Wait! What Do These Acronyms Mean?
For those who forgot or those who never knew in the first place, here are the “de-coded” meanings of the acronyms:
LADC: Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor
LCADC: Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor
CADC: Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor
CADC-I: Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Intern
Special Note: Do you want to be a Nevada Certified Problem Gambling Counselor? We did not forget that important certification! Check below for more information.
What? Are Licensure and Certification the Same Thing?
The first thing you may notice is that two of these descriptions contain the word “licensed” and two contain the word “certified.” What is the difference? According to the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium, better known to those in the field as IC&RC, “A license is a state’s grant of legal authority to practice a profession within a designated scope of practice. It is required in order to practice or to call oneself a licensed professional. Some states have a single license, and some have a tiered system, and the names of licenses, as well as requirements, vary from state to state. Licensing can also be thought of as mandatory certification. Under a licensure system, states define by statute the tasks and function or scope of practice of a profession and provide that these tasks may be legally performed only by those who are licensed.”
A certification, on the other hand, is “mandatory or required to practice in certain states. Certification is often provided by a private organization for the purpose of providing the public protection on those individuals who have successfully met all requirements for the credential and demonstrated their ability to perform their profession competently. It represents the achievement of a level of professional competency agreed by the international community as qualified to practice effectively. In some states, holding a certification can help a professional obtain a license. IC&RC certification can also allow a professional to more easily relocate to another IC&RC state or jurisdiction. Like a license, certification requirements can and do vary from state to state, but IC&RC ensures that its boards adhere to a set of minimum standards of competency.” Licensing standards match certification standards and are based on a professional obtaining certification and passing an examination, after which a license is issued by the state board or licensing entity.
But It Looks Complicated…
In Nevada, the processes for obtaining these credentials has just gotten a lot easier! The licensing entity is the Nevada State Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug and Gambling Counselors (NVADGC). The NVADGC website is very handy for those searching for a Counselor or Therapist in Nevada because they have a handy “License Search” to look up the names of those you are considering to see if they have the proper credentials. The licensing and certification process is a great way of ensuring that people get treatment from those providers who have a basic standardized level of competence, to help ensure public safety from misconduct such as professional misconduct, misrepresentation of credentials, conflicts of interest, and discrimination. Providers are required to renew certification and licenses by attending professional development to maintain their knowledge, skills, and abilities and keep up with changes in the field. The NVADGC also has an online “Complaint Form” for those who may be concerned with the conduct or competence of a Therapist or Counselor in Nevada and provides a “License Portal” for current licensees or interns and an “Application Portal” for those considering becoming a Counselor or Therapist in Nevada.
But We have Lots of Substance Use Disorder Counselors…Don’t We?
Well actually, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) predicts a shortage of addiction and mental health counselors in the upcoming decade. Their national-level workforce estimates for the health workforce for behavioral health occupations between 2017 and 2030 have been published in the Behavioral Health Workforce Projections, 2017-2030. The needs of Americans for access to essential behavioral health care services is critical and continues to grow:
- Nearly one in five adults in the U.S., 44.7 million people, suffered from a mental illness during the past year.
- In 2016, 28.6 million people aged 12 or older used an illicit drug in the past 30 days, corresponding to about 1 in 10 Americans overall and 1 in 4 among young adults aged 18 to 25. Illicit drug use is driven primarily by marijuana use and the misuse of prescription pain relievers.
- An estimated 11.8 million people misused opioids in the past year, including 11.5 million pain reliever misusers and 948,000 heroin users. About 116 people each day die from opioid-related drug overdoses in the United States.
The demand for addiction counselors in particular is especially critical through 2030, with the demand expected to increase by 21 percent and the supply of certified and licensed professional expected to increase by only six percent. That is a 15 percent shortfall. In Nevada the demand for addiction counselors by 2030 is expected to exceed the supply by nearly double. Remember that Certified Problem Gambling Counselors are included in the field of addiction counselors. That means that developing a workforce of more certified and licensed counselors for substance use and other addiction disorders and mental is essential to providing the needed services in our state.
Wait! There’s More!
Five new additions to the NVADGC website are flowcharts just developed by CASAT for LADC, LCADC, CADC, CADC-I, and Nevada Certified Problem Gambling Counselor that help those who want to pursue a license or certification in Nevada to understand and choose the appropriate pathway to obtain these credentials. These handy flowcharts have links to the appropriate and applicable Nevada Laws of the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) and Nevada Revised Statues (NRS), and guide users through the pathway to their desired professional goal according to the educational level, training, and supervision requirements of each. With a flowchart to guide you through each process keeping track of all requirements and your own progress toward your goal is easier to track and achieve!
To learn more about licensing, testing, continuing education, and to locate forms and other resources, visit the NVADGC website.
To learn about obtaining a Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) certification in Nevada, first read the Catalyst blog post Prevention Specialist Certification: What Is It and Why Do I Need It? 10 Reasons to Become a Certified Prevention Specialist
If you have all the credentials you need right now, but need a job or want to post a position, try the CASAT OnDemand Job Board.
Visit the Northern Nevada Behavioral Health Coalition (NNBHC) website for information about meetings, minutes from past meetings, and announcements.
The CASAT OnDemand Calendar has a wonderous array of upcoming events, conferences and trainings and is also a great place to post your or your organization’s own events to get the word out to the behavioral health community.