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How to Become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in Texas

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Licensed chemical dependency counselors help individuals overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol. Professionals in Texas are monitored by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The department works closely with organizations such as the Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals to ensure that counselors meet high standards. The process leading to certification includes undergraduate and graduate human behavior and counseling coursework, a supervised internship, case study assessments, and oral and written exams.

Earn an associate, bachelor's or advanced degree in a behavioral science field. Many colleges offer two-year degrees in substance-abuse counseling that include a 300-hour practicum and meet the education requirements for Texas Department of State Health Services licensing.

Apply with the TDSHS to become a counselor intern. Applicants are required to pay a $65 background and application fee, complete criminal background check via the Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) process, and provide documentation of a college degree with 270 education hours and proof of a chemical dependency practicum.

Choose a Qualified Credentialing Counselor (QCC) for your 4,000-hour internship. QCCs are licensed individuals who have applied with the state to become a supervisor of interns. The $20 application fee is waived for LCDCs. A list of LCDCs are found on the state website. Counselors who are supervisors are also noted. Interns are required to complete written self-assessments on their experience at 50 hours, and Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes assessment with the internship supervisor at 1,000; 2,000; and 4,000 hours. A written case study is required at the end of the internship.

Once your internship is complete, visit the Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals website to register for the oral and written licensing exams. The 45-minute verbal exam, administered in the presence of three trained chemical dependency professionals, measures the candidate's ability to apply counseling in case settings. The second mandatory licensing exam is a 150-question multiple-choice test that examines the applicant's knowledge of professional responsibilities, case management, counseling and assessment. The tests are available on the computer or on paper. Registration forms can be downloaded from the TCBAP site.

Pass all tests that are required for certification. After passing both exams, continue the process of applying to become an LCDC. Applicants are required to pay a $65 background and application fee, complete the FAST fingerprinting process, provide documentation of a college degree, recent photo and two letters of recommendation from licensed chemical dependency professionals.

Upon receiving your new license, adhere to the Texas Occupation Code Chapter 504, the law that outlines the mandates of the LCDC profession.