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Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency Counseling

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need any specific life experience or training to enroll in the ACD program?

A. No, just a sincere interest in helping others and a commitment to doing what you need to do to be a successful student.

Q. I want to be a alcohol and chemical dependency (ACD) counselor and have never attended college. What will I need to do to?

A. The first step is to complete the college admissions process, take an assessment to determine your math and English skills, and schedule an appointment with a curriculum or faculty adviser.

If you have no prior college work, you will be advised to complete the coursework required for the Associate of Technical Arts (ATA)degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling.

Q. How long will it take to complete the necessary coursework for the ATA Degree?

A. This degree requires 90-quarter hours of coursework. If you attend school full-time and take an average of fifteen credits per quarter you should be able to complete this degree in two years. How long it will actually take depends on the factors listed below:

Q. Why do I need to complete an Associate's degree rather than the 45-credit certificate that Edmonds offers?

A. The State of Washington requires that applicants for the Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) credential must have at least an Associate's degree. Furthermore, an applicant for the CDP credential must also have at least 45 credits of coursework specifically related to chemical dependency counseling. Our ATA degree in Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Counseling is designed to satisfy both of these requirements.

Q. Will I be able to transfer credits earned in pursuit of the Associate of Technical Arts degree to another college or university?

A. Each college or university makes their own rules regarding what courses they will accept and apply towards a particular degree that they offer. If you plan to transfer to another university or college, it is best to contact them directly about what courses within our programs they will accept. The transfer advisors on campus are also able to help you evaluate this.

Q. If I have little or no previous college work and choose to complete the coursework for the 45-credit certificate first, can I later apply those credits towards the ATA degree in Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling?

A. Yes, but the faculty does not consider this choice to be the best way to prepare for a career in CD counseling. Please consult with your faculty adviser for details.

Q. If I choose to complete the coursework for the 45-credit certificate first, can I later apply those credits towards an ATA or Associate's degree other than the ATA in Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Counseling?

A. This will depend on the degree of overlap with the course requirements and electives necessary to complete the requirements for the other degree. You should discuss this issue with your faculty adviser as early as possible.

Q. Can I use previously earned college credits to satisfy the course requirements for either the degree or the certificate?

A. Your transcript will need to be reviewed to determine this. An unofficial copy will be adequate for a preliminary assessment. In order to apply credits earned elsewhere towards any degree or certificate an official transcript from other colleges must be received by the registrar's office and officially evaluated.

Q. I already have an Associate's degree; do I still need to complete the ATA degree requirements?

A. No, but If your degree did not include 45 credits of coursework specifically related to CD Counseling you will be advised to complete the coursework requirements for the CD Counseling Certificate only. Some previously earned credits may apply to this certificate and to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) requirements. Please consult with your faculty adviser.

Q. Will an Associate's degree other than an Associate Degree in Chemical Dependency satisfy the Washington State Department of Health minimum degree requirement for the CDP credential?

Yes, but possession of an Associate's degree (or higher degree) is only one of a number of requirements that must be satisfied. IF your degree did not include a minimum of 45 credits of coursework specifically related to ACD counseling, additional coursework will be necessary to fulfill DOH requirements. The Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency Counseling Certificate was specifically designed for this purpose.

Q. I already have a Bachelor's degree in Human Services (or Social Work). Will any of the credits I earned previously apply to the Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling certificate?

A. Your transcript will need to be reviewed to determine this. An unofficial copy will be adequate for a preliminary assessment. In order to apply credits earned elsewhere towards any degree or certificate an official transcript from other colleges must be received by the registrar's office and officially evaluated.

Q. If Edmonds Community College accepts credits earned previously at another college toward the ACD certificate or degree will the Department of Health also accept them as satisfying their requirements?

A. The Department of Health will make that determination after you submit your application for the CDP credential. If you have questions about this contact them directly.

Q. If I already have a Bachelor's degree in Human Services (or Social Work), will any of the credits I earned previously apply to the Department of Health requirements?

A. The Department of Health will make that determination after you submit your application for the CDP credential. If you have questions about this, review their website or contact them directly.

Q. Are there additional requirements for CDP applicants besides academic ones?

A. Yes.

Q. Is it possible to obtain a paid position working with clients in the CD field prior to satisfying all the requirements for the Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling ATA or certificate?

A. Yes, currently there is a shortage of counselors in the northwest and some students are offered paid employment before completing all the coursework and obtaining their CDP credential.

Q. Can I work as a Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) after completing either the Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling ATA or certificate program?

A. Washington State law restricts the use of the title Chemical Dependency Professional. Only people who have satisfied all the Department of Health requirements and have been issued this credential can call themselves a Chemical Dependency Professional. This does not mean that there are no employment opportunities for people in the CD or human services fields that do not have this credential.

Q. Is it possible to obtain a paid position in the CD field prior to satisfying all the DOH requirements?

A. Yes.

Q. What chemical dependency-related jobs will I be qualified for after completing my degree but prior to satisfying all the requirements for the CDP credential?

A. There are a variety of positions available in CD treatment and prevention programs that that do not require possession of the CDP credential.

Q. Does the college or the Social & Human Services department provide assistance in finding a job in the field?

A. Yes.

Q. How much money can I expect to earn in this field?

A. This depends on a number of factors similar to those affecting salaries in other helping professions. Among the most important factors is your level of educational attainment and experience. For more information please review the survey conducted by the Northwest Frontier Addiction Technology Transfer Center (2005) and the salary information provided by the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Q. Is it true that it is difficult to get a job if you are not a recovering person yourself?

A. While this may have been somewhat true ten years ago, this is no longer the rule. Although some providers may prefer to hire people with a history of abuse and recovery, they could be accused of violating anti-discrimination laws if they ruled out all applicants except people with a recovery history.

Q. Will I be employable in other areas of the social and human services field other than chemical dependency with an ATA Degree in Chemical Dependency?

A. Yes. Many factors will influence the range of opportunities for employment within human services. Alcohol and substance abuse, both occasional and chronic, is so widespread that many community agencies and businesses have come to value the presence of a person with specialized knowledge and skills in this area. Much of the knowledge and many of the skills required to perform the duties of a CD counselor are commonly required of other human service workers serving a wide array of clients.