Substance Abuse Counselor

License Information

Per Wis. Stat. § 440.08 (2), the required renewal date for the Substance Abuse Counselor credential is 02/28/odd years.  Should you receive your initial credential in the months leading up to this date, you are still required to renew your license by the statutorily defined date.


  • Must have high school diploma, HSED or GED.
  • Complete 360 hours of Department approved specialized education in substance use disorder counseling within a comprehensive program (see below).
  • Complete and submit Application for Substance Abuse Counselor including all required documentation and pay required fee.
  • DSPS reviews application and makes applicant eligible for ICRC Alcohol & Drug Counselor (ADC)examination.  Examinations may be taken after completion of education, before experience is completed.
  • Successful completion of required examinations. 
  • Submit verification of completion of 4,000 hours of patient counseling experience performing the 8 practice dimensions as a Substance Abuse Counselor, supervised as described in (Form #2749), within 5 years immediately preceding the date of application. 4,000 hours of work experience shall include the following:
    • 2,000 hours performing the 8 practice dimensions with patients who have primary substance use disorder diagnosis.
    • 1,000 hours in substance use disorder counseling with at least 500 hours is a one-on-one individual modality setting.
    • A minimum of 200 hours of counseling during the 12 month period immediately proceeding the date of application, of which 100 hours shall have been completed using individual modality setting.
  • Experience in excess of 40 hours per week or 2,000 hours per year will not be accepted.

Educational Equivalencies – Substance Abuse Counselor

Successful completion of education resulting in a degree approved by the Department in a field with an addiction emphasis or concentration from a clinical program approved by the Department in a field that may be used to satisfy, in part, the experience requirement.  The possession of the following degrees shall be exchanged for experience at the following rate: 

  • An associate degree will equal 500 hours of supervised experience.
  • A bachelor degree will equal 1,000 hours of supervised experience.
  • A master or doctoral degree will equal 2,000 hours of supervised experience.
  • Complete and submit Supervised Experience (Form #2749)

Pre-Credential Education Information

  • Complete 360 hours of Department approved specialized education in substance use disorder counseling within a comprehensive program.

Educators: To apply for approval of a 360-hour comprehensive program, see application procedure:

  • Form 2848 - Application Instructions
  • Form 2784  - Course Application Information
  • The training shall be in a comprehensive program or degree program approved by the Department, except for those having an accumulation of 100 or more hours as of March 1, 2007. An applicant who previously held a certificate from the Wisconsin Certification Board and can provide documentation of accumulation of 100 or more hours of approved specialized education as of March 1, 2007, may submit proof of completion of the balance of the 360 hours from sources other than a comprehensive program.

Application for Licensure

2743Application for Substance Abuse Counselor
​2749​Affidavit Regarding Supervised Experience
3079Certificate of Completion of Dept. Approved Comprehensive Substance Abuse Education Program (360 Hour Program) For applicants who have completed a Department approved 360 hour program
​2868​ICRC Exam Registration Instructions
2829Malpractice Suits or Claims Form (If applicable)
2252​Convictions and Pending Charges

​Fax Payment Form

Renewal Information


  • FEE (See Renewal Dates and Fees)
  • SIG (Signature regarding the completion of Continuing Education in Chapter SPS 165.01, included in on-line renewal and paper form - see Continuing Education Information for details)
  • If your legal status as a qualified alien or nonimmigrant lawfully present in the United States has changed since the issuance of your credential or your last renewal, please contact the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services at (608) 266-2112 or

Renewal Methods

  • On-line log in here: License Renewal Online
  • Request a Paper Renewal Form: (888) 506‑4239 or (608) 261‑4460 for the Madison area
RDAFRenewal Dates and Fees
R210Active Duty/Discharge Renewal Extension

Wisconsin Act 210 (effective June 1, 2012)

This Act extends the license of a service member if the license expires while they are on active duty from 90 days to 180 days from the date of discharge. The same applies to a spouse of a service member if the spouse does not practice under their license while the service member is on active duty and does not practice because the service member is on active duty.

This Act repeals a provision of prior law that required a service member to meet all of the requirements for license extension or renewal, except for continuing education requirements, in order to have the license extended.

Service members and spouses may request extensions of licenses beyond 180 days from discharge and may request a waiver or extension of time to complete continuing education requirements due to hardship.  Please view Active Duty/Discharge Renewal Extension Form #R210.