Substance Use Disorder Professional - Frequently Asked Questions

Senate Bill 6228 Fee Cap Information

Fees are Changing for Substance Use Disorder Professionals (SUDP)

The recent passage of Senate Bill 6228 (PDF) includes a temporary cap of $100 for certification and renewal fees for all individuals seeking certification as a substance use disorder professional (SUDP) or trainee. The definition of a SUDP or SUDP trainee is defined by the Washington State Legislature in RCW 18.205.

This means that between July 1, 2024, and July 1, 2025, Washington state cannot impose any certification or certification renewal fees of more than $100

When will the fee changes from Senate Bill 6228 take effect?

The $100 fee cap will go into effect for all SUDP applications and renewals due on or after July 1, 2024. This fee cap is guaranteed through June 30, 2025 (one year).

How does the fee cap program work?

Senate Bill 6228 includes a temporary $100 fee cap on SUDP application and renewal fees that is valid for the next five years, between July 1, 2024, and July 1, 2029. However, Washington state has only received funding to support the fee cap for the first year. This means that after June 30, 2025, our state will need to secure additional funds to cover this program. If additional funding is not secured, all SUDP application and renewal fees will return to the original amounts that they were before July 1, 2024.

Are ancillary fees changing too?

Yes, all fees over $100 listed in WAC 246-811-990 will reduce to $100 for the duration of the fee cap. Fees that are currently less than $100 will remain the same. 

My SUDP license expires in June 2024. If I wait to renew until July 1, will I pay the reduced fee?

The fee cap applies when renewal fees are charged: i.e. at time of renewal. Waiting to renew until after July 1st will not change the amount that was charged at the date of license renewal. 

I had my SUDP certification a few years ago, but I stopped renewing it. Will I only have to pay $100 to reinstate my certification?

While the renewal fee will only be $100, a certification that has expired for more than one year will be subject to the late fee ($100) and expired reissuance fee ($100), so the total cost will be $300 for an expired renewal. 

Where can I find Emergency Rules?

Under House Bill 1724, the department is required to file emergency rules to implement recommendations to reduce barriers to entering and remaining in the behavioral health workforce. The department filed emergency rules (PDF) for the substance use disorder professionals WAC chapter on June 4, 2024. These emergency rules are linked on the SUDP Website, and can be found below. 

SUDP Emergency Rules  (PDF)

How do changes to the Uniform Disciplinary Act affect substance use disorder professionals?

RCW 18.130.175 and RCW 43.43.84 were modified to reduce barriers to licensure for substance use disorder professionals. These changes apply only to applicants for the substance use professional certification.

  • Applicants with one year in recovery from a substance use disorder are not required to enter a monitoring program. Applicants with less than one year may be required to be in a monitoring program only until they achieve one year in recovery.
  • Applicants convicted of a crime identified in RCW 43.43.842 cannot be automatically denied if:
    • One year has passed since the conviction;
    • The offense was committed as a result of their substance use or untreated mental health symptom; and
    • They are at least one in year in recovery from their substance use disorder or in recovery for mental health challenges.
What is the alternative training pathway to certification?

It's for people with one or more of the following Washington state credentials. The credential must be active and in good standing.

  • Licensed advanced registered nurse practitioners
  • Licensed marriage and family therapists
  • Licensed mental health counselors
  • Licensed advanced social workers
  • Licensed independent clinical social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Osteopathic physicians
  • Osteopathic physician assistants
  • Physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Pharmacists

The alternative pathway includes:

  • Fifteen quarter or 10 semester hours of education in specific topics from an approved school.
  • One thousand hours of experience while under the supervision of a SUDP.
  • Practitioners with specified national certifications (e.g., American Society of Addiction Medicine or American Board of Addiction Medicine) may meet the SUDP educational or experience requirements.
What exam should I take?

The National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) level one or higher is the approved examination in Washington State. Also the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC), either the Alcohol Drug Counselor (ADC), or the Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor (AADC) exam is accepted for certification. Note the ICRC exam is not available in Washington State, however it is eligible for individuals licensed in other states where this exam may be required.

What is direct supervision?

Direct supervision means the supervisor is on the premises and available for immediate consultation.

