Addictions Training Institute – Certification vs License

Certification vs License

What Does It Mean to be Certified?

Certification is a process that ensures the public that someone has the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to do a particular job. It typically involves required training, practical experience, such as an internship, and an exam. Earning certification lets everyone know that you are qualified to do the job.

The requirements for certification vary by type of certification and by state. In some states a person is not allowed to do a particular kind of job unless they have certification or are working towards it.


Workers with a high school diploma typically go through a period of on-the-job training. Training prepares counselors how to respond to a crisis situation and interact with people with addictions. Certification as a substance abuse counselor is possible for individuals with a high school diploma if they complete an approved training program, get experience in the field and pass an exam. The types of certifications available for individuals with a high school diploma vary from state to state.


Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in private practice must be licensed Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require a master’s degree and between 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors must pass a state-recognized exam and complete continuing education every year. Contact information for your state’s regulating board can be found through, just click on the get state requirements link.