NCAC I and NCAC II Exams

The National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I and Level II (NCAC I and NCAC II) examinations verify the skills and work experience of professionals working in Substance Use Disorders/Addiction-related disciplines. In addition to distinguishing yourself as a competent professional committed to the highest ethical standards in this area of expertise, the credential provides an opportunity for career advancement in a field in which the U.S. Department of Labor expects the demand for counselors to increase by 24% by 2024.

How can I obtain the NCAC I or NCAC II credential?

NCAC I eligibility requirements include:

  • High School diploma, GED, or higher
  • Substance Use Disorders/Addiction Counselor credential/license or Professional Counselor license/credential
  • Minimum work experience of three years full-time or 6,000 hours as a Substance Use Disorders/Addiction Counselor
  • Minimum 270 contact hours of training and education in Substance Use Disorders/Addiction or related counseling topics. These hours must include at least six hours of ethics training and six hours of HIV/other pathogens training within the previous six years
  • Passing score on the NCC AP’s NCAC Level 1 exam

NCAC II eligibility requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Substance Use Disorders/Addiction or related counseling subjects
  • Substance Use Disorders/Addiction Counselor credential/license or Professional Counselor license/credential
  • Minimum work experience of five years full time or 10,000 hours as a Substance Use Disorders/Addiction Counselor
  • Minimum 450 contact hours of training and education in Substance Use Disorders/Addiction. These hours must include at least six hours of ethics training and six hours of HIV/other pathogens training within the previous six years
  • Passing score on the NCC AP’s NCAC Level II exam

How do I register for the exam?

The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCC AP) provides testing for NCAC I and NCAC II exams. If testing for a national credential, the candidate must receive approval by the NCC AP before registering for the test. This is accomplished by first submitting the NCAC application. Upon approval, the NCC AP will send a code and link to use in registering for the exam. If testing for a state credential or licensing, the candidate must contact their state certification/licensing board to obtain the code and link. Registration is online through testing partner, Kryterion.

What is the cost of the NCAC I and NCAC II exams?

For initial credentialing, there is a $235 nonrefundable fee for each exam. To maintain the NCAC I and NCAC II credential, a $200 renewal fee is required every two years.

When and where do I take the exam?

Both exams are available throughout the year at a time and location convenient for you at any Kryterion testing center.

What is the format and content of the exams?

Each exam consists of 200 multiple-choice objective questions. A maximum time of three hours is allowed to complete each exam.

The NCAC I exam tests the candidates’ knowledge in four content domains:

  • counseling practice (40% of questions)
  • pharmacology of psychoactive substances (30% of questions)
  • the theoretical base of counseling (15% of questions)
  • professional issues related to Substance Use Disorder treatment (15% of questions)

The NCAC II exam tests the candidates’ knowledge in the same four content domains but the weight of the questions in each area is different. The NCAC II exam consists of 25% of questions from each domain.

Both exams evaluate several skill groups such as treatment admission, clinical assessment, ongoing treatment planning, counseling services, documentation, case management, discharge and continuing care, legal issues, ethics, and professional growth issues.

When will I receive my test results?

Upon completion of the exam, the candidate will receive an email with their unofficial test score. An official score report is sent to the state board indicated on your application. If the candidate would like to receive an official score report, they can submit a request via email.

What if a passing score is not achieved?

If a candidate fails to achieve a passing score on either of the exams, they can retake it but will have to pay the exam fee again. A candidate can take the exam up to three times within a calendar year. 

How long is the credential valid?

Both credentials are valid for two years. The credential can be renewed by paying the $200 renewal fee along with the renewal application, obtaining 40 hours of continuing education during the previous two years, providing documentation of a current state-issued credential/license, providing the previous two years work history, and submitting the required signed statement that the candidate has read and abides by the NAADAC/NCC AP Code of Ethics.

How Can I Prepare for the NCAC I or NCAC II Exams?

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 for your exam. See the link below!

Study Guide

 

Last Updated: August 1, 2019