Careers in Addictions - CASAC

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There is a high demand for addictions professionals — an inspiring, rewarding and challenging career path — and the UB School of Social Work can help prepare you for that journey as you complete your MSW program.

Update on CASAC changes

Effective 1/1/19, NYS OASAS is changing some of the initial training requirements. 

1. For students currently enrolled n the MSW degree, existing requirements continue.

2. For those who start coursework after 1/1/19, our status as an initial CASAC training provider is pending. Once known if we will be able to continue this service or not, this page will be updated.

As a reminder, CASAC initial training is only open to our current MSW students.

On this page:

Becoming a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor

To become a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) in New York State, you must meet specific requirements in the following areas: competency and ethical conduct, work experience, and education and training. You must also pass the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) Examination for Alcohol and Drug Counselors

For the education and training requirement, you must document a minimum of 350 hours that address the knowledge, skills and professional techniques related to addictions counseling. The UB School of Social Work is an approved provider by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) for these 350 hours of initial required training.

Preparing for CASAC Training Requirements During Our MSW Program

As you plan your MSW coursework, review the links below to determine which courses apply toward the 350-hour training requirement.

You will also want to consider an MSW field placement in an addictions or dual diagnosis setting. Additionally, there is a requirement for 6,000 hours of applicable work experience when applying for CASAC certification. Your MSW may be substituted for 4,000 hours of work experience, provided that 2,000 hours of paid work experience occurred within five years prior to submitting the CASAC application.

Preparing for CASAC Application After Graduation

  • Complete and mail the application to request review of your UB MSW transcript.
  • If you have successfully completed the required 350 education and training hours, a certificate will be issued which you will need to begin the CASAC application process.
  • Please note that the completion of the 350 hours of initial CASAC education and training does not provide you with CASAC Trainee status. You must complete and submit the OASAS Credentialing application and the required fee ($100) to OASAS’ Credentialing Unit staff to achieve this status. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and will remain active for five years from the date of postmark. Upon receipt of the application, a review will be conducted to determine eligibility for the CASAC Trainee and CASAC Examination.
  • 1/1/18 New Requirement for CASAC Application - To apply to become a CASAC, indivudals must take a free, one-time course on Supporting Recovery with Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT). This  is the only training that will be accepted to satisfy the requirement. This free training is offered through the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network’s portal at this linkSend a copy of your MAT completion certificate to us along with your initial CASAC coursework review application.
  • If you have questions about the MSW coursework that applies to initial CASAC training hours, email us
  • If you have questions that are not answered by the CASAC application links in the section below, you can contact the Credentialing Unit staff at 800-482-9564.

CASAC Application Information

CASAC/CASAC-Trainee application -  use the link at the top of this page to obtain the application PDS-11- Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) and CASAC Trainee Application Packet.

1/1/18 New Requirement for CASAC Application - To apply to become a CASAC, indivudals must take a free, one-time course on Supporting Recovery with Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT). This  is the only training that will be accepted to satisfy the requirement. This free training is offered through the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network’s portal at this link.  

CASAC Exam Study Resources - material recommendations to assist you with additional study prior to taking the CASAC exam.

Fingerprint Background Check

CASAC applicants are now required to obtain their fingerprint based background check when you become eligible to receive the CASAC Trainee, CASAC Trainee Extension (if necessary) and CASAC credential. Applicants will receive written notification from the NYS OASAS Credentialing Unit when it is necessary for you to complete the background check process.

Learn more about additional CASAC requirements

1/1/18: new training needed to renew your CASAC credential

In addition to the standard number of continuing education hours needed to renew a CASAC credential (listed at this link), new requirements have been added.

Effective 1/1/18 for CASAC renewal:

CASACs will be required to complete a new one-time, 3-hour requirement for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) training and a continuing, 6-hour requirement for OASAS approved ethics training.

Please note that the MAT training must be completed no later than July 1, 2018 in accordance with the legislation enacted in early 2017. The certificates of completion will be required at the time of your next renewal that occurs during the period January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2020.

The MAT training, entitled, “Supporting Recovery with Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT),” is the only training that will be accepted to satisfy the requirement. This free training is offered through the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network’s portal at http://healtheknowledge.org/course/search.php?search=Medication+Assisted.

The MAT training must be completed no later than July 1, 2018, and will be approved toward meeting your renewal education requirement, even if completed outside of your current credentialed period.  Please note that the certificate will not contain the number of hours associated with the training, however, will be accepted by the OASAS Credentialing Unit for 3 hours of Continuing Professional Education.

The 6 hours of ethics training will be required each time you renew your CASAC. The requirement may be satisfied through any ethics specific OASAS approved training and may be applied toward meeting the 60-hour renewal requirement. You may satisfy the ethics requirement by accessing the OASAS Learning Thursdays’ “Year of Ethics” series free of charge at http://www.oasas.ny.gov/testportal/LTcourses.cfm.

It is important to note that effective January 1, 2018, renewal of your credential will be contingent upon submission of the MAT and ethics training certificates.

If you have any questions specific to the MAT training or Learning Thursdays, please contact the Learning and Development Unit at training@oasas.ny.gov. Questions pertaining to the CASAC requirements should be directed to the Credentialing Unit at 1-800-482-9564, Option 1, on Monday, Wednesday or Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Fellowship Funding from NAADAC

MSW students may apply for these merit-based fellowships from NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.

The NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Addictions Counselors (NMFP-AC) and the NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Behavioral Health Professionals (NMFP-BHP) are federally-funded programs administered by NAADAC in conjunction with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). The fellowships offer a large stipend to students applying through a merit based application process.

NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Addictions Counselors: Eligibility and application information.

NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Behavioral Health Professionals: Eligibility and application information.

Tips on applying:

  • Prepare a well-written application that answers all questions and provides the requested information. This is a competitive, merit-based application process. 
  • Ensure that your application includes a list of applicable course work, and a copy of your transcript that will show completed coursework as well as coursework enrolled in the current semester.
  • As you do need a supervised clincial internship (field placement) that focuses on the required area for the fellowship, please provided the information needed on your current  and advanced year field placement. If you have not yet been assiged yoru advanced year placement, explain the process and  applicable agencies so that NAADAC understands how you will meet this reuirement. Include the number of field hours.
  • Our MSW degree offers a wide range of coursework including specific courses in addictions and behavioral health topics. A selection of coursework is approved by the NYS Office of Alcohol and Addiction Services (NYS OASAS) to fulfill the initial 350 hours of training required for the credential as a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). NAADAC recognizes and values the work done by NYS OASAS in preparing addictions professionals. Details on our CASAC coursework and process are on this page.
  • As you are preparing your application, if you have questions, there is contact information listed at the bottom of each of the fellowship application pages.
  • Prior to submitting your application, review it from the perspective of an unfamiliar reader to be sure it answers questions clearly and thoroughly.
  • The School's office of continuing education had a dicussion with NAADAC in 2018 about marketing this fellowship to students. If you have questions about clarifying coursework for the fellowship application, you can contact us at sw-ce@buffalo.edu.

Contact Us

If you have CASAC questions not answered by the above information, please email us