Licensed Addiction Counselor Information

For BSW and MSW Students at University of Montana

The Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC) credential is offered to those individuals who meet the requirements of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) and the Board of Behavioral Health for licensure. The University of Montana does not grant the credential, but it offers courses that will help to meet the educational requirements of the state of Montana. This license is very valuable and useful to social workers at both BSW and MSW levels of practice, due to the knowledge and skills obtained during the education and training required for practicing in the field of addictions. The following information is provided as a way of helping students considering this credential. Students are also referred to the website of the Department of Labor and Industry for additional details, explanations, requirements, and contacts. Students can begin the process of acquiring this credential while in school, and at graduation can apply for the LAC Eligibility Status (LACE), which when approved by the Board of Behavioral Health, can then begin accumulating the hours of experience also required for licensure. These hours cannot be acquired during school, so the social work practicum hours will not count toward the 1000 required hours, as they are post-degree only.

Montana Board of Behavioral Health Licensing

Importance of the Licensed Addiction Counselor Credential

Because of the scope and impact of substance use disorders (SUD’s)in the overall population, and because the impact of these SUD’s is great for the individuals, their families and their communities, social workers must be knowledgeable about SUD’s and the recovery process. They need to develop skills in the areas of prevention, intervention, and social policy. The credential is essential for those wishing to work in the field of addictions, as it will often be required by agencies, and also because it demonstrates the social worker’s commitment to preparing her/himself for effective practice in this area. Even those not planning to practice primarily in the field of SUD’s, this additional training and knowledge will be very useful in practice because of the prevalence of addiction.

Reasons to Begin the Process of Licensing While Still in School

Although the actual LAC credential is only earned post degree (after a degree is earned), the coursework can begin while students are in the BSW and MSW programs. Students who are strongly interested in this credential are encouraged to learn about the requirements, plan their course of study around required courses, learn about practicum opportunities available in the field, and communicate with their advisor about their questions. Follow these guidelines as you pursue the LAC certification.

  1. “LAC Pathway” presentations are offered each semester for social work students. Every registered BSW/MSW receives an invite thru email. Attend these early in your degree program, to plan courses and signature course assignments that will help you submit a successful application for licensure.
  2. Invest yourself in understanding the Board of Behavioral Health guidelines and application process. Keep all syllabi from courses you will be using to demonstrate to the Board of Behavioral Health that you have acquired the required content areas, specific to SUD skill sets, best practices and specific populations most vulnerable to the impacts of SUD’s.
  3. Your practicum should be in an agency that deals with clients affected by SUD’s. Your practicum hours will not count towards your LAC-E. However, the corresponding Advance Practice for BSW students, and Integrated Seminar for MSW students, will count towards curriculum hours. These classes integrate the foundations of theory and practice. You will utilize the class to integrate, and recognize the differences, in the roles and scope of practice of both social worker and the LAC professional.
  4. Remember that you can also use webinars, in-service training events in your practicum or work site, and online courses from other institutions. Keep all certificates of completion and attendance to prove that you have had this training.
  5. Watch for electives in the School of Social Work or other departments that might be used for your application.
  6. If you have not been able to take all of the sample courses listed below, you can submit courses from other schools or from UM that contain similar content to the required areas.

NOTE: The National Association for Addiction Professionals (NADAAC) offers a low-cost membership for students, and members can take free on-demand webinars on topics that correlate with Board of Behavioral Health requirements. It is good to join this organization while in school and to take webinars while in school to accumulate the contact hours required for licensure. Be sure to print off all certificates of completion, as you will need to provide them with your application for the LACE.

Educational Requirements for the LAC in Montana

Degrees

  1. AA degree in chemical dependency / addiction studies, BSW (or related Bachelor’s degree), or MSW (or related Master’s degree)

Required Addiction Coursework

  1. Specific coursework taken at the University of Montana, at other universities, through approved online courses, in-service training, or webinars.
  2. The following 330 hours of coursework are required in the respective categories (subject to change pending revised requirements).
  3. Portions of various courses will provide specific numbers of hours of education in the required content areas.
  4. To compute the number of contact hours in a course, one credit equals 15 hours of contact.
  5. You can use the same course in more than one category, but the hours claimed cannot exceed the clock hours in that course.

BSW Student LAC Planning Guide

BSW Courses Used to Meet State Requirements:
Approved by the Behavioral Health Licensing Board, Legal Counsel, October, 2018

Addiction Course Content Contact Hours Required UM SW Courses Which Can Meet the State Requirements in Some Combination
Chemical dependency assessment and patient placement (must include chemical dependency assessment, biopsychosocial testing, diagnosis, referrals, and patient placement) 60 Hours

SW 423 Addiction Studies (10) SW 491: SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (15) SW 200 Intro to SW Practice (5) SW 300 HBSE (10) SW 350 SW Intervention Methods I (10) SW 360 SW Intervention Methods II (10)

(60 hours total)

Counseling 90 Hours

SW 200 Intro to SW Practice (10) SW 350 SW Intervention Methods I (15) SW 360 SW Intervention Methods II (15) SW 423 Addiction Studies (5) SW 491 Motivational Interviewing (30) SW 486,487 Advanced Practice Class (15, accompanies 450 hours of practicum with LAC supervision in a SUD treatment setting)

(90 total)

Pharmacology (must include drug classification, effects, detoxification and withdrawal) 30 Hours

PHARM 110 Use and Abuse of Drugs (30)

(30 hours total)

Ethics (ethics for addiction counselors) 15 Hours SW 410 Social Work Ethics (10) SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (5) (15 hours total)
Alcohol and drug studies 30 Hours

SW 423 Addiction Studies (15) PHARM 110 Use and Abuse of Drugs (15)

(30 hours total)

Treatment planning and documentation 30 Hours

SW 423 Addiction Studies (5) SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (10) SW 350 SW Intervention Methods I (15) SW 360 SW Intervention Methods II (5)

(30 hours total)

Multicultural competency (knowledge of and sensitive to the cultural factors and needs of diverse populations and demonstrate competency in applying culturally relevant skills) 15 Hours

SW 464 Cultural Humility in SW: Valuing Diversity (10) SW 495 SUD’s and SW Skill Sets (5)

(15 hours total)

Co-occurring disorders 30 Hours

SW 430 Abnormal Psychology (15) SW 300, HBSE (5) SW 423 Addiction Studies (5) SW 491 SUD’s and Skill Sets (5)

(30 hours total)

Gambling / gaming disorder assessment and counseling 30 hours (20 additional hours required in addition to the courses in the column to the right)

SW 423 Addiction Studies (5) SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (5)

(10 hours total) CEU’s required from approved providers: Montana based trainings, approved online providers (NAADAC)

MSW Student LAC Planning Guide

MSW Courses Used to Meet State Requirements:
Approved by the Behavioral Health Licensing Board, Legal Counsel, October, 2018

NOTE: Undergraduate courses which fit the course content below may also be presented for approval. 

Addiction Course Content Contact Hours Required UM SW Courses Which Can Meet the State Requirements in Some Combination
Chemical dependency assessment and patient placement (must include chemical dependency assessment, biopsychosocial testing, diagnosis, referrals, and patient placement) 60 Hours

SW 515 Individuals/Families (15) SW 511 HBSE (10) SW 535 Advanced Integrated Practice (10) SW 553 Addictions or SW 423 (10) SW 491: SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (15)

(60 hours total)

Counseling 90 Hours

SW 595 Motivational Interviewing (30) SW 550 Theories of Counseling (45) SW 576,577 Integrated Seminar (10) in a SUD clinical practicum setting SW 578,579 Integrated Seminar (10) in a SUD clinical practicum setting

(90 total)

Pharmacology (must include drug classification, effects, detoxification and withdrawal) 30 Hours PHARM 110 Use and Abuse of Drugs (30)
Ethics (ethics for addiction counselors) 15 Hours

SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (5) SW 535 Advanced Integrated Practice (5) SW 530 History SW / Social Justice (5)

(15 hours total)

Alcohol and drug studies 30 Hours

SW 553 Addictions or SW 423 (15) PHARM 110 Use and Abuse of Drugs (15)

(30 hours total)

Treatment planning and documentation 30 Hours

SW 515 Individuals/Families (10) SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (10 SW 535 Advanced Integrated Practice (5) SW 553 or SW 423, Addictions (5)

(30 hours total)

Multicultural competency (knowledge of and sensitive to the cultural factors and needs of diverse populations and demonstrate competency in applying culturally relevant skills) 15 Hours

SW 530 History SW / Social Justice (5) SW 553 or SW 423, Addictions (5) SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (5)

(15 hours total)

Co-occurring disorders 30 Hours

SW 411 HBSE (5) SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (5) SW 553 or SW 423 Addictions (5) SW 552 Psychopathology (15)

(30 hours total)

Gambling / gaming disorder assessment and counseling

30 hours

(15 additional hours required in addition to the courses in the column to the right)

SW 553 or SW 423 Addictions (5) SW 552 Psychopathology (5) SW 491 SUD’s and SW: Skill Sets (5)

(15 hours total)

Additional Required Coursework and Sample Courses that may be Used

  1. You can use the same course in more than one category, but the hours claimed cannot exceed the clock hours in that course.
  2. Other courses taken at UM or elsewhere can also be used if the course covered the content area.
  3. Selected MSW students or LAC-E BSW students, with practicum placement and supervision in a SUD aligned field, may utilize SW 596, Independent Study, to assist with and audit SW 423, while working on and presenting a SW 423 classroom special topics presentation, with combined supervision of Field Supervisor and SW 423 Instructor.
  4. Undergraduate courses can be presented for approval for MSW candidates.
Course College or University Course# Course Title Semester or Quarter Hours Earned
Addiction Studies UM SW 596 MSW Independent Study: T.A. SW 423, Special Topics in Addictions 1-3 (Varies)
Human Behavior, Sociology, Psychology or Similar emphasis (6 semester credits or 9 quarter credits= 90 hours) U of Montana

SW 300

PSYX 100

SOCI 100

Human Behavior in the Social Environment

 

Intro to Psych

 

Intro to Sociology

3 credits (45 hours)

 

3 credits (45 hours)

 

3 credits (45 hours)

Psychopathology or coursework exploring patterns and courses of abnormal or deviant behavior (3 semester credits or 4.5 quarter credits = 45 hours) U of Montana PSYX 340 Abnormal Psychology 3 credits (45 hours)
Group counseling (6 semester credits or 9 quarter credits =90 hours) U of Montana

SW 360

SW486,87

Social Work Intervention Methods II

SW Advance Practice

4 credits (60 hours)

2 credits (4 credits per semester)

Theory of counseling (3 semester credits of 4.5 quarter credits= 45 hours) U of Montana

SW 300

SW 350

SW 360

Social Work
HBSE Intervention Methods I

Social Work Intervention Methods II

3 credits (45 hours) 3 credits

4 credits (60 hours)

(3)Supervised Work Experience

  1. 1000 hours of supervised post-degree work experience in an approved addiction treatment setting
  2. Supervisors must meet the requirements of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry.
  3. Supervisors must provide 80 hours of direct supervision.
  4. Supervision must be provided in DLI-specified areas of practice, found on the LAC website.
  5. Work experience must be obtained in no more than 2 settings and within a specified period of time.
  6. All educational requirements must be met prior to acquiring the hours of work experience. This includes one of the required degrees and all of the required coursework.
  7. An application to the DLI for the Licensed Addiction Counselor Eligible (LACE) status can be made upon completion of the educational requirements. Approval of the LACE status allows individuals to begin accumulating the required hours of supervised work experience.