Master Addiction Counselor Study Guide

This is a certification exam for professionals who want to
be credentialed and nationally recognized for their work with Substance Use
Disorder/Addiction-related disciplines. This exam will prove that you have the
skills, knowledge, and abilities to succeed and provide a standard of
excellence and quality care to your clients. It is developed and maintained by
the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals or NCC AP, as
a part of the NAADAC or Association for Addiction Professionals.

Who is Eligible?

All candidates must have:

An official Master’s degree transcript from a regionally accredited institution

  • Proof of a current credential or license as a Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counselor or Professional Counselor issued by your state or credentialing authority
  • Written verification by a supervisor or other health care professional who has personally observed your work in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction
  • Proof of at least three years of full-time or 6000 hours of supervised Substance Use Disorder/Addiction counseling experience
  • Proof of at least 500 contact hours of education and training in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction with at least 50% of that being face to face. This must include at least six hours of ethics training and HIV/other pathogens training in the last six years.
  • Signed statement of agreement to the NAADAC/NCC AP Code of Ethics

There is a credential fee of $235 for this exam. This is due at the time of application. Other fees may apply depending on your state or local licensing board.

When and Where is it Taken?

This exam is available at multiple Kryterion Testing Network locations worldwide and year-round. Most sites are open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 4 pm.

Choose a date, time, and place that works best for you. However, it is suggested that you schedule your exam as soon as possible as seating and space are limited and are filled on a first come, first served basis.

If you need to reschedule or cancel your scheduled exam, you will need to contact the NAADAC/NCC AP or Kryterion. If you wait until the last 72 before your original scheduled time to do, you will be charged an additional fee.

If you are in need of special accommodations due to a disability, these are available upon request. You will need to submit supporting documentation for approval.

Once you have scheduled your exam, you will be sent a confirmation email including your chosen place, time, and date as well as a unique Test Taker Authorization Code. You will need this code to begin your exam at the testing center so be sure you do not delete this email.

What Do I Need?

You should plan on arriving early for your exam appointment. You will need to complete a check-in process before you are allowed to begin and you don’t want to be late. Those who are late will not be allowed to enter the testing area.

You will be required to provide two current and valid forms of identification along with your Test Taker Authorization Code from your confirmation email. These IDs must contain your signature and full name as it appears on your application information. At least one of these must also include a recent and recognizable photo.

If either of your IDs contains missing or incorrect information, you may be asked to provide another one or asked to leave the testing center without being able to take the exam.

No other personal belongings are allowed in the testing area, and the testing center is not responsible for any of your items. If anything is brought with you, it must be placed in a separate, designated space away from the testing room. These items include but are not limited to the following:

  • Cell phones
  • Calculators
  • Bags, purses, or wallets
  • Books, paper, or study materials
  • Food and/or drinks
  • Hats, coats, or any outerwear
  • Weapons or firearms

What is Covered?

This exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions broken into four main sections. You will be given a total of three hours to complete the entire exam.

Below is a brief description of each section including the amount of weight it is given.

Pharmacology of psychoactive substances (28%)

Ingredients/contents of substances

Professional issues related to Substance Use Disorder treatment (28%)

Documentation, case management, discharge and continuing care, legal, ethical, and professional growth issues,

Counseling Practice (24%)

Client education, crisis intervention, individual, group, and family counseling, ongoing treatment planning, clinical assessment, screening, intake, and orientation for treatment admission

Co-occurring disorders (20%)

Disorders that co-exist with or affect substance use

How is it Scored?

When you finish the exam, you will automatically receive an email including your unofficial score report. An official score report will be sent to any board that was indicated on your application shortly after you take the exam. Reports are sent by email every two weeks.

If you would like an official score report, you may request one by contacting the NCC AP for no charge within the first two months of your exam date.

If you fail this exam, you may retake it by re-registering and submitting a new fee. This exam can only be taken three times per each calendar year.

Successful completion of this exam will earn you the credentials MAC for a period of two years. After which you will need to renew your certification to continue using those credentials and practicing as such. There are a renewal application and fee that must be submitted and at least 40 hours of continuing education completed.

How Can I Prepare for the Master Addiction Counselor Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023