’ll learn about interpreting client behaviors, the dimensions of disease and the appropriate treatments available, including 12-step recovery programs. You’ll examine and apply addiction-focused screening instruments and diagnostic criteria to prepare them for engaging with and treating clients with psychoactive substance use disorders. You’ll use tools including these:

  • DSM-V diagnostic criteria
  • Addiction Severity Index (ASI)
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine's (ASAM) multidimensional assessment

Throughout the substance abuse counselor certification course sequence, you’ll monitor and assess your own preconceptions and biases about addiction. This will help you understand and support a challenging population of clients.

Explore the Curriculum

Dr. Tim Conley, LCSW

Faculty instructors for the CASAC certification path are led by ​​Program Director Dr. Tim Conley, LCSW, who designed and oversees all addiction-related course content, updates and instruction. Dr. Conley has been a Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS) with the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders since 1996.

Read his blog about substance abuse relapses.

Credentialing and Licensing Requirements

Requirements for the New York State CASAC Credential align with regulatory requirements around the country, and there are reciprocal arrangements between regulatory agencies across the states.

That said, each state will have specific licensing requirements. For example, to earn a CASAC, you must work and practice in New York state 51% of the time during the application period. New York also requires more educational and fieldwork hours than some other states, making it easier to secure additional licenses after earning the CASAC.

The key requirements for the CASAC include:

  • At least 6,000 hours of supervised, full-time equivalent work experience in an approved setting
  • At least 350 clock hours of education and training, including approved coursework for a human services degree
  • A passing score on the IC&RC examination for Alcohol and Drug Counselors (ADC)3

The IC&RC ADC test is the basis of the mandated credential or license in most U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

An entry-level credential, the ADC covers the basics of addiction counseling, including:

  • Screening, Assessment, and Engagement
  • Treatment Planning, Collaboration, and Referral
  • Counseling
  • Professional and Ethical Responsibilities4

Connect with a Wurzweiler Admissions Outreach Advisor to discuss how the CASAC certification process fits your career plans and the licensing requirements in your area.

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Learn More About the Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Four Yeshiva University MSW Students

The Wurzweiler Experience

When you elect the substance abuse counselor certification path for your online MSW, the Wurzweiler School of Social Work gives you end-to-end support.

Explore Student Support
Older man working with social worker

Immediately Apply Your Training

Supervised fieldwork requirements throughout your Wurzweiler online MSW program will help you better understand all facets of the client relationship.

Learn More About Fieldwork
Questions? Let’s Connect.