Chemical Dependency Professional
Whatcom Community College offers new certificate and degree programs for students on the path toward certification as a chemical dependency professional (CDP).
Associate in science degree in chemical dependency professional
This associate degree (90-92 credits) prepares students to counsel individuals and families with substance use disorders. This degree is designed to meet the educational requirements for students to become certified as a chemical dependency professional in Washington state. Two specialty options are offered:
General specialty option (90 credits)
Allows students the flexibility to choose elective courses or meet the elective requirement with previously taken courses.
Behavioral health specialty option (92 credits)
Provides additional course content to train students in emerging trends in the behavioral health field. The recommended courses prepare students to work within an integrated healthcare system, with a deeper knowledge of care navigation and topics in psychology or sociology (recommended topic areas identified by local employers).
Certificate in chemical dependency professional
This certificate (65 credits) prepares students to counsel individuals and families with substance use disorders. This certificate is designed to meet the educational requirements for students to become certified as a chemical dependency professional in Washington state. This certificate is for students with a prior degree (associate, bachelor, master).
Certificate of proficiency in chemical dependency professional – alternative training
This entirely online program (15 credits) is designed for licensed professionals under WAC (246-811-076) who are interested in becoming a chemical dependency professional through alternative training. A practitioner must hold an active license in good standing: advanced registered nurse practitioner, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselor, advanced social worker, independent clinical social worker, psychologist, osteopathic physician, osteopathic physician assistant, physician, or physician assistant.
Whatcom Community College has been approved by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) as an Approved Education Provider to provide the Alternative Training Program for educational credits.
Behavioral health program mission statement
The behavioral health program at Whatcom Community College will contribute to the behavioral health and recovery of individuals, families, and our community by providing innovative education to professionals. The curriculum prepares professionals to treat complex and culturally diverse clients in an integrated healthcare team. Emphasizing a person centered, strengths based approach, this program is grounded in evidence-based research. The program empowers students to maintain high standards of excellence while embodying professional values and ethics.
What is a chemical dependency professional?
A chemical dependency professional (CDP) is a professional role certified by the Washington State Department of Health to work with individuals of all ages who are experiencing problems with substance use, abuse, and addiction. CDPs are counselors who provide assessment, counseling, and treatment to individuals, groups and families. They may be working as members of treatment teams in inpatient or outpatient settings, in schools, medical clinics, hospitals, or other community agencies. They have deep knowledge of the effects of psychoactive drugs, legal and ethical considerations, interviewing, and counseling techniques to support clients who are accessing treatment services. CDPs promote recovery by providing client education, advocacy, and prevention services.
Are there additional requirements from the Department of Health for chemical dependency professional credentialing besides educational courses?
Yes. Credentialing includes applying to the Department of Health and meeting their various eligibility requirements. This includes completing supervised experience hours, passing a credentialing exam, and meeting other eligibility requirements including criminal background.
For complete details about chemical dependency professional requirements please review the CDPT and CDP application, as well as contacting the Washington State Department of Health (360-236-4700) or www.doh.wa.gov.
What are the educational requirements of the Department of Health to become a chemical dependency professional?
To become a chemical dependency professional, students must have an associate degree in human services or related field from an approved school or successful completion of ninety quarter or sixty semester college credits in courses from an approved school. At least forty-five quarter or thirty semester credits must be in courses relating to the chemical dependency profession and shall include the topics specific to alcohol and drug addicted individuals, as listed in the WAC 246-811-030. Whatcom Community College’s certificate and degree are designed to meet these educational requirements.
An approved school means any college or university accredited by a national or regional accrediting body, at the time the applicant completed the required education or other educational programs approved by the secretary. Whatcom Community College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The educational requirements for alternative training include 15 quarter credits in topic areas specific to alcohol and drug addicted individuals, as listed in the WAC 246-811-077.
Who oversees credentialing to become a chemical dependency professional?
The Washington State Department of Health accepts and reviews applications for chemical dependency professional trainees (CDPT) and chemical dependency professionals (CDP). We recommend you review the Department of Health website as well as CDPT and CDP applications and contact their office with specific questions.
Can I use previously earned college credits to satisfy the course requirements for either the degree or certificate?
Your transcript will need to be reviewed to determine this. In order to apply credits earned elsewhere toward any degree or certificate, an official transcript from other colleges must be received by the registrar's office and officially evaluated. There is a form within the program application, where you can list previously completed courses that you would like to be evaluated to transfer in to this degree* or certificate*.
*Pending accreditation approval.
Am I eligible for the certificate of proficiency in alternative training?
This 15 credit certificate of proficiency is an entirely online program that is designed for licensed professionals under WAC (246-811-076). These professionals have a masters degree and hold an active license in good standing: advanced registered nurse practitioner, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselor, advanced social worker, independent clinical social worker, psychologist, osteopathic physician, osteopathic physician assistant, physician, or physician assistant.
What life experience or training do I need prior to the chemical dependency professional program?
For the associate in science degree*, there is no specific life experience or training requirements for the chemical dependency professional program. Successful students will have a passion for helping others, strong interpersonal and communication skills, empathy, boundaries, and commitment to professionalism. The certificate* program does require a prior degree.
*Pending accreditation approval.