Continuing Education and Enhancement Plan

This webpage outlines the Continuing Education (CE) requirements for the Substance Use Disorder Professional (SUDP) certification and how to determine which courses will meet the requirements. Please note that SUDP Trainees are not required to take continuing education to obtain or maintain their certification.

What is the purpose of a continuing competency program?

The purpose is to add to the professional know-how of the substance use disorder professional (SUDP). A well-rounded continuing competency program focuses on all aspects of professional practice to make sure SUDPs provide safe and quality care to patients.

The purpose of the professional development activities (PDA) is to broaden the experience that a SUDP may assume to maintain competency.

How many hours of training in suicide assessment must I complete?

Every six years, substance use disorder professionals must complete at least three hours of training in suicide assessment, including screening and referral, as specified in WAC 246-811-280.

How many hours of continuing education must I complete?

Every two years, substance use disorder professionals (SUDP) must complete 28 hours of continuing education (CE); and 12 hours of other PDA for a total of 40 hours. SUDPs must complete an enhancement plan (EP); directions on how to complete the plan, and a copy of the plan are on the Applications and Forms webpage.

At least 14 hours must be done in one or more of the following topic areas:

Understanding addiction. Pharmacological actions of alcohol and other drugs.

  • Substance abuse and addiction treatment methods.
  • Understanding addiction placement, continuing care, and discharge criteria, including American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria.
  • Cultural diversity including people with disabilities and its implication for treatment.
  • Chemical dependency clinical evaluation (screening and referral to include comorbidity).
  • HIV/AIDS brief risk intervention for the chemically dependent. Chemical dependency treatment planning.
  • Referral and use of community resources.
  • Service coordination (implementing the treatment plan, consulting, continuing assessment and treatment planning).
  • Individual counseling. Group counseling.
  • Chemical dependency counseling for families, couples and significant others.
  • Developmental psychology.
  • Psychopathology/abnormal psychology.
  • Documentation, to include, screening, intake, assessment, treatment plan, clinical reports, clinical progress notes, discharge summaries and other client related data.
  • Chemical dependency confidentiality.
  • Professional and ethical responsibilities.
  • Relapse prevention.
  • Adolescent chemical dependency assessment and treatment.
  • Chemical dependency case management.
  • Chemical dependency rules and regulations.

Four hours must be in professional ethics and law. The other 12 hours must be in areas that relate to phase of the SUDP's career and can be obtained through:

  • Practicum.
  • Peer review – serving on a formal peer review panel or committee, or individual review of a sole provider, where the purpose of the review is to decide whether proper treatment was given.
  • Public presentation – preparing and presenting lectures or education that contribute to the professional competence of a SUDP. The SUDP can get the same number of hours obtained for CE purposes by attendees. The hours for presenting a specific topic lecture or education may only be used for CE credit once during each reporting period.
  • Publication of writings.
  • Other activities as determined by the SUDP's supervisor.
How do I fulfill the 12 hours of other professional development activities?

Substance use disorder professionals may get hours through:

  • Practicum
  • Peer review – Serving on a formal peer review panel or committee, or individual review of a sole provider, where the purpose of the review is to determine whether appropriate treatment was rendered.
  • Public presentation – Preparing and presenting lectures or education that contributes to the professional competence of a SUDP. The SUDP may gather the same number of hours obtained for CE purposes by attendees as required in WAC 246-12-220. The hours for presenting a specific topic lecture or education may only be used for CE credit once during each reporting period.
  • Publication of writings.
  • Continuing education – Continuing education hours are in addition to the 28 hours of CE as listed in WAC 246-811-240.
  • Other activities as determined by the substance use disorder professional's supervisor.

All documentation must include the dates the continuing competency activity occurred, and if appropriate, the title of the course, the location of the course and the name of the instructor.

What continuing competency definitions should I know?

Continuing education – A program or course (including distance learning), seminars, or workshops, professional conferences approved by an industry recognized local, state, national, international organization or institution of higher learning.

Professional development activities – Addiction competencies as outlined in WAC 246-811-047.

Industry recognized –Any local, state, national, international organization, or institution of higher learning, including, but not limited to, the following organizations:

  • National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC);
  • National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP);
  • International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC);
  • Northwest Indian alcohol/drug specialist certification board;
  • Chemical dependency counselor certification board;
  • Institutions of higher learning that are accredited by a national or regional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation; or
  • Division of alcohol and substance abuse (DASA).

Distance learning – Industry-recognized education obtained to enhance proficiency in one or more of the professional development activities as outlined in subsection (2) of this section, through sources such as, internet coursework, satellite downlink resources, telecourses, or correspondence courses.

Agency sponsored training – Training provided by an agency that is not limited to people working within that agency and is a professional development activity as outlined in subsection (2) of this section.

In-service training – Training provided by an agency that is limited to people working within that agency and is a professional development activity as outlined in subsection (2) of this section.

Continuing competency enhancement plan – A plan showing the goals the chemical dependency professionals will develop to continue proficiency in their profession. The plan will be based on core competencies as listed in WAC 246-811-047.

What are acceptable programs or courses for continuing education?

WAC 246-811-250 outlines acceptable CE programs.

  • Programs having a featured instructor, speaker(s) or panel that is industry recognized.
  • Distance learning programs.
  • Agency sponsored trainings.
  • Course work at institutions of higher learning that are accredited by a national or regional accrediting body recognized by the commission on recognition of post-secondary accreditation.
  • In-service training programs limited to seven hours per reporting period.
What is acceptable audit documentation for continuing education, professional development activities, and the enhancement plan?

Acceptable documentation must be specific to the program completed and include:

  • Transcripts, letters from course instructors or certificate of completion.
  • Written report by the SUDP explaining how they achieved the competencies in WAC 246-811-047.
  • Signed agreement between parties involved.

Substance use disorder professionals must comply with the requirements of chapter WAC 246-12, part 7.

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