There has never been a better time to join the substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery field. Professionals in this field are in high demand, and your career will provide vital services to our community.
Providing effective substance use treatment takes a team of professionals who can apply their unique training, skills, and perspectives. One role in this care team is the Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor, or CASAC. A CASAC provides direct clinical services and substance use disorder counseling, and can work in a variety of settings including hospitals and inpatient and outpatient substance use agencies. Their roles include:
- Diagnostic Assessment;
- Referral; and
- Substance Use Disorder counseling in both individual and group settings.
For more information on the CASAC credential, including requirements and applications, visit the New York State Office of Addition Services and Supports (OASAS) Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) webpage: https://oasas.ny.gov/credentialing/alcoholism-and-substance-abuse-counselor-casac
Locally, there are opportunities to become a CASAC!
Suffolk County Community College
Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) offers an Addiction Studies Program, which prepares students for employment or advancement in the field of Addictions Services and Support. Upon completion of the program, graduates will have fulfilled all the educational and internship requirements set forth by OASAS and by the International Credentialing Reciprocity Consortium to become a New York State CASAC. The program also offers the opportunity for students to receive training and support to become a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA). Visit Suffolk County Community College’s Addiction Studies website to learn more about degree programs and options: https://www.sunysuffolk.edu/explore-academics/majors-and-programs/addiction-studies/
The Suffolk County Department of Health has established full scholarships for Suffolk County residents who wish to obtain CASAC certification at OTI, out of the first phase of the Opioid Settlement funds in Suffolk County.
Scholarships will cover the full cost of all coursework for recipients, valued at $5,950 per person. In addition, 40 students will receive paid internships at Outreach, with each receiving a stipend of $1,500.
The Suffolk County Workforce Development Scholarships (SCWDS) scholarships will be targeted at individuals seeking to pursue their CASAC certification and who have demonstrated an interest and passion for helping people in the Suffolk County community. These individuals might be those who work in Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and Office of Mental Health (OMH) programs, human and social service agencies, or at health facilities. They may have been involved in volunteer work in their communities and/or religious, civic, or cultural institutions. They could be individuals in recovery who provide peer-to-peer support to others.
Two programs will be funded, the full 350-clock hour program needed to obtain CASAC certification and a 135-hour program for master’s level social workers, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, creative arts therapists, and psychoanalysts.
Certified Recovery Peer Advocates
Another important role in a care team are peer support workers, who are individuals with lived substance use experience, who have been successful the recovery process. Peer support workers in the substance use treatment and recovery field who have undergone training and certification through the New York Certification Board and the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) are called Certified Recovery Peer Advocates, or CRPAs. To learn more about Certified Peer Recovery Advocates, and how to become certified, visit our Peer Support page.