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How to Become a DUI Instructor in California

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California drivers convicted of drinking and driving offenses are required to attend special classes as part of their sentences. These DUI classes are designed to educate people on the dangers of drinking and driving as well as recognizing that they may have a potential addiction problem. The idea is to reduce the number of DUI offenses through education. These classes are run by licensed DUI instructors. The process to become a DUI instructor in California involves extensive education, in-depth training, a competency exam and over 2,000 hours of documented work experience.

Visit the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) website for a list of National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredited organizations. Visit the website of each of the 10 accredited programs to see which one has offices in your area and apply to their program.

Pay the registration fee, which often includes the mandatory state registration fee for certified counselors, and complete the training schedule set forth by your chosen program to become a certified Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) counselor. Licensed physicians, psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, or registered interns are not required to obtain certification and may skip this step.

Complete the training requirements for AOD counselor certification set forth by your chosen NCCA accredited organization. These requirements vary slightly for each program. However, the ADP minimum requirements for AOD counselors are: 155 hours of education, 160 hours of supervised AOD training, 2,080 hours of work experience providing counseling services, a score of 70 percent or better on a written or oral exam based on "The Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes of Professional Practice (TAP 21)" guidelines, a signed document affirming that you have never had an AOD certification revoked and a signed document agreeing to abide by the AOD code of conduct.

Request an application for examination for Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CAODC) form from your certification program or contact the ADP at (916) 324-2470 to have one sent to your home address. Send the completed form, registration fee and passport sized photo to the address printed on the form. The registration fee varies depending on the certification program, but costs around $150 on average as of January 2011. Some certification programs process the forms internally and others require applicants to send the form directly to the ADP.

Register for an examination once the application has been processed and accepted. The exam carries an additional fee of up to $150 as of January 2011. Pass the exam with a score of 70 percent or better to receive your state license. The license is mailed to the address provided after the exam has been scored, which usually takes between 1 and 2 weeks.


Counselors must renew their license every 2 years by paying the renewal fee and providing proof of at least 40 hours of continuing education. The renewal fee is $75 as of January 2011.


Kenrick Callwood has been involved in Internet marketing since 2007 and his work has appeared in numerous online publications. His main areas of expertise are psychology, travel and Internet marketing. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from California Polytechnic University.

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