What does an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor (ADAC) do?

Program Objective

An ADAC or substance abuse counselor is a support system for people with drug and alcohol problems, eating disorders and other mental health and behavioral issues. They teach individuals how to modify their behavior with the intention of full recovery. Because clients are susceptible to relapses, many substance abuse counselors work with clients on an on-going basis.

Substance abuse counselors are responsiblefor assisting patients through drug rehabilitation program and treatment centers and offer techniques for handling addiction. Patients may work with substance abuse counselors individually, but treatment is often provided in group sessions. Counselors assist patients with crisis management and coping strategies; they also help family members and friends of patients acclimate to lifestyle and behavioral changes. One of the primary tasks of any substance abuse counselor is evaluating patient progress during therapy.

Are you ready to start your ADAC career?

Graduating from our ADAC program makes you fully prepared and eligible to test for the Certified Addiction Counselor exam for the state of California (CADC-1). The career outlook for certified addiction counselors has a much faster growth rate than the average for all other occupations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average annual wage in 2017 was $43,300*.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Acquire the skills to counsel individuals that suffer from addiction and the detrimental effects of drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Be proficient in assessment, treatment planning for to the individual and group therapy, family counseling and case management, crisis intervention, providing client education, as well connecting clients with community resources.
  • Have a firm understanding of the physiology and pharmacology of psychoactive drugs and their effects on the body, as well as the tolerance that individuals gain by the continuous use of illegal and legally prescribed substances.
  • The program will educate the student in the legal and ethical issues surrounding substance abuse and the treatment thereof, especially in relation to the counselor, the clients he or she is serving, the counselors outlook and empathic response towards substance abuse, the professional boundaries required of each counselor, stress management, as well as time management to prevent burnout.
  • Have an understanding of law enforcement solutions vs. community support and awareness and education.
  • Have an understanding of cultural attitudes towards the use and prevention of psychoactive drugs and the impact on various dynamics of culture as they apply to race, religion, sexual preference, educational background, living situations and upbringing.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and ability in record keeping, writing reports, progress notes and other related data.
  • Be proficient in the processes of consultation and referral, follow up and aftercare. Graduates will receive a diploma upon completion and be eligible for CAADAC certification.


Course Description

The CAADAC program provides a well-balanced education based on didactic instruction, demonstration and performance of practical skills and an externship at a qualified rehab and treatment facility where the student can gain real-life experience. The 927 hour program will be completed in 50 weeks. It consists of 672 hours divided into 7 course levels of classroom and practical instruction. The 8th level consists of 255 hours of externship in a rehab and recovery facility. The program is designed to allow students to start classes at the beginning of any of the first six course levels. Classes may be offered during the day and evening schedules. However, most externships may be scheduled only during the day. Graduation of the program requires successful completion of all levels.

Alcohol & Drug Addiction Counseling

Course Level Clock Hours Credits Semester Units Subject
Level I 96 hours 6.0 5.5 Introduction: History of Alcohol, and mood changing drugs, sociocultural factors, patterns and progression of use.
Level II 96 hours 6.0 5.5 Law and Ethics.
Level III 96 hours 5.5 Case Management, Intake and Assessment Process..
Level IV 96 hours 5.5 Individual, Group and Family Counseling Techniques.
Level V 96 hours 5 Professional Development, Supervised Practicum.
Level VI 255 hours 5 Externship: Supervised Field Work

U.S. Department of Education Gainful Employment Program Disclosure

The information on the template below is designed by the U.S. Department of Education to give prospective students and parents information that may be helpful in choosing which school and which program to attend.

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