I'm a substance use disorder professional trainee (SUDPT). My renewal and application require me to be currently enrolled in an approved school or apprenticeship program. What does this mean?

Currently enrolled means active, current participation in an approved school or apprenticeship program and progressing toward the completion of the course work, or completion of the coursework to be certified as a substance use disorder professional as describe in WAC 246-811-030(2)(a) through (w).

How many supervisees can be included in an individual formal meeting?

An individual formal meeting must have an approved supervisor and no more than four supervisees.

What are considered substance use disorder related fields?

Related fields include: health education, behavioral science, sociology, psychology, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, social work, psychiatry, nursing, divinity, criminal justice, and counseling education.

I have a master's degree; will I automatically meet the educational requirements for my substance use disorder professional credential?

No, you must review WAC 246-811-030 to review the educational requirements. You must have at least an associate's degree in a related field from an approved school. Of the total education you must have completed at least 45 quarter credit or 30 semester credits of courses related to the substance use disorder profession and must include the topics listed in WAC 246-811-030(2)(a) through (w).

If you have earned an associate degree or higher in Addiction Studies or Substance Use Disorder Counseling, the department considers you to meet the education requirements of WAC 246-811-030.

How many years is my SUDPT credential valid?

The trainee credential is valid for one year and must be renewed every year on the date of issuance. Prior to July 1, 2024, there was a four-time limit on how many times a trainee credential could be renewed. However, this limitation was eliminated in House Bill 2247 (PDF)

Is there a limit on the age of the experience gained when applying for my substance use disorder professional certification?

No. The department will accept experience in the field of substance use disorder treatment provided it is submitted on the required documentation.

Does the accumulation of experience have to be consecutive?

No. You do not have to accumulate the hours consecutively. Experience that can count towards the certification must meet the requirements outlined in WAC 246-811-046 thru WAC 246-811-049.

How many hours of experience are required for certification as a substance use disorder professional?

You must complete 1,000 to 2,500 hours of supervised experience depending upon your formal education. Please review WAC 246-811-046 and 246-811-047 for more detailed information.

How much of the supervised experience must be under the supervision of an approved supervisor as defined in WAC 246-811-049?

All of the experience must be under the supervision of an approved supervisor.

What services may a SUDPT provide?

A substance use disorder professional trainee may provide substance use disorder assessment, counseling, and case management to patients consistent with his or her education, training, and experience as documented by the approved supervisor.

Do any of the experience hours have to be under the direct supervision of an approved supervisor?

Yes, the supervisor must be available for immediate consultation, either remotely or in person, while the trainee is under supervision. The first 50 hours of any face-to-face patient contact must be under the direct observation, and within sight and hearing, of an approved supervisor or a substance use disorder professional.

The approved supervisor or designated certified substance use disorder professional must provide direct supervision (defined as available for immediate consultation, either remotely or on site) when a substance use disorder professional trainee (SUDPT) is providing clinical services to patients.

Does the approved supervisor have to be on site when an SUDPT provides services?

Prior to June 4, 2024, approved supervisors were required to be on site and available for consultation whenever an SUDPT was providing services. Due to rule changes filed on June 4, 2024 (PDF), this requirement was adjusted to accommodate the evolving needs of the substance use disorder workforce. 

The first 50 hours of SUDPT direct client contact must be under the direct observation (within sight and hearing) of an approved supervisor. Thereafter, direct supervision from approved supervisors may take place either remotely or in-person, provided the approved supervisor is always available for immediate consultation when a SUDPT is providing services.

Do substance use disorder professionals and substance use disorder professional trainees have to provide clients with disclosure information?

Yes, WAC 246-811-090 requires that substance use disorder professionals and substance use disorder professional trainees must provide disclosure to each client before the delivery of certified services.

What information do I have to include in my disclosure statement?

WAC 246-811-100 details the disclosure statement requirements.

I'm a substance use disorder professional trainee or substance use disorder professional. Do I also need to have the agency-affiliated counselor credential?

People credentialed as a substance use disorder professionals (SUDP) would be exempt from obtaining an additional credential, if they're employing the core competencies of substance use disorder counseling to assist or attempt to assist individuals with substance use disorder in their recovery.

Core competencies of substance use counseling means competency in the nationally recognized knowledge, skills, and attitudes of professional practice, including assessment and diagnosis of substance use disorders, substance use disorder treatment planning and referral, patient and family education in the disease of substance use disorders, individual and group counseling, relapse prevention counseling, and case management, all oriented to assist individuals with substance use disorder in their recovery.

SUDPs practicing only as defined above don't need to obtain an additional credential.

However, SUDPs providing co-occurring treatment services would need to obtain another counseling credential as well.

I'm licensed as a provider in another state. Does that license transfer to Washington State?

The department has three pathways for out of state credential holders to obtain their WA State SUDP certification. 

  1. National Certification. Qualified applicants who are nationally certified through NAADAC or ICRC are considered to meet the education, experience, and examination requirements of WAC 246-811. If you are nationally certified in addition to being licensed in another state, you may qualify for this pathway. 
  2. Out of State Substantial Equivalency (House Bill 1724, section 8). Under RCW 18.130.077, qualified applicants whose state licensing standards are evaluated by the department to be substantially equivalent to Washington State’s may apply for licensure under WAC 246-811-310 (PDF). Check this list to see if your state qualifies (PDF).
  3. Out of State Scope Reciprocity (Senate Bill 5054). See this list to determine if your credential scope is substantially equivalent. If your credential is substantially equivalent, you're not required to complete the examination. You must apply to get a license in Washington State.
How do I apply for Reciprocity as a Substance Use Disorder Professional from another state?

Washington State recognizes substantial equivalency of substance use disorder professionals from other states, based on (1.) scope of practice and (2.) licensing standards.

  1. Scope: If the state where you are currently or have held a license in the past twelve months, has been determined by the department as substantially equivalent, you can apply for a temporary probationary license to work as a Washington State substance use disorder professional through the reciprocity program. The applicant must not have a disciplinary history or disqualifying criminal history to apply for reciprocity and can only work within approved agencies.
  2. Licensing Standards: If the state where you are currently or have held a license in the past 24 months has been evaluated by the department as substantially equivalent, and you qualify under RCW 18.130.077, you can apply for a Washington State SUDP credential. Applicants must not have disciplinary history or disqualifying criminal history. 
How do I determine if my state is equivalent?

The Department maintains a list of approved states that are eligible to apply for a probationary license. This list can be found on the Substance Use Disorder Professionals License Requirements page.

What is the probationary license and how does it work?

The probationary license is a temporary credential issued to an individual who is licensed in another state and applies for reciprocity in Washington. The license is issued for one year and can be renewed one time for another year. The purpose of the probationary license is to allow the holder to seek and accept employment opportunities while the department assess the gap in licensure requirements. Within the time limits provided by the probationary license, applicants will need to meet the full licensure requirements, as a substance use disorder professional or, depending on education level and licensure requirements, consider other available licensure options.

Additionally, anyone who is working under a probationary license can only practice as a Substance Use Disorder Professional in a licensed or certified service provider as defined in RCW 71.24.025

"Licensed or certified service provider" means an entity licensed or certified according to this chapter or chapter 71.05 RCW or an entity deemed to meet state minimum standards as a result of accreditation by a recognized behavioral health accrediting body recognized and having a current agreement with the department, or tribal attestation that meets state minimum standards, or persons licensed under chapter 18.57, 18.57A, 18.71, 18.71A, 18.83, or 18.79 RCW, as it applies to registered nurses and advanced registered nurse practitioners.

Should I apply for the probationary license, the full Substance Use Disorder Professional credential, or the Substance Use Disorder Professional Trainee credential?

Applicants are encouraged to look closely at the licensure requirements, assess professional goals, and determine the best option. The probationary license or trainee credential will typically be the best option if you do not meet all education requirements, post-graduation supervised experience requirements, and/or need time to prepare for and take the approved examination. And, if the professional goal is to work within an approved agency (a licensed or certified service provider as defined in RCW 71.24.025). Depending on where you are relocating from, testing may be the only need or you could meet full licensure requirements.  Contact the program manager with specific questions.

Do I need to provide proof of my supervised experience to obtain licensure in Washington?

Per WAC 246-811-045, if you have been fully licensed, in good standing, and without a disqualifying criminal history in another state for at least one year, the department does not require you to provide proof of supervision hours. If you have been licensed for less than one year, or if you have disciplinary or criminal history, within the past 5 years, then you will be required to have your previous supervisor(s) sign our forms to verify your supervised experience. If you are a substance use disorder professional trainee you must submit your supervised hours to obtain full licensure.

What are the requirements to be a substance use disorder professional approved supervisor?

The requirements to be an approved supervisor are spelled out in WAC 246-811-049 and were updated in June 2024 to implement recommendations to reduce barriers to entering and remaining in the behavioral health workforce. See the Rules in Progress page for full details on these rule changes.

The supervisor must be a licensed Substance Use Disorder Professional (SUDP) and have one year of experience working as a fully certified SUDP in Washington State, whose credential is not subject to ongoing disciplinary action or restrictions. Out of state experience must be under a supervisor who meets the requirements for licensure and is eligible to take the exam. Please note that you must be licensed as an SUDP to practice in the state of Washington, and you need to be able to legally practice to be an approved supervisor.

Under emergency rule changes in June 2024, there is no longer an option to reduce the amount of experience hours required to be an approved supervisor for SUDPs. All SUDP approved supervisors are encouraged to utilize available supervisor training before taking on this responsibility, but these trainings will not reduce the amount of time that an SUDP must be certified in order to become an approved supervisor.

Additionally, the previous requirements in WAC 246-809-049 are still in effect. The Approved Supervisor must be able to attest to their qualifications and sign the Verification of Supervision Experience and Statement of Qualifications form.

How can you obtain a SUDP credential through an apprenticeship program?

Apprenticeships are now an approved option for gaining the necessary education and experience to become a SUDP. Apprenticeship programs are administered and approved by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). 

Apprenticeships combine the education and experience into a comprehensive program where you can work while you learn. All SUDP apprentices must be approved to enter the apprenticeship by L&I and credentialed as an SUDP Trainee by DOH. Apprentices must work in a state-regulated SUD agency as a SUDP Trainee under the supervision of an approved supervisor. While apprenticeships may have educational programs that are not college coursework, the experience and examination requirements are the same for all SUDP Trainees.

Apprentices must meet the requirements in WAC 246-811-050 to obtain certification as an SUDP:

  • Complete 450 hours of Related/Supplemental Instruction (RSI) provided by a competent instructor in an approved and registered apprenticeship program.
  • Complete 2,500 hours of supervised experience as an SUDP Trainee as required in WAC 246-811-047 and WAC 246-811-050
  • Pass the NAADAC National Certification Examination. WAC 246-811-060.

Another notable difference between an apprenticeship program and college coursework is that the apprenticeship training isn’t transferrable the way college courses are. You must complete the entire apprenticeship program to receive credit for the education, you cannot switch to another program or substitute college coursework to meet requirements. Apprenticeship programs are typically two-years long.
While an apprenticeship program is an option to obtain the SUDP certification in Washington State, the department cannot speak to its portability for use in other states. Each state sets their own requirements for a credential and completion of an apprenticeship may not meet their educational requirements.

How does an organization apply to become an approved apprenticeship program?

Apprenticeship programs are administered and approved by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), however DOH must approve the educational component of the program to ensure it meets the requirements for certification.  Apprenticeships must meet all the specific educational requirements in WAC 246-811-030 (2)(a)-(w) and provide experience hours for SUDP Trainees working in a licensed SUD agency under the supervision of an approved supervisor.

To have the department review the related/supplemental instruction (RSI) of a potential apprenticeship program, the organization will need to complete the following:

  • Complete the L&I apprenticeship application process.
  • Contact the Department of Health and submit the completed L&I application for review by the SUD Certification Advisory Committee.  
  • The organization must present the application to the committee at an official meeting or a special meeting for review. 
  • The department will act on the request within 90 days, which may include making changes to the related/supplemental instruction (RSI) or approving the request. 
  • After DOH approves the related/supplemental instruction (RSI) component of the application, the organization can move forward to apply for approval from L&I.