Ohio Licensure Requirements for Substance Abuse Counselors

Earning a bachelor’s degree is an ideal way to begin your career as a substance abuse counselor. However, the degree is just one of the professional criteria for holding a license that allows you to work as a substance abuse counselor in Ohio. License requirements for substance abuse counselors vary from state to state. We cover what’s involved in Ohio licensing in this article — but first, let’s clarify why licensure is required in the first place.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is today’s accepted medical term for addiction.

Why Licensing Matters

You may have noticed substance abuse counselors are often called addiction counselors. Yet, according to the American Psychological Association, substance abuse and addiction are different terms.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is today’s accepted medical term for addiction. Because SUD treatment addresses disease, substance abuse counselors must be trained healthcare professionals.

Substance abuse is a broad term encompassing illicit drug use as well as misuse of prescription medication. SUD occurs when substances are used in brain function, causing physical and psychological dependency.

Role of a Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors are responsible for the following:

  • Facilitating rehabilitation in individuals suffering from SUDs
  • Designing treatment plans to aid in SUD recovery.
  • Supporting patients through behavior change

Your professional license proves you have the proper education, training, and experience to provide ethical, high-quality care. In many cases, your license allows for third-party insurance reimbursement. Most importantly, your license is a form of protection for the vulnerable individuals you’ll treat — an affirmation the care they’re receiving is from a competent professional.

If your career as a substance abuse counselor takes you to Ohio or outside the state, be sure to research state requirements where you plan to practice.

State Licensure Requirements Vary

It’s worth repeating that licensure requirements for professionals treating SUD vary considerably from state to state. This means your Ohio license may or may not be accepted via reciprocity in other states. If your career takes you to Ohio or outside the state, be sure to research the state requirements where you plan to practice.

In Ohio, licenses for substance abuse counselors are issued by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board (OCDPB). This board certifies and licenses professionals with demonstrated education and experience effectively treating SUD.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Substance Abuse Counseling program from the University of Cincinnati (UC) meet the academic requirements for licensure as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III (LCDC III) in Ohio.

UC designed its 100%-online substance abuse counseling bachelor’s degree program around LCDC III licensure

Levels of Licensure for Ohio Substance Abuse Counselors

The OCDPB administers multiple levels of certification and licensure for chemical dependency professionals. Education drives the qualifications for a particular license, and the level of licensure determines the type of work the licensee is qualified to perform.

Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant (CDCA) – The CDCA requires a high school diploma (or the equivalent), plus relevant training, but does not require a college degree. CDCA-certified individuals are eligible for entry-level assistant positions.

Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II (LCDC II) – This license requires an associate degree in behavioral science or a bachelor’s degree in any field. License holders provide supervised counseling care for individuals with SUD.

Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III (LCDC III) – The LCDC III requires a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or nursing. LCDC III is an advanced level of licensure allowing for the evaluation and treatment of chemical dependency disorders under supervision.

Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) – The highest level of licensure for substance abuse counselors in Ohio is the LICDC. It requires a master’s degree in behavioral science. This license allows license holders to operate independently or to supervise other counselors.
UC designed its 100%-online  substance abuse counseling program around LCDC III licensure because holding an LCDC III allows you to carve out a rewarding career as a substance abuse counselor. It also paves the way for you to continue advancing in your profession if you choose to do so.

Program Webinar

Interested in the program, but want to know a little more about what you’ll learn? Check out our webinar below, featuring Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, George B Richardson.

SACN Webinar

Process for Obtaining Ohio Substance Abuse Counselor License – LCDC III

Your substance abuse counselor license requires education, supervised practice, and examination.

Here’s what to know about each requirement:

  • Education: As mentioned, the LCDC III requires a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science or nursing. UC’s online substance abuse program offers a convenient way to earn a degree explicitly geared toward a career in addiction counseling while fulfilling state license requirements.
  • Supervised practice: Candidates for licensure must log at least 2,000 hours of work experience or supervised internship. Specific core function areas and competencies must be accounted for in practical training documentation.
  • Examination: You’ll need to pass the Alcohol & Drug Counselor (ADC) exam, administered by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

Background Check and License Maintenance

A criminal background check completes the licensure process. Since some aspiring counselors have overcome SUD themselves, it’s important to note there are some disqualifications from licensure. However, the OCDPB encourages everyone to apply.

Once licensed as an LCDC III in Ohio, you must renew your license every two years. To qualify for renewal, you will complete the required hours of continuing education during each two-year cycle.

Take Your Next Step Today

UC’s BS in Substance Abuse Counseling program provides an accessible pathway to begin a rewarding career. You gain the knowledge and preparation needed to obtain an Ohio substance abuse counselor license in a flexible program designed for working adults.

If you’re ready to make a difference in the lives of people with SUDs in Ohio or another state, this program can help you get there.

Connect online with UC’s Enrollment Services Advisor for the substance abuse counselor program or email at [email protected].

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