Substance Abuse Counselor

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  • Find step-by-step instruction for license renewal here.
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  • Anyone applying for an initial license for any of the credentials listed can apply at

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​​​License Information

Per Wis. Stat. § 440.08​(2)​, the required renewal date for the Substance Abuse Counselor credential is 02/28/ each odd-numbered year.  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.

Pursuant to 2017 Wisconsin Act 262, as of May 1, 2018, the requirements to obtain a Substance Abuse Counselor credential have changed.


  • Complete 360 hours of specialized education in substance use disorder through a post secondary institution or department approved education program. ​
  • Complete and submit Application for Substance Abuse Counselor including all required documentation and pay required fee.
  • DSPS reviews application and makes applicant eligible for the National  Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADC) examination.  Examinations may be taken after completion of education, before experience is completed.
  • Successful completion of required examinations. 
  • Submit verification of completion of 3,000 hours of work experience performing the 8 practice dimensions as a Substance Abuse Counselor, supervised as described in (Form ​2749-SAC), within 5 years immediately preceding the date of application. 3,000 hours of work experience shall include the following:
  • 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.

Pre-Credential Education Information

  • Complete 360 hours of Substance use disorder specialized education through a post secondary institution or a department approved education 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

Credentialing Information for Substance Abuse Counselor Applicants
​3217​​Application for Fee Reduction (If applying for a fee reduction, this form must accompany the LicensE  application for the credential.)
​Affidavit Regarding Supervised Experience 
2786​Credentialing Informat​​ion for out-of-state Reciprocity Applicants  (Reciprocity Information​)
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.)
​Education and Training Form (For applicants who have completed 360 hours of specialized  education.)​
​3222Information for Substance Abuse Professionals Late Renewal Applicants [For credentials expired 5 years or more.] ​​
2829Malpractice Suits or Claims Form (If applicable)
3085​Application for Predetermination (Optional-Submit ONLY if you have been convicted of any felony, misdemeanor, or other violations of federal or state law in this state or any other and you desire a review of your conviction record before applying for a credential.)​
2252​Convictions and Pending Charges (if applicable)

Renewal Information


  • FEE (See Renewal Dates and Fees)
  • SIG (Signature regarding the completion of Continuing Education in Wis. Admin. Code § ​SPS 165.01, included in on-line renewal. 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 Method​

Renewal Dates and Fees
Convictions and Pending Charges (if applicable for renewal)​
​Active 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.​