Education for Certification

Ever wonder if the school you have attended is approved by CCAPP? Do you worry that the school you have been using will not be accepted as part of your certification process? Have you been told that the school you attended is not accepted by CCAPP and that you could not use their courses for your CADC? The following information can help you avoid any confusion or anxiety related to the school you attended, are attending, or are planning to attend!

All education content and applications for approval are reviewed autonomously by the CCAPP Education Institute (CCAPP-EI), which is the education board for the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP), and CCAPP Credentialing. CCAPP-EI exclusively reviews educational content to assure it meets the requirements for certification and recommends approval, denial, or deferment to CCAPP. For a school’s curriculum to be approved as meeting the educational requirements for certification, the school does not have to be on the “Approved California Alcohol & Drug Program Schools” list. If someone wants to attend an institution, not on the “CCAPP Approved California Alcohol & Drug Program Schools” list, call the CCAPP office to see if the institution has been approved. If the school or program has not been approved in the past, please review the curriculum to see if it meets CCAPP requirements. The required coursework must include all of the academic content areas listed below.

Find An Approved School

View our listing of CCAPP Education Institute-approved schools for certification.


(Minimum hours for each area are 45 (which is equal to 3-semester units).

Introduction and Overview:

This course will examine the history of alcohol and other mood-changing drugs in the US; the myths and stereotypes of alcohol/drug use; sociocultural factors that contribute to the use of drugs; and the patterns and progression of alcoholism.

  • Cultural/Lifestyle Consideration; norms and differences; issues specific to special populations (e.g., ethnic minorities, women, youth, elderly, homosexuality, physically disabled or impaired); the nature and extent of alcoholism/drug dependency problems among target populations.
  • Human Behavior: theories of personality and human development; emotional states (e.g., dependency, resentment, guild); theories of human needs and motivation; denial process.
  • Family Dynamics: Recognition of family roles, modalities of treatment; communication issues; role play.
  • Treatment and Recovery Approaches: Treatment and recovery modalities; (e.g., psychiatric, psychosocial, clinical; Alcoholics Anonymous (and other support groups); Aversion Therapy; medical modalities; behavioral modification, social models, drinking driver programs. (etc.)
  • Program Planning and Client Education: Goals and objectives; program policies and procedures; program strengths and limitations, service delivery planning, client education, lectures.

Physiology and Pharmacology of Alcohol and Other Drugs:

  • Examination of the effects of alcohol and similar legal psychoactive drugs on the body and behavior; damage to the body and behaviors; damage to the brain, liver, and other organs.
  • Tolerance, cross-tolerance, and synergistic effects.
  • Physiological differences between males and females.
  • Disease model including signs and symptoms, research, neurobiological, AMA definition, Jellinek’s work.
  • Communicable diseases include tuberculosis, HIV, Hepatitis, etc.

Law and Ethics:

  • Community prevention and education: the concepts of prevention, community education, and outreach; education and prevention models; effectiveness of prevention strategies and training methods; adult education techniques.
  • Outreach: Businesses and clubs that can be used as identification and referral sources.
  • Assessing needs for training and technical assistance.
  • Screening techniques: communication theories and techniques; interviewing techniques; considerations in assessing, client needs, resources, strengths, and limitations. Identification of appropriateness and eligibility.
  • Intervention and referral: emphasis on the chronic disease model and recovery process. Continuum of care issues, including employee assistance programs; information and referral; detoxification; various treatment modalities, etc.
  • Crisis Counseling Techniques and theories: The signs and symptoms of potential suicide, aggression, and other self-destructive behaviors.

Case Management: Assessment, Orientation, Treatment Planning and Relapse Prevention/Aftercare Planning:

  • Initial intake and case management: administrative requirements for admission, interpersonal dynamic and potential influence of client behaviors; signs and symptoms of physical disabilities, assessment of potential violence, self-harm, activities that bring agencies, resources of people together within a planned framework of action toward the achievement of established goals; including alcohol/drug history, vocational, cultural, educational background, lifestyle, living situation, medical, strengths and weaknesses for the development of a treatment plan.
  • Orientation: General nature and goals of the program; rules governing conduct, infractions that can lead to disciplinary action or discharge, hours of services, costs, clients’ rights. etc.
  • Treatment/Recovery Planning: the components of a treatment plan; problem-solving models and processes; theories and behavioral components of change; techniques used in behavioral contracts; the stages of recovery; identification of problems, ranking problems, realistic and unrealistic treatment goals at various stages of recovery; the value of participant concurrence or expresses disagreement in the process; how to organize client information for presentation to other professionals, case presentation procedures.
  • Reports and Recordkeeping: Charting the results of the assessments; treatment plans; writing reports, progress notes, discharge summaries, and other client-related data. (Practical application is required.)
  • Aftercare and follow-up: the role of aftercare in the treatment process; the role and importance of client follow-up; relapse dynamics; self-help groups and/or support groups. (AA, NA, etc.)
  • Consultation and Referral: Alternative resources available to provide treatment and supportive services; roles and functions of individuals in resources agencies and their position in the decision-making process; advocacy techniques; assessing the need for consultation and referral; identifying counselor limits and scope of practice.

Individual, Group and Family Counseling:

  • Counseling is a relationship in which the counselor helps the client mobilizes resources to resolve his/her problems and/or modify attitudes and values.
  • Exploration of a problems, its ramification, examination of attitudes and feelings; consideration of alternative solutions; decision making; therapeutic approaches, (e.g., Reality Therapy, RET; Brief Therapy; Motivational interviewing; etc.)
  • Provisions of services to special populations, co-occurring disorders, people with disabilities, cultural differences, criminal justice, etc.
  • Family Counseling: (All family counseling must be relative to substance abuse issues.) Theories of family codependency; techniques for motivating family involvement in the treatment process; techniques of multi-family group counseling; working with family therapists, selecting therapists for family work; counselor identification of limitations relating to family issues.
  • Group Counseling: Purpose and function of different types of counseling groups; models of the group; group techniques; stages of the group; group intervention, group patterns; therapeutic factors in groups; expression, commitment, process groups, didactic training; the role of the counselor; group orientation.
  • This course must include practical applications in role play settings.

Personal and Professional Growth:

  • Counselor burnout; signs and symptoms; early warning signs; unique needs of the recovering counselor; prevention techniques.
  • Personal and Professional Growth: recognizing personal strengths, limitations, and knowledge to promote professional growth; the importance of stress management; relaxation techniques; leisure skills, exercise; proper nutrition; time management, etc.
  • The recovering counselor: “two hats” and the limitations and liability. (Include ethical situations.)
  • Professional Growth: Ethics and professional conduct/standards; consultations, counselor support, and performance; the skills of a successful helper; ongoing education and training; translation of the code of ethics into professional behavior.
  • Certification requirements: Outline and review the California Certification Board of Alcohol/Drug Counselors (CCAPP Credentialing) career path. Review the State of California Counselor Regulations and code of conduct.
  • Professional contacts and organizations.

Supervised Practicum:

  • This course consists of (45) classroom hours. The course includes supervision by a qualified instructor and includes direct supervision. The instructor must also be available for consultation while the student is completing field work requirements.

Supervised Field Work Practicum (Internship):

  • A minimum requirement of 255 hours of practical experience performing at an agency is approved by the aforementioned instructor. The student must complete all of the 12 Core functions at the internship site. Each core function requires a minimum of 21 hours of practicum. The application of knowledge and skills in a practice setting is essential to professional counseling. The fieldwork is the means by which students learn to apply and integrate acquired knowledge and values; and refine skills that are taught in the classroom.

    Breakdown of Internship Hours:

    • Supervised Practicum Course (Classroom) 45 Hours
    • Supervised Field Work (Internship) in the Core Functions: 252 Hours
    • Agency Orientation: 3 Hours

    300 Total Practicum Hours

      Not currently attending an approved school? Cross referencce current Alcohol and Drug study courses with the academic content areas by clicking here.

      CCAPP members, professionals, and students should refrain from making statements about which schools will or will not meet our requirements and refer these questions to the CCAPP office. Not doing so could unfairly, and negatively impact the student or the school. Please do not hesitate to contact CCAPP if you have any questions.

      Become A CCAPP Approved School

      Does your school meet CCAPP Education Institute requirements? Become an approved school today and make it easier for your students to accomplish their goals. Approved schools are listed in our directory to help prospective students find what they are looking for in an educational institution.