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Associate Addiction Counsellor (AAC)

The impact of alcoholism and drug addiction on individuals, families, and society has motivated many to commit themselves to train and assist those who seek help to recover.

These professional people realize that chemical addiction leads to a degenerate state affecting the physical, social, spiritual, and psychological condition of a person.

The CCPC provides the opportunity for all competent workers in the field of addiction and related fields, to be an Associate and recognized as Professional Addiction/Gambling Counsellors and Supervisors.

The Associate Addiction Counsellor (AAC) certificate will be issued to those who apply and are approved by the CCPC Examining Board.

General Requirements

The CCPC has set the following standards for the counselling skills portion of the certification process:
The counsellor should have the knowledge and skill required to draw from counselling styles and techniques that are backed by an evidence-base. It should include an understanding of human development and an understanding of a wide range of approaches, skills, and practices relating to the treatment of alcohol and other drugs. See Core Competencies section for detailed skills.

Purpose of Certification

The purpose of Certification for the Associate Addiction Counsellor (AAC) is to recognize, by way of the certification process, those who have acquired a minimal level of training, skills, and effectiveness as an Addiction Counsellor.
The AAC credentials are extended to individuals indicating the minimum skill level reached but who have not yet obtained the necessary qualifications to become a Certified Addiction Counsellor II (CAC II).
The CCPC encourages everyone having the required qualifications to apply regardless of age, race, nationality, religion, sex, or disability.

Who may be certified?

Any person may apply for credentials as an Associate Addiction Counsellor (AAC). However, he or she must be able to meet the Standards Criteria for education and experience set by the CCPC Examining Board.
The application process provides the opportunity for the applicant to demonstrate adequate skill, knowledge, and competence as an addiction counsellor.

Experience Required

The CCPC has the experience portion of the certification process:
Experience is defined as supervised work, paid or voluntary, working directly with clients who have a primary problem of alcoholism and/or drug addiction.
Formal education or unsupervised work experience may NOT be substituted for the experience requirement. All experience must be documented.
The applicant must have a minimum of 500 hours practical experience in the addiction field providing direct, supervised counselling services to clients working at the Core Competencies stage of a counsellor.
Volunteer, part-time or placement hours may be acceptable providing it was under direct supervision. Actual time spent in a supervised alcoholism or drug addiction internship or in a human service setting may be applied toward your required hours.
Calculating Your Counselling Hours
On the application form, applicants must break out how they have obtained their required hours i.e. For each position held provide the (X # hours per week per job) x (X weeks per year) x (X # years).

Education Required

The CCPC has set the following standards for the Education part of the certification process:
Education is defined as formal classroom education (workshops, seminars, institutes, in-services, and college or university work) in the addiction field. Education must be related to the base of knowledge and skills associated with counsellor Core
Competencies. All education must be documented.
An applicant applying for certification must have a minimum of 100 hours and one half of the courses completed in the area of Core Competencies. Photocopies of any transcripts, diplomas or certificates for courses taken are required to be submitted with the application. ‘=
After a person has been certified, it is expected that they will continue to attend workshops, seminars, and courses to keep abreast with new developments and maintain a high standard of professional competence in the addiction field.

Core Competencies

There are a number of basic Core Competencies which are required. The CCPC expects that these Core Competencies will be the minimum requirements for certification.
1. Assessment

Techniques, Tools and Procedures

A basic knowledge and skill is required in the area of screening and assessing for substance use, abuse, and dependence through the use of appropriate screening and assessment tools.

2. Treatment

Treatment Planning

Basic knowledge and skills are required to participate effectively in a collaborative process that seeks to identify the client’s goals derived from the assessment findings and match the client to appropriate treatment.

Family & Social Supports

Knowledge and skill is required to work effectively with family members and concerned others in order to support treatment goals and effectively address the impact of the client’s substance use on family and social groups.

Group Facilitation

Knowledge and skill is required to develop and implement research-informed models, methods and strategies when working in a group treatment setting. This requires understanding of how to manage group dynamics in order to motivate and engage participants in the group process.


Knowledge and skill is required to work cooperatively with others as part of a team comprised of colleagues within the field of substance abuse or allied professionals from other sectors.


Knowledge of the tools, techniques and skills are required to design and deliver outreach services within the community.


Knowledge and skill is required to design and deliver prevention programming and services in the community.

Cultural Awareness

The applicant taking this course should have the knowledge of aboriginal peoples and other populations as well as the consideration and respect for the historical and textual factors that face the customs, values, norms, and community practices of that culture.

Program Development, Implementation and Evaluation – (elective)

The applicant taking this course should have the knowledge and skill required to develop a new program or modify an existing program, oversee its implementation and evaluate program effectiveness in meeting the core goals and objectives.

3. Counselling Skills

The counsellor should have the knowledge and skill required to draw from counselling styles and techniques that are backed by an evidence-base. It should include an understanding of human development and an understanding of a wide range of approaches, skills, and practices relating to the treatment of alcohol and other drugs.

Interviewing Approaches and Techniques

Knowledge and skill is required to use effective interviewing techniques to gather relevant and complete information to make informed observations and recommendations.

Conflict Management

Knowledge and skill is required to manage and bring an effective resolution to differences between parties using a variety of appropriate approaches and techniques.

Crisis Intervention

Knowledge and skill is required to recognize and respond to a client in crisis.

4. Relapse Prevention

Knowledge and skill is required to provide the appropriate information and techniques to clients to guide them in relapse prevention.

5. Case Management

Knowledge and skill is required to advocate on behalf of and guide the client through the barriers to service by coordinating and evaluating services available. This involves matching clients with the most appropriate available services.

6. Pharmacology

A working knowledge is required of the range and types of substances and their effect on functioning.

7. Drug/Alcohol Abuse

Factors and sources of Substance Use, Abuse, and Dependency

The applicant must have knowledge about the continuum of substance use, abuse, and dependency and the various factors that advance or deter progression along the continuum.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) has developed a comprehensive set of competencies entitled “Competencies for Canada’s Substance Abuse Workers”. The competencies are a tool for obtaining a high level of learning utilizing their competencies. It is recognized that this is an expanded approach to the Core Competencies that the CCPC </em
presently utilizes in its Manuals. It should be noted that the publication of the CCSA Competencies does not affect the status of those who have been or will be certified through the CCPC. CCPC Core competencies will be reviewed and updated if required. For more information on the CCSA competencies, go to and look for the competencies
under the above indicated title.

Professional Responsibilities

The applicant must:

  • Adhere to the established code of ethics and professionalism which holds them accountable for ethical behaviour and professionalism in their relationships with clients, colleagues and external partners;
  • Maintain federal, provincial and agency regulations concerning addictions by following proper procedures to preserve the client’s rights;
  • Set up and maintain a program of self-assessment of professional conduct (strength and weakness) using ethical and legal standards; and
  • Continue the process of professional growth and development by assessing one’s training needs and obtaining the necessary education.

Professional References

All applications must be accompanied by two professional references. All references are for the purpose of assisting the CCPC Examining Board make a fair and complete evaluation of the competency of the applicant.
All references are treated with strict professional confidentiality.
They should be addressed to CCPC Global and included with the application under confidential cover. These two current written references should include the following information concerning the applicant:

1) How does the applicant demonstrate self control?
2) How has the applicant demonstrated reliability?
3) Show how honesty is a part of the applicant’s personal/professional conduct.
4) Give examples of the applicant’s ability to work with others.
5) How informed is the applicant about the Addiction field.
6) Comment on the communication skills of the applicant.
7) Comment on the applicant’s ethical (professional) conduct.

The CCPC reserves the right to request additional information if required.

Supervisor Letter and Evaluation

All applications must be accompanied by a completed Supervisor Evaluation and a letter from your current supervisor on employer letterhead. The letter should confirm your position title, length of time in position, and number of hours of work
experience as outlined in the Experience section of the Manual.

Keep a Record of your Application

It is recommended that all applicants maintain a personal file for their records. This file should contain copies of all of the following documents: the completed application; all past and current training-related transcripts, diplomas, and certificates; and a record of hours worked both in education and training and in work experience. The CCPC performs periodic checks of those certifications which require continual training or minimum hours worked.

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying for this certification, please go to the manuals tab and download a copy of the AAC Manual or simply CLICK HERE and follow the steps. If you need more help or direction, contact us.

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