Substance Abuse Counseling

Mercer University’s Substance Abuse Counseling certificate provides the education and skills needed to counsel those suffering from alcohol and drug abuse. Participants can complete the requirements to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor I (CADC I) or Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADC II) in six months. The program curriculum also meets the requirements of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia.


The substance abuse counseling certification program provides more than 300 hours of online instruction. The program covers the 12 counselor core functions below:

  1. Screening: Determines a client’s eligibility for admission to a particular program
  2. Intake: Refers to the administrative and initial assessment procedures for admission to a program
  3. Orientation: Introduces the client to the program by outlining:
    • The general nature and goals of the program
    • Rules governing client conduct
    • Infractions that can lead to disciplinary action or discharge from the program
    • The hours during which various services are available
    • The patient’s schedule
    • Any treatment costs the client might incur
    • The client’s rights
  4. Assessment: How a counselor identifies and evaluates an individual’s strengths, weaknesses, problems, and needs to develop a treatment plan
  5. Treatment Planning: The process by which the counselor and client identify and rank problems needing resolution, establish agreed upon immediate and long term goals, and decide on the treatment methods and resources required
  6. Counseling: Assisting individuals, families, or groups in achieving objectives through exploration of a problem and its ramifications, examination of attitudes and feelings, consideration of alternative solutions, and decision making
  7. Case Management: Activities which bring services, agencies, resources, or people together within a planned framework of action to achieve established goals
  8. Crisis Intervention: Those services which respond to an alcohol and/or drug abuser’s needs during acute emotional and/or physical distress
  9. Client Education: Providing information, services, and resources concerning alcohol and other drug abuse to individuals and groups
  10. Referral: Helping the client to identify and access other community resources and services where the counselor or agency cannot provide the support required
  11. Reports and Record Keeping: Charting the results of the assessment and treatment plan, and writing reports, progress notes, discharge summaries, and other client-related data
  12. Consultation: Conferring with counselors and other professionals regarding client treatment and services to ensure comprehensive, quality care for the client