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Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) Requirements

Minimum Qualifications

To become a CASAC, you must: 

  • be at least 18 years of age;
  • have earned at least a High School Diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED); and
  • reside or work in New York State at least 51 percent of the time to be issued a credential.
In addition, you must satisfy the following requirements: 

Evaluation of Competency and Ethical Conduct

You must sign an affidavit agreeing to abide by the Canon of Ethical Principles.  (Please also see OASAS' Policy on Credentialing/Recredentialing Applications Which are Determined to Contain Falsified Documentation). 

You must arrange to have three individuals complete an Evaluation of Competency and Ethical Conduct on your behalf to be submitted as part of your Application. All evaluators must: (1) have direct knowledge of your work experience observed for a minimum of six months (may not be family members or subordinates); and (2) meet the following qualifications: 

  • One evaluator must be your current clinical supervisor. In the absence of a current clinical supervisor, the evaluator may be your most recent clinical supervisor.
  • One evaluator must be a current New York State CASAC or hold a current reciprocal-level credential issued by another member board of the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).
  • In addition to the CASAC evaluator, one evaluator must be a Qualified Health Professional (QHP).  A QHP is an individual who: (1) has had at least one year of experience in the treatment of alcoholism and/or substance abuse and has completed a formal training program in the treatment of alcoholism and/or substance abuse; and (2) is a/an:
    • CASAC who has a current valid credential issued by the Office in accordance with Article 19 of the Mental Hygiene Law or a comparable credential, certificate or license from another recognized certifying body as determined by the Office;
    • licensed master or licensed clinical social worker who is currently registered as such by the New York State Education Department;
    • nurse practitioner who is licensed and currently registered by the New York State Education Department as a professional nurse;
    • occupational therapist licensed and currently registered by the New York State Education Department;
    • physician licensed and currently registered by the New York State Education Department;
    • physician's assistant licensed and currently registered as such by the New York State Education Department and whose practice is in conformity with Section 3701 of the Public Health Law;
    • registered professional nurse (RN) licensed and currently registered as such by the New York State Education Department;
    • psychologist licensed and currently registered by the New York State Education Department;
    • rehabilitation counselor certified by the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification;
    • therapeutic recreation specialist who holds a baccalaureate degree in a field allied to therapeutic recreation and, either before or after receiving such degree, has five years of full-time, paid work experience;
    • family therapist who is currently accredited by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy;
    • licensed mental health practitioner who is currently registered as such by the New York State Education Department (Title VIII, Article 163); or
    • counselor certified by and currently registered as such with the National Board for Certified Counselors.

If you are not engaged in the provision of counseling services in the alcoholism and/or substance abuse field at the time of application, one additional evaluation must be submitted by your current supervisor.

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Work Experience 

You must document a minimum of 6,000 hours (approximately three years) of supervised, full-time equivalent experience in an approved work setting as a provider or supervisor of direct patient services.  An approved work setting means it: 

  • is operated by the OASAS;
  • holds a valid Operating Certificate or Certificate of Approval to provide substance abuse or alcoholism services from the OASAS issued pursuant to Articles 19 or 32 of the Mental Hygiene Law, or a similar license or approval from any other state's chemical dependence or problem gambling authority for the other state in which the agency, facility or program is located;
  • is a program that includes alcoholism and/or substance abuse treatment consistent with OASAS standards and is licensed and/or operated by another New York State agency;
  • is organized and operated by the Federal Government, to include the Indian Health Service and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, as a program providing chemical dependence or problem gambling services that is consistent with OASAS standards; or
  • is a non-certified setting that involves the legal provision of chemical dependence services and that affords: (1) the opportunity to establish proficiency in one or more of the professional competencies associated with a credential administered by the OASAS; and (2) on-site supervision by a QHP meeting the supervisory standards established by OASAS.
Work experience claimed must: 
  • include a minimum of 2,000 hours during the five years prior to submission of the required paperwork;
  • include the following professional tasks:  diagnostic assessment; evaluation; intervention; referral; and alcoholism and/or substance abuse counseling in both individual and group settings;
  • have, at a minimum, weekly, on-site and documented clinical supervision by a QHP;
  • be integrated with the alcoholism and/or substance abuse services delivery system for consultation and referrals;
  • include practice in alcoholism and/or substance abuse counseling to establish and maintain recovery and prevent relapse; and
  • include a minimum of 300 hours of Supervised Practical Training. Each of the following 12 Core Functions (areas of professional expertise) must have been performed for a minimum of 10 hours, under the direct supervision of a QHP:
    • screening;
    • intake;
    • orientation;
    • assessment, evaluation and intervention;
    • referral;
    • treatment planning;
    • counseling;
    • crisis Intervention;
    • patient education;
    • case management;
    • reporting and record keeping; and
    • consultation with other professionals.
OASAS strongly encourages that the majority of your work experience be devoted to the practice of alcoholism and/or substance abuse counseling. 

The following academic degree substitutions may be claimed toward satisfying a portion of the 6,000 hour work experience requirement: 

  • A Master's (or higher) Degree in an approved Human Services field from an accredited college or institution may be substituted for the remaining 4,000 hours of work experience.
  • A Bachelor's Degree in an approved Human Services field from an accredited college or institution may be substituted for 2,000 hours of work experience. 
  • An Associate's Degree in an approved Human Services field from an accredited college or institution may be substituted for 1,000 hours of work experience. 

A formal internship or formal field placement may be claimed as work experience OR education and training, but not both.  You should calculate the need to claim a formal internship OR formal field placement as either work experience or education and training. 

Work experience claimed may not include any experience gained as part of, or required under, participation as a patient in a formal alcoholism and/or substance abuse or problem gambling treatment/aftercare program and/or plan. 

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Education and Training 

You must document completion of education and training consisting of a minimum of 350 clock hours which address the full range of knowledge, skills and professional techniques related to chemical dependence counseling. 

In order to best prepare for the examination, OASAS strongly encourages that you have completed education and training which has provided you with: 

  • knowledge of the variety of models and theories of addiction and other chemical abuse and/or dependence related problems;
  • knowledge of the social, political, economic and cultural context within which chemical abuse and/or dependence exists;
  • knowledge of the behavioral, psychological, physical health and social effects of chemical abuse and/or dependence on the patient and significant others;
  • skill in recognizing the potential for chemical abuse and/or dependence disorders to mimic a variety of medical and psychological disorders and the potential for medical and psychological disorders to coexist with chemical abuse and/or dependence;
  • knowledge of the philosophies, practices, policies and outcomes of the most generally accepted models of treatment, recovery, relapse prevention and continuing care for chemical abuse and/or dependence related problems;
  • knowledge of the importance of family, social networks and community systems in the treatment and recovery process;
  • understanding of the value of an interdisciplinary approach to chemical abuse and/or dependence treatment;
  • skill in using the established diagnostic criteria for chemical abuse and/or dependence and understanding of the variety of treatment options and placement criteria within the continuum of care;
  • ability to utilize various counseling strategies and develop treatment plans based on the patient's stage of dependence or recovery;
  • knowledge of the medical and pharmaceutical resources in the treatment of chemical abuse and/or dependence;
  • ability to incorporate the special needs of diverse racial and ethnic cultures and special populations into clinical practice, including their distinct patterns of communication;
  • understanding of the obligation of the CASAC to engage in prevention as well as treatment techniques;
  • knowledge of the obligations of a CASAC to adhere to generally accepted ethical and behavioral standards of conduct in the counseling relationship; and
  • proficiency in English including the ability to speak, write, comprehend aurally and read at a minimum level necessary to perform as a CASAC.
Minimum requirements are as follows: 
  • 85 clock hours related to Knowledge of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (must include a minimum of 4 clock hours related to tobacco use and nicotine dependence);
  • 150 clock hours related to Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counseling (must include a minimum of 15 clock hours specific to cultural competence);
  • 70 clock hours related to Assessment; Clinical Evaluation; Treatment Planning; Case Management; and Patient, Family and Community Education; and
  • 45 clock hours related to Professional and Ethical Responsibilities (must include a minimum of 2 clock hours of Child Abuse and Maltreatment Mandated Reporting and a minimum of 15 clock hours specific to ethics for addiction professionals).

Courses taken to prepare for the examination will not be accepted to satisfy any part of the education and training requirements. 

OASAS will consider education and training obtained through accredited colleges or universities; governmental agencies; or other entities as approved by OASAS.  A maximum of 30 clock hours may be accepted for documented participation in conferences by professional organizations.

There is no limit on the number of clock hours completed through distance learning.  However, OASAS will only consider distance learning course work completed through the following entities:

  • accredited colleges or universities;
  • National Addiction Technology Transfer Center-approved distance education sponsors (www.nattc.org/); and
  • OASAS-Certified Education and Training Providers.

A formal internship or formal field placement may be claimed as education and training based on the academic credit associated with completion, not the number of hours served in the field.

A formal internship or formal field placement may be claimed as work experience OR education and training, but not both. You should calculate the need to claim a formal internship OR formal field placement as either work experience or education and training.

All education and training must be claimed in clock hours, determined as follows:

  • Clock Hours equal the actual number of hours documented for the education and training received (Example: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. = 2.5 clock hours).
  • Credit Hours equal credits awarded after successful completion of an academic course. One college credit (graduate or undergraduate) equals 15 clock hours (Example: 3 credits = 45 clock hours).
  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) equal credits awarded after successful completion of a continuing education course. One CEU equals 10 clock hours (Example: .7 CEUs = 7 clock hours).
  • You must maintain documentation to support all education and training being claimed in the form of an academic transcript, certificate or letter of completion which includes your name, the name of the educational institution or provider, title of the course/training, date of completion, and number of clock hours associated with completion of the course/training.

ATTENTION Applicants:

If you hold an Associate's, Bachelor's or Master's Degree, or you are a student pursuing any of these degrees, some of the course work associated with your degree may be claimed toward satisfying some or all of the CASAC education and training requirements. In order to determine what coursework may be applicable, your college transcript(s) should be submitted with your application.