Addiction Counselor Program – Substance Abuse Counselor Training

naadacCity Vision University’s Addiction Counselor program helps students prepare for the addiction counselor certification process in the states where they live.

City Vision University is an Approved Academic Education Provider for NAADAC, the national association for addiction professionals. Learn about the requirements for addiction counselor certification in your state.

The Addiction Counselor program leads to a Bachelor of Science.  To earn the degree the student must earn a total of 120 semester credit hours; a minimum of thirty must be from City Vision University.  A total of thirty hours may come through credit-by-examination or Prior Learning Assessment. There are also 30 hours of General Education required. View our Academic Policies for more information.

The  program focuses on how individuals can avoid addictive substances and behaviors; the methods by which individuals can be treated for various addictions and related behavior problems; and the knowledge and coping skills needed by relatives and friends of addicted individuals. The Addiction Counseling program provides training in the Twelve Core Functions of Substance Abuse Counseling.

To earn the degree, students choose at least 7 of the following core courses:

City Vision University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. DEAC is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

NAADAC’s Approved Academic Education Provider program highlights a continuing education provider’s commitment to quality education and dedication to excellence. The emblem signifies that an organization has voluntarily opened its educational programs to examination by an independent body for content applicability to state and national certification standards and is approved by the National Certification Commission (NCC). This rigorous review process ensures that students receive a consistent, reliable and quality learning experience that is applicable to their careers and advances their understanding of addiction-related issues.

Those participating in programs offered by NAADAC Approved Academic Education Providers are assured that the continuing education credits (CEUs) provided for each course will be accepted toward national credentialing by the NCC, as well as many of the individual state licensing/certification bodies.

About Addiction Counselor Certification

1. What is the Certified Addiction Counselor credential?
2. Why did you partner with an outside organization to develop the program?
3. What is the NET Training Institute?
4, Who are Charles and Jean LaCour?

1. What is the Certified Addiction Counselor credential? How does it benefit staff at addiction recovery organizations and ministries?

A. Introducing the CAC – The CAC is the professional credential that is the standard for individuals working with addicts and alcoholics in hospitals, treatment centers and other agencies.  It is awarded through a peer review process and is administered by independent agencies in all fifty states of the US.  The CAC is based on experience and the ability to demonstrate the most important skills of addiction counseling.  No specific college degree is required.

B. Benefits for the Recovery Worker – Pursuing of the CAC can be a rewarding  professional development experience.  Besides displaying competence in the Twelve Core Functions of the Substance Abuse Counselor, credentialing bodies also require a certain number of hours in formal education in the substance abuse and counseling fields.  City Vision University courses can be used toward picking up these required educational hours.   Additionally, the process requires a specified number of supervised hours, where the individual works with an experienced addiction counselor.

C. Benefits for recovery organizations and ministries –The key to an effective program is staffing it with qualified people.  Urban ministries tend to hire people with biblical and theological training.  A growing number have also recognized the importance of having staff members who are competent in the area of substance abuse counseling. Hiring individuals who possess the CAC means bringing in people with a combination of experience and demonstrated competence in the field of addiction counseling.  It can also help when seeking financial support from private foundations and governmental funding sources.  Other agencies and ministries that recognize the value of the CAC are also more likely to refer clients to the program.  Having current staff members become involved in the pursuit of the CAC is a great way to equip them by obtaining useful skills and a professional approach to their work.

D. The Twelve Core Functions – Though administered by different bodies in the various states, there is movement in the area of reciprocity, allowing the credential granted by one state to be transferred to another if the counselor moves.  This has been accomplished through the near universal acceptance of the “Twelve Core Functions” in which the counselor seeking the CAC must be able to demonstrate competence. For a full description of the Twelve Core Functions, click here.

These skills are defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in a publication often known as TAP 21. This is a Technical Assistance Publication entitled Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice.

After you receive a BS in Addiction Counseling from City Vision University, you will still need to follow the steps necessary to get licensed by your state’s accreditation board. Most states require at least 180 hours of training (the equivalent of 2 courses) to satisfy the instructional requirement for licensure; typically you will simply need to supply a transcript of completed coursework, and, at most, the syllabi of the courses which you took.

City Vision  cannot guarantee that our program will meet the licensing standards of all states.  Please check with the requirements of your state. Send an email to if you need assistance with this process.

Note that if you have already completed an initial course of study in addiction counseling, any of the courses listed below should count as 45 CEUs (continuing education credits), since each provides 3 academic credits. Most states require 40 CEUs every two years, though some require the ethics course in person.

TAP21 outlines Eight Areas of Competency and Twelve Core Functions for the addiction counselor, which are briefly defined here.

If you have any questions about these matters, please feel free to contact us at (816) 960-2008 or by email at

2. Why did you partner with an outside organization to develop the program?

As we looked at the need, the expense and time involved in developing courses from scratch, we decided to work with an existing curriculum that could be adapted to the online format of City Vision University. The NET Institute of Orlando, Florida, was a logical choice. They had a series of 27 self-study courses to train Christian addiction counselors. The short courses were already approved by the National Association for Addiction Counselors to provide 5-15 hours of continuing education units each. The City Vision University Addiction Counseling program combines these courses into nine three-credit courses focusing on addiction and dual diagnosis and includes additional materials, both ones developed with the staff of the NET Institute and by our own staff.

3. What is the NET Training Institute?

The NET Training Institute, founded in 1996 by Charles and Jean LaCour, was created to meet the training needs of the Florida Network on Addictions, a grassroots fellowship of Christian lay ministries helping alcoholics, drug addicts and their families, prisoners and ex-offenders, the homeless and church members struggling with life-controlling problems. The acronym NET stands for nurture, equip and train. Since its inception, the NET Institute has trained over 1,500 students from North American, Asia, Europe and South America.

4. Who are Charles and Jean LaCour?

The LaCours’ passion to nurture, equip and train Christians to serve the needs of hurting people is fueled by their own firsthand experience of God’s power to save people from addicted and dysfunctional lifestyles. In her search for fulfillment, Jean was once involved in the hippie way of life that eventually left her broken and realizing her need of Christ. Charles forfeited his successful career in South Florida’s hotel industry before he found salvation and recovery.

Dr. Jean LaCour has led the way in networking with a cadre of faith-based instructors and leaders who worked to develop five diploma programs and over 350 hours of addiction, recovery and ministry curricula. She holds a doctorate in counseling psychology from Cornerstone University and is both a licensed clinical pastoral counselor and a certified addiction prevention professional. She has served on the federal government’s SAMHSA steering committee for its Partners for Recovery Initiative and on the leadership council of the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition whose members come from over 30 nations. She currently serves as faith-based coordinator for the Access to Recovery Program under the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Charles LaCour has an extensive background in business, real estate and community service, including service as past president of both the Daytona Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and the Daytona Beach Hotel/Motel Association. Charles is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a degree in mathematics and has training from the International Seminary in Central Florida. He is also a graduate of Leadership Daytona and the prestigious Leadership Florida sponsored by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Charles holds the Certified Addiction Professional credential in the State of Florida